Three Steps to Maximizing the Potential of Your Email Marketing Program

email marketing.pngAll marketers have seen the stat that $44 is the average expected return for every dollar invested in email marketing. But getting to 44 times more ROI — or even greater levels — is not as easy as pressing send. Today’s consumer is overwhelmed by email volume, and with email being a primary source of revenue, marketers cannot afford to let their email strategies stale.

Here’s the good news: modern email marketing tools make it possible for marketers to increase the power of their program without needing to add hours of work to their day or unnecessary new hires to the team. Through machine learning and artificial intelligence, email marketers can scale tactical advancement to dramatically enhance results.

Investopedia and JustFab are two enterprise brands that marketers should be modeling after. Both teams are setting a new standard for email marketing through their use of personalization to engage with their individual audience members. Investopedia and JustFab have detailed roadmaps for the continued evolution of their email marketing and cross-channel campaign management programs, with strong internal alignment and market-leading technology partners enabling vision to become reality.

They were able to increase pageviews from email, double sessions from email, increase email conversion and decrease customer churn substantially. Following their respective success, here are three steps marketers can take to reinvigorate their email program to build better relationships with customers and stronger ROI.

Prioritize the integration of data science

Data science has been dubbed the sexiest field of the 21st century, and both enabling technologies and brands are fighting for top talent that will allow them to modernize and scale their marketing efforts.

Both Investopedia and JustFab take the approach of combining building and buying — their marketing teams have access to in-house data scientists, and they use external technologies to apply data science to their marketing efforts through machine learning-driven personalization.

Investopedia made it a mission to align their goals internally before they began to innovate within email. Their marketing, editorial and data science teams worked together to develop a new process to tag and label their articles. This enabled them to better personalize content recommendations for readers at an individual level, and gave evergreen content new life, leading record setting engagement during what was traditionally their slowest time for onsite traffic from email.

Set a strategy for the ongoing evolution of personalization

Recommendations and personalization have become synonymous, but marketers can achieve much more with their personalization strategy by considering the specific context of the individual end-user . Going zero to hero is not the reality in which marketers exist, but it is critical to have a plan for the continued integration of personalization tactics into their marketing and total experience.

Start with recommendations. For a brand new email subscriber, marketers might recommend their top performing content or products, so that they’re peacocking the best of the best to drive repeat visits and solidify their relationship. Simply sending a daily newsletter? Use customer interest data to make sure all recommendations are relevant to the individual . Investopedia’s email newsletters are completely customized based on each subscriber’s interests using a combination of algorithms and editorial curation. This means readers who want to know more about retirement receive articles about retirement planning and 401(k) alternatives instead of real estate investments or market news, while editors can ensure that important stories are seen across their audience.

JustFab recommends products using multiple approaches, and is now testing connecting email and website personalization to create a seamless experience for individual members. This approach transforms the notion of cross-channel campaign management into true cross-channel experience management, where email and web is unique for every individual.

Go beyond recommendations by personalizing email send time, discounts, promotional offers, email cadence, and even delivery channel — all based on an individual’s historic and predicted behaviors.

Measure cohorts, not campaigns

Measuring personalization is often seen as a black box . Marketers know that it works, but given true personalization is about individual engagement, effective measurement cannot be achieved through the same methods used to evaluate segment-driven campaigns.

Just how clean is your data? Identify where your data requires attention, allowing you to choose which areas to improve.

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By thinking about customer and audience cohorts rather than campaigns, marketers can demonstrate the long-term impact of personalization while also measuring increases in short-term conversion. Consider cutting the data by sign up date, acquisition source, and other primary audience engagement markers. Through the use of holdout groups, marketers have the ability to test the impact of, say, a personalized welcome series versus a non-personalized approach in terms of how audiences experiencing either approach engage over the long-haul.

Marketers recognize the importance of email. Innovations in this time-tested channel have changed the way marketers are engaging with today’s customers. Through data science, personalization, and cohort analysis, they can use email to foster stronger relationships with consumers and meet their goals for revenue generation.

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