Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was an unpredictable year in business. It forced brands to shift their marketing efforts and use email marketing as a low cost/high ROI digital channel. Pivoting was an effective way to keep the lines of communication open with existing customers.
What issues will most likely impact brands in 2021, and how can marketers stay ahead of the competition? Three trends will impact email marketing this year, so here’s how to leverage them:
- Meet changing customer expectations
Customer expectations are shifting – they now expect a personalised experience. In fact, 84% of customers say their experience with a company is as important as its products and services. What’s more, 110% are likely to add extra items to their baskets when the shopping experience is highly personalised.
To capitalise on this opportunity, brands need to leverage their customer data. Surprisingly, customers are more willing to share their data when they know it will lead to a more customised and personal experience.
2. Invest in data management
Consolidation and normalisation of data sets is becoming the number one challenge for brands. Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are going to be a crucial technology for companies to succeed. These platforms generate a powerful source of streamlined customer data that’s easy to use by marketers, salespeople, customer service teams and more.
3. Establish omnichannel cohesion
Consistent, on-brand experiences are a necessity across email, mobile, websites and beyond. Companies will need to ensure that they have complete up-to-date data about customers when they’re in direct contact with them. That way, customers don’t need to re-explain themselves at every touch point, which will enhance the customer experience. An integrated system needs to be put in place to achieve this using customer management systems and informed data decision making across all owned channels.
Testing and optimisation in 2021 and beyond
To maximise your performance, it’s a good idea to implement an ongoing test and learn approach. Use test results to inform the next test and continue testing on an ongoing basis with a clear outcome in mind. Do you need to increase open rates? Or do you need to increase your CTR in certain links because you know the more clicks through to a certain landing page will lead to an increase in sales and your AOV?
It’s important to define test objectives and keep it simple. For a true test, you need to apply single variable testing – and avoid testing during major holidays. Run multiple iterations of the same test to draw measurable, statistically significant results.
You can also grow your email list and customer loyalty with a pop-up email capture strategy. Determine which page the pop-up appears on to maximise the likelihood of conversion/sign-up. Think about what you can offer in return for the sign-up. Does your homepage serve for this purpose or do you need to implement pop-up dialogue boxes on key campaign landing pages?
After sign-up, strategically continue to ask for additional information in future emails to collect further data about your customer. Ask for their preferences and track what the customer is engaging with.
Dynamic segmentation lets you create user segments, based on ongoing user actions using streaming data. Customers will move in and out of these segments as they meet or fail to meet criteria sets for the specific campaign.
To measure this, a company needs an Email Service Provider (ESP) that’s built to support complex email segmentation and personalisation at scale.
For dynamic segmentation to work, your company needs to gather two types of data: attributes (favourite brand, sport, cuisine, last search category, total amount spent) and events (tried a new feature, referred a friend, birthday, anniversary).
To make the most of dynamic segmentation, create a cross-channel strategy that recognises customer preferences and tracks their actions across all platforms.
Brands that incorporate a cross-channel customer journey including email, mobile, and web will be the most successful in 2021. Braze’s research has found the global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend towards a cross-channel experience.
Highly segmented emails, push notifications, and in-app messages need to meet customers at the exact stage of their journey. It’s no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have.
It is important to maintain clean, up-to-date data. This allows you to talk only to customers who want to hear from you and help to reduce your overall CPM. Maintain list hygiene from day one to make sure your email list comprises quality leads. Implement a re-engagement series and consider email validation tools. Don’t be tempted to purchase lists, as you can’t guarantee the accuracy of the data.
It’s no secret that people are shopping on mobile more than ever before. That’s why SMS marketing is another low-cost opportunity that’s fast growing in popularity. SMS marketing may seem intrusive, but as customers need to check the opt-in button, you don’t need to worry about privacy issues.