If My Clients Only Knew: How Key Consistent Email Marketing Is
About The Author: I'm a marketing 'jill of all trades,' freelance brand manager and email marketing automation expert for food and beverage brands. I have worked in the CPG industry for over 5 years almost exclusively at small brands where I need to be scrappy and wear a ton of hats!
In this post I’m spilling the details on why consistent email marketing is key for your brand and how to build a strategy around it. You cannot just show up in folks’ inbox on the holidays and expect a high conversion rate from your list.
Don’t Be A Shelly
Let’s play out a scenario. You really haven’t talked to your roommate from college, Shelly, since graduation. You all grew apart - it’s only natural. Several years go by without so much as a Facebook like or a text on your birthday. One day you're checking the mail and there it is, an invitation to Shelly’s wedding - and you’ve never even met the groom. Feels a lot like they just want a gift from you right?
Your customers feel the same way when months of the year go by with no email from you and then boom they see the subject line: “Black Friday Sale: 20% Off Our Amazing Products!”.
Your product is amazing! But your customer has long forgotten signing up for your email list, who you are, and what you are all about. So, unless you are offering a pretty sweet deal and standing out from the Black Friday or Memorial Day or Valentine's Day sale crowd, chances are the email doesn’t capture their (very short) attention span.
So, here are some helpful tips on how not to be a Shelly and nurture your email list all year long so that when a big sale comes along they are itching to shop::
Consistency But It Looks Different For Everyone
It’s clear that consistency is key here but are we talking Costco-sending-an-email-daily consistent or can you be a little less involved than that?
Chances are the latter. But, do not just shoot in the dark here thinking you know what is going to work best for your email list! Test, test, and test some more. Do they like weekly emails, bi-weekly, monthly?
Your open rate is how you will know your sweet spot. At what point in frequency have you hit email exhaustion and are starting to see less of your audience open emails? As long as that frequency is realistic for your workload and for your content flow - you’ve found what consistent looks like for your audience!
The Content Machine
Now you are probably starting to think ‘I’m not a content machine and I don’t have a team behind me to be able to help generate weekly email content to test and test and test some more.’ Fair enough. Here are some quick tips:
- Provide value! Make them laugh, educate them, or pose an interesting question. Let your emails be something they look forward to receiving!
- Bucket your content. Take your customer profile and your brand strategy and think about what kinds of content buckets you can create based on the values, likes, etc etc of both you and your customers. (This is helpful for social media too!)
- Recycle it. That recipe reel you made for Instagram? Get that on the blog and share it in this week’s email.
- Remember the 80:20 rule! 80% of your content should lean towards the entertainment and education side of things while 20% should be sales-y. That makes the fear of being too pushy go away.
- Share something from a like-minded partner. You share values with a lot of other brands out there: grab something from their site, their Instagram, and pop it into a newsletter (with credit to them of course). It will generate some good will AND give you a chance to test whether your customers click through.
How will you know your content is sticking? Consistent open rates week after week mean people want to come back for more. Click rates give an indication that your audience liked what they read and your Call To Action was enticing enough to keep going.
Tackling the stress of creating content is where segmentation can be key - are there pieces of content that you want to share with your list, but don’t think everyone would appreciate it? That’s okay! Is there a way to segment the list down by purchasing behavior, location, etc to create a segment of your list that will enjoy it? Send that content to just them this week!
Segmentation also comes into play here in terms of testing send frequency - you may find that you can get away with emailing your subscription customers A LOT more than anyone who has not purchased from you. Split them out into two segmented lists and email accordingly -- more on that below.
Automate The Customer Lifecycle
Use all those fancy segmentation tools and flows in your email service provider (ESP) to their full advantage and start segmenting content based on where your customer is in their lifecycle to remain consistent in their inbox and generate more revenue.
You probably have your basic welcome series running (and if not that’s step one) and maybe you have a post purchase flow. But, after that do you rely on automation to help keep consistent content flowing?
Here are some ideas to get your wheels turning:
- Winback: When someone hasn’t re-ordered within a timeframe that would be reasonable for your brand have an automated email or two set up to remind them to restock. (For example, do you sell cereal in packs of 6? Maybe after 6 weeks you would have expected that second sale.)
- Upsell: Did someone order shampoo, but not conditioner? A bit before they hit the timing of your average time between purchases send them an email about how perfectly the two go together. (So if most folks order shampoo again after 2 months, send them the conditioner email at 6 weeks).
- Migrate To Subscription: Has someone ordered three times and is still not subscribing? An automated flow going out to really charm them on your subscription could do the trick!
Note: If you are using automations make sure you look at the ‘smart sending’ option in your ESP. When sending a standard campaign you can skip anyone who has received an automated email from you within a specific time frame to avoid over sending (and the subsequent unsubscribes).
This is just a small piece of the puzzle. There is a reason large brands have whole teams dedicated to their email marketing. The three main metrics of email marketing: open rates, clicks, and conversions – they don’t live in a vacuum. Consistency is just one piece of the puzzle to help you reach your brand's goals and fulfill each customer’s needs wherever they are in the lifecycle. But, it’s an important piece and one you can get started on today.
Need some help with your email marketing? Head to Emily’s profile to learn more about her and connect!