March 20, 2015

8 Ways to Increase ROI With a Powerful Email Marketing Strategy

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This is a guest post from Sara-Ruth Wolkiewicz. Sara-Ruth is a Content Marketing and Social Media Specialist at GetResponse, an email marketing platform with a landing page creator, email creator, and other marketing tools.


Every CMO will tell you that increasing ROI is crucial in making sure that marketing efforts are going in the right direction. However, not all marketers are aware of just how powerful email marketing can be in that strategy! In fact, email marketing delivers the highest ROI (avg. $44 per dollar spent) of any digital marketing tactic out there.

With statistics like that, it’s worth our time to take a look at different steps we can take to make sure that our email marketing strategy skyrockets our business’ ROI. Here are eight ways you can begin:

1. Personalized Email Marketing

To start you off, a simple and easy way to attract your customers’ attention is by using their name. Did you know that personalized emails increase the click through rate by 14 percent? (Aberdeen Group). Placing your customers name in the ‘to’ field, or at the very beginning of your message is especially important in the on-boarding process because it creates a relationship with the customer.

If you are looking for an advanced version of personalized marketing – think behavioral targeting. The simplest way to do this is by looking at their purchase or click pattern. If you find that a customer buys or looks at specific items, you can send them a triggered email suggesting other items that they might be interested in. Some marketers feel that triggered or “suggested items”emails are a way to stalk and annoy customers, but research shows that triggered emails have 33 percent higher click through rates!

2. Autoresponders

Now that we touched on triggered emails, it’s time to go deeper and look at various autoresponders that can increase your ROI.

Autoresponders are an excellent way to grow customer loyalty and increase revenue by simply remembering customers’ birthdays or making sure that you send out follow ups. There are two types of autoresponders:

1. Action Based

  • Purchase/shipping confirmation – Send an autoresponder which will let your customer know that their purchase has been confirmed. If a customer didn’t actually make a purchase, seeing this message will prompt them to contact you, so both sides are protected in case of fraud.
  • Sign-up confirmation – Why welcome emails? According to Socialmounths, the average open rate of a welcome email is 50 percent, which is 86 percent higher than regular newsletters. Seize this opportunity and offer your new subscribers a special discount!
  • Birthday emails – This is easily the best way to increase your ROI. Birthday emails are a great way to not only reach out to your customers and make them feel connected with your business, but by offering a special birthday offer you can increase your revenue with ease. Epson manages to produce 840 percent more revenue with their “Happy Birthday”campaign than their overall email program!

2. Time Based

  • Newsletters – cycles triggered on a specific day of the week or month are a great way to keep in touch with customers, let them know about special offers your business might have, or inform them about changes or new products.
  • Follow up – if you have a new customer it is good to set up a time-based autoresponder. For example, set up an autoresponder to be sent out a week after they sing-up for your list, and offer them a special discount. With a special offer, people are then more likely to purchase again.

3. Cross-Channel Marketing

Email marketing is a powerful tool, but you can make it even more powerful by integrating your social media strategy into your newsletters! Emails have a far greater reach when backed up by social media sharing buttons. Your customer is able to increase your email’s audience by sharing it with his or her Facebook friends or Twitter followers.

Furthermore, placing a “sign-up”call to action button on your Facebook page, or integrating an email sign-form will take your social media leads to your email list. Remember, taking your contacts and social media fans to your list increases your email’s value. You can generate more leads and double up on your customer loyalty.

4. Customer Loyalty

Is there a customer who visits your site frequently? Maybe he or she is tweeting out your newsletters or sharing your new special offer? That’s your loyal customer. According to MarketingProfs, VIP and loyalty program members are 70 percent more likely to spread the word about your business.

It doesn’t stop there! The probability of making an additional sale or up-selling to loyal customers is 60-70 percent. As marketers we often hear about the 80/20 ratio and some might laugh, but that is your golden ticket to success if you simply look at the right customers. Find your loyal customers, reward them with special offers, VIP content, or bonuses and you will see your ROI increase dramatically.

 5. Surveys and Feedback

In order to make sure you’re not wasting your time with email marketing, you need to know what customers are looking for. Do a little research, send out surveys to your email list, or simply send out an email asking customers for direct feedback.

Numerous businesses waste money on creating offers or campaigns that don’t resonate with a significant portion of their customers, which is why it’s better to segment your list. Create three effective campaigns rather than one single giant failure of a campaign. Segmented lists, autoresponders, and effective promotions come from knowing your customers and their needs. Accumulating subscriber data or feedback will help you find niche markets you can build upon by developing or offering products for that specific market.

6. A/B Testing

What can you do with all the feedback you receive? You can start testing different approaches to see how customers react to an old or new version of your email. It could be as simple as changing the copy of your welcome mail, changing your call-to-action button, or adding more or less social sharing buttons. Whatever it is, it’s imperative that you run an A/B test before you start a whole new campaign.

WordStream compiled a list of various A/B tests and their results. Reading through them, you can see that in A/B testing you should never assume your initial test results are perfect and the way to go. Keep trying new hypotheses until you learn to get to the bottom of customer behavior.

Some key metrics to consider when testing your emails are delivered messages, open rates, click through rates, and performance differences.

7. Whitelisted Technology

Once you have an idea of what your customers want, you can start analyzing your efforts and creating the perfect email marketing strategy.

First, take a step back and optimize your emails:

  1. Start with feedback
  2. A/B testing
  3. Make sure your emails are deliverable by looking at your spam score (SpamAssasin, SpamHaus, and others can help).
  4. Check that your ESP has whitelisted clients (GetResponse’s HYDRA technology is useful in making sure that lists are not full of spammers) as this will help you become more reliable to email agents
  5. Set up automated campaigns that suit your customers (real-time view of your clicks and open, reaching the customer at a time that fits their time zone, etc.)
  6. Analyze your collective data

Most ESP’s will have in-house analytics tools or integrations that will allow you to check every aspect of your send outs. The more you know, the better you can work on being whitelisted. What does it mean to be whitelisted? It means that you and your ESP are recognized by webmail services, therefore your emails land in your subscribers’ inbox and not their spam folder. In turn, the more valuable analytics you see, the better your chance of reaching the right customer at the right time, and most of all – in their inbox.

8. Mobile-Friendly Approach

Still on the fence about going mobile? Here are thee facts that will convince you to go for it:

  1. Sixty-four percent of decision-makers read their e-mail via mobile devices (Market the Marketer)
  2. Over half of all mobile searches lead to a purchase (Rocket Post)
  3. In 2013, 62 percent of emails were opened on a mobile device, 48 percent on smartphones, and 14 percent on tablets (Webbiquity)

Making sure that your email can be opened on a mobile device is crucial for your business. By 2017 we expect that 87 percent of Internet sales will come from mobile devices, which means your email has to cut through the clutter. ESP’s work on making sure that their clients drive traffic by creating editing tools that will allow businesses to design responsive emails that display correctly. According to our own research, 42 percent of subscribers delete emails that don’t display correctly on mobile devices. Don’t let your ROI get hurt just because your emails are not responsive.

Final Advice

As you probably noticed, all of the above points relate to each other. In order to fully succeed in your email marketing strategy and increase your ROI, you need to take a good look at as many of these points as possible. Think about what your email marketing is lacking and start designing a strategy with an approach that develops your ROI success process: feedback -> personalization -> testing -> analyzing.

As you reinvent your emails and start seeing changes in your ROI, there are various tools that can help you calculate exactly how you are doing, so be sure to take advantage of them. The right ESP will have features that do a lot of this work for you. And finally, take advantage of the results you see. They might just surprise you.

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