Email is a marketer’s direct line of communication to the end customer. Most businesses send a newsletter and put all of their focus into making it stand out, driving traffic to their site, and generating revenue. And it’s true that consistent and interesting correspondence is a fantastic way to reach your audience. However, if you only focus on once a week or bi-weekly communication, you’re missing out on the many other emails that could also help build your brand, increase engagement, and drive revenue.
Whether you want to inform your customers of new products, special promotions, or one-off sales; build up your brand through edgy lookbooks, giveaways, or lifestyle editorial pieces; or inspire an action; email provides the best medium. Typically, emails fall into three different categories: newsletters, promotional, and transactional.
Let’s dig into these three types of emails and explore how they add value to a business’s email program.
Newsletter Emails: Reinforcing Value through Engaging Content
Everyone is familiar with the popular email-newsletter. Newsletters serve as a regular dialogue with subscribers and work to reinforce brand loyalty. A friendly check in, the newsletter should build trust, provide value, and help position your business as a thought leader. Rather than focusing on always selling, work toward providing valuable information to your audience. Providing useful, personalized content promotes opens and shares.
Promotional Emails: Triggering Demand and Nurturing New Business
Ready, set, sell! Promotional emails are the place to promote new products, sales, and special offers. Sending a message to your audience about a specific deal or product provides a clear call to action, creates a sense of urgency, and ultimately helps drive sales.
Transactional Emails: Boasting Highest Opens and CTRs
Generally overlooked as a place to add valuable content, transactional emails are some of the highest opened and most clicked emails. Boasting average open rates greater than 70%, these simple receipts, shipment confirmations, reviews requests, abandoned cart messages, and more are the perfect place to add interesting and personalized content.
Engaging Your Audience through Transactional Emails
While newsletters and promotional emails are necessary and useful, it’s transactional emails that provide an underutilized space (with an extremely attentive audience) to explore Dynamic Content 2.0. In the company’s Email Benchmark Report, released at the end of Q3 in 2013, Experian noted that, “Order confirmations with cross-sell sections enjoyed transaction rates that were 54% higher than order confirmations without cross-sells.” This demonstrates that customers who have just made a purchase are already in the buying mood. Including predictive personalized product recommendations in transactional emails, like post-purchase receipts, is a great place to start with Dynamic Content 2.0.
As SendGrid points out, “On average, 45% of user actions within a web application trigger a transactional email.” The website goes on to further note that the average web application sends out 631,000 transactional emails every month. Chances are, you’re sending out way more transactional emails then you even realize. That’s a lot of potential opportunity!
Transactional messages are not considered opt-in marketing messages, as they perform a necessary communication related to a transaction. For instance, one of the most common transactional emails is an order confirmation receipt. Yet because of the automated and informative nature of this kind of email, it is typically void of any personalization.
Think about your own email program. What triggers do you have in place that result in a transactional email? What type of content do you have in these emails? If transactional emails typically get open rates of over 70%, and CAN-SPAM allows for up to 20% of transactional email layout space to be used for marketing, you should be using these emails to engage your audience. Place a predictive dynamic content block into your transactional emails for an easy win.
Predictive Product Recommendations and Dynamic Discounts Create Greater Conversion Rates in Promotional Emails
Providing each customer with predictive product recommendations creates a uniquely personalized email experience, leading to higher revenue. In its Predictive Intelligence Benchmark Report, ExactTarget found that “marketing email campaigns using predictive intelligence yield the highest influenced revenue ($5.1 million).” The report also noted a revenue of $0.13 per open and $7.39 per click. These numbers make it clear that relevance is directly related to revenue.
A great way to explore the benefits of predictive product recommendations is by combining them with a dynamic discount offer. Using a recency/frequency lifecycle model, brands are able to target specific segments of customers who may need a little incentive to come back and make a purchase, while also recommending their entire subscriber audience exciting personalized product recommendations. Using dynamic lifecycle offers allows email marketers to use their list to the fullest, reaching “at risk” customers with various discounts at time of open.
Combining a well-timed offer with super relevant product recommendations increases email ROI, improves subscriber engagement, and avoids leaving money on the table with a generic discount for everyone.
Integrate Social Media Effectively into Email Campaigns to Drive Omnichannel Engagement
Social media is an important part of your business to focus on, but including static CTA social media buttons in email can be dull and ineffective. Instead, put Dynamic Content 2.0 to work with a dynamic social feed.
Many companies struggle with social media engagement. In a blog post by Marshall Manson for Ogilvy & Mather, Manson notes that less than 6% of followers see a business post on Facebook. In an infographic for Sign-Up.To, Matt McNeill similarly suggests that only 1.6% of tweets result in click-throughs. Showcasing your most recent social post in email — where typical open rates are between 15-25% and CTRs average around 3.3% — gives your carefully curated social content another life and engages your audience in a current conversation.
Imagine the boost of your social campaigns when paired with emails containing live dynamic social feeds. The engagement with your audience is greater when you provide up-to-the-second social proof from an RSS feed, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and more.
Subscribers keep opening and keep engaging when the content they see is relevant, exciting, and current. Personalization isn’t always about driving a sale; it is also a great tool to build your brand, gain shares, and grow your list organically. Keep your audience members happy and opening with content that speaks to them, inspires them to share, and ultimately leads to repeat purchases.