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3 Relationship Secrets From Our 2014 Email Data

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When you think of online marketing in the scope of dating, email marketing is a cheap date — an easy, inexpensive way to make an impression and guide prospects back to your site.

Our marketing team understands the courting power of thoughtful email campaigns paired with dynamic, relevant content. These efforts accounted for roughly 10 percent of our website traffic in 2014 and provided us with new data about people who interacted with us — not to mention the occasional leads that funneled in when contacts shared our emails with others.

After digging into this data, we learned a few lessons about what works and what doesn’t when trying to deliver targeted content to a long list of people. Here are three best practices we gathered that will take your email marketing to the next level:

1. Make Your Intentions Clear

People expect you to demonstrate value when you’re trying to woo them (with your high-quality content, that is). Among the messages in our workflow progression, the two with the highest click-through rates had tangible, downloadable offers with clear calls to action. One featured a blog strategy template, and one included a content marketing fact sheet. As people moved through our workflows, the number of opens and clicks tended to decline, but these emails were a clear exception to that trend. 

With this information, we’ve decided to put an emphasis on developing appealing offers and clarifying the messages we send out in 2015. We’ll be modifying our campaigns to incorporate more downloadable content, clear headers, and bold takeaways with a call to action at the bottom of each email.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Personal

We don’t always personalize our email content, but when we do, it tends to have higher open and click-through rates. Emails that came from a prospect’s first point of contact (whether that’s a salesperson or another person in the company) had a 13 percent higher open rate than ones coming from our default address.

This type of personalization also resulted in a 1.5 percent higher click-through rate. Because this slight jump could pose some logistical challenges, we won’t completely take this one to heart. But personalization is still a powerful force in email marketing, and there are a few simple tricks for making your emails appear more personal.

Simply including the person’s name in the introduction or subject line can increase engagement, and segmenting your content to make it more relevant to different contacts will ensure you’re delivering something they actually want to read. We also encourage A/B testing to determine which type of personalization works best for your organization.

3. Master the Follow-Up

If you’re suave with the follow-up email, securing a second “date” is easier than getting the first one lined up. After all, what better time to reach out to people than right after they’ve shown interest in your first offer?

Many of the highest-performing emails we sent were follow-up emails that contained download links, access information for webinars, and other types of confirmations. Some of these emails had open rates ranging from 75 to 85 percent.

This year, we plan to include relevant follow-up offers in these emails along with the information our contacts request. These will likely be in the form of calls to action for whitepapers, information on upcoming webinars, and links to recent blog posts.

Be the heartthrob your contacts are looking for in their inboxes. Demonstrate value, make your intentions clear, get personal, and keep the relationship moving. Just make sure to test the results. These aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions, and the more data you gather about your own campaign performance, the better tweaks you’ll make to suit your own marketing needs. And if you play your cards right, it just might lead to a happy marriage.

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About Mark Hodges

I'm forward-thinking, old-fashioned, and contradictory. I've been making you look good since 1992.

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