4 Ways Email Marketing Helps Retail Today
The last 12 months has upended a lot about marketing, especially in retail. However, one channel has remained strong: email marketing. In fact, according to the 2020 State of Email Report by Litmus and Convince & Convert, four out of five respondents would give up their brand’s social media for 12 months instead of email marketing for 12 months.
Created with responses from more than 2,000 marketers, this report shows the benefits marketers have seen from email marketing and how it’s helped them adapt to today's unique challenges. Here are key takeaways from the report that marketers can put to work:
More Email — and More Email Processes
In 2020, 54 percent of marketers expected to send more emails than the previous year, while 60 percent of marketing executives also plan to send more emails in 2021. But with more emails comes more email processes and checks.
When multiple people review and approve every email, bottlenecks and frustrations can form. Ad-hoc processes and unclear review goals lead to friction that slows the process. Today’s climate has marketers being cautious about their language and how they approach customers. But as email counts increase, companies should also develop clear processes to quickly review content and keep emails moving.
Measure and Report Email Marketing ROI
Despite marketers reliance on email, they still struggle to communicate return on investment. Only 16 percent of respondents believe their company measures their email marketing’s ROI well or very well, while 45 percent cited their efforts as poor, very poor, or nonexistent.
In the past, marketers turned to vanity metrics like open and click rates to show email channel performance. These metrics have value: they can hint at what content should be featured in your sends and how you should target. However, improving your understanding of email marketing ROI comes from more clearly showing how these efforts affect sales and revenue. To do this, consider integrating purchase information with your email service provider (ESP).
Personalize With More Than a Name
Now, more than ever, email is about creating authentic human-to-human connections and experiences with customers. Personalizing emails builds that connection by giving customers a reason to participate. Almost three-fourths of marketers say personalization in email increases engagement.
Retail thrives on personalization, but nowadays, it’s less about adding customers’ names to emails. Other behavioral attributes such as past interactions with products, services, and purchase history help you show the relationship you’ve built. Make your emails more appealing and relevant to customers with this kind of personalization.
It’s also important to note not just past marketing and companywide interactions, but those specific to email. How a consumer or potential customer engaged with an email — e.g., time spent reviewing the email and engagement actions — are powerful breadcrumbs for e-commerce companies to continuously improve each email, send after send. This highlights the importance of the post-send and performance pillars of email.
Regularly Update Your Email Lists
It’s tough to accurately personalize emails without good data, and marketers make it tougher on themselves when they don’t prioritize email list cleanups. Four out of five survey respondents reported their company personalizes its emails using subscriber data, but more than a third said they don’t remove inactive subscribers from their mailing list unless they opt out. Outdated email lists can muddle personalization efforts and damage ROI.
Take the time to review email lists, checking for bad addresses and unsubscribes as well as inactive addresses where you’re wasting emails. Then, ensure someone on your team reviews regularly to optimize your email sends.
When updating email lists, it’s also important to note and optimize segmentation. In order to drive true human-to-human connections, retailers need to make sure they’re hitting the right recipients at the right times.
Your customers still want to hear from you, and email is an excellent communication channel to reach them. With relevant personalization and updated lists and processes, your email marketing channel can continue reaching customers and producing impressive ROI, even as the world adapts to so much change.
Melissa Sargeant is chief marketing officer at Litmus, where she runs worldwide marketing initiatives including corporate and product branding, demand generation, product marketing, public relations, and event management.
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