When measuring your email marketing efforts, a lot of questions arise: “How often do I email my customers?,” “Do I send the same email to everyone?,” “How do I get results from my emails?”
These are some of the most common challenges many of our Fivestars business owners confront with each email send. While email remains a relevant and powerful communication channel, the ultimate challenge is maximizing your effectiveness and impact. These answers will help you achieve just that:
1. How often should I email my customers or contacts?
When it comes to determining how often you should be sending emails, the answer is always: “It depends.” The kind of service and/or product you provide will always affect how often and appropriate it is to email people.
For example, if you’re a clothing boutique, people commonly expect frequent communication about sales, new arrivals, etc. If you own a carpet cleaning business, people may expect to hear from you less simply because they don’t use the service as often.
In general, the email industry standard is to send no more than 1 email every 7 days to any one customer. Nothing can plummet your email open rates (the number of people who open an email of the number who are sent the email) like relentlessly bombarding your audience with email after email.
At Fivestars, we’ve implemented this industry standard into our own product to ensure users don’t ever receive more than one message per week.
Emailing too often desensitizes your audience. As a result, the emails you send that really impact your business’ bottom line may never be seen. You also increase the chance of receiving high unsubscribe rates, or worse, spam complaint rates.
2. Should I send the same email to every customer or contact?
The short answer is, no, not if you can help it. Results are driven by targeting the right customer audience with the right offer at the right time.
Compare a customer who hasn’t returned to your store in a year to a customer who visits daily. It’s unlikely both would respond to an email in the same manner to any given promotion, announcement, or event. So why would you send the the same exact message or offer? You wouldn’t!
Group or segment your customers into “buckets” and cater or target your messaging and offers to these specific groups to drive the best results.
For example, modify the subject line to cater to the city of your readers versus those in the rest of the state. After all, Responsys found that 50% of consumers believe location-based offers are most influential. Or, serve up a discount that varies based on the last time a customer came into the store.
While this sounds time-intensive and complicated, it doesn’t have to be. There are platforms and programs available that allow you to segment, group, and organize your customer base into similar buckets. This allows you, the busy owner, to engage each segment with catered messaging.
3. How do I drive results from an email?
How often do you finish reading an email and think, “now what?” It’s likely because the email content isn’t driving a specific action, or there are mixed messages. Whether your email’s goal is to inform and educate or drive sales and appointments, recipients should understand the action they need to take.
Actions include clicking through to read a blog post for more details, redeeming a coupon in-store, viewing new items on your website, etc. Focus on your main goal and make this the clear, succinct, and only call-to-action in your email.
As tempting as it is to include multiple links or lump info in one email (email newsletters are the exception to this rule), don’t do it. Direct people to one link and one action and make it as clear as possible.
What makes a call to action enticing? Point out the benefit. “Make Someone’s Day – Send Flowers Now,” sounds better than “Click here.” Words like “claim,” “reserve,” “request,” “see,” “come,” “show,” “learn,” “send,” and “get” also tend to drive urgency and offer a clear direction to the user.
The trickiest part of any marketing campaign is proving value. For what it’s worth, even advanced businesses with hyper-complex tracking systems struggle with this very problem.
The best thing you can do as a small business is to set your own email benchmarks. Consistently test your messages, audience, and frequency, and you’ll be well on your way to email success.
Want more in-depth email marketing advice? Read our ebook, Email Marketing: Bring Back Your Best Customers