There is a reason why your inbox always seems full: email marketing works. However, there are ways to improve your emails.

You probably spend a fair amount of time during the Christmas holiday cleaning out your mail box. Holiday and gym promotions are everywhere. The email pressure seems to increase, and there is a good reason for this: it worE-mail marketing effectiviteitks!. Email remains a significant more effective way to attract customers than social media: approximately 40% better than Facebook and twitter combined. This is because 91% of customers read their email on a daily basis and email has a 3-time stronger purchase intention rate than social media. Furthermore, the purchase amount with email is 17% higher as well (data USA).

Naturally marketers should not bomb you with brainless spam, and yes customer behavior is changing: The McKinsey iConsumer survey3 showed a 20% decrease in the use of email as a communication tool between 2008 and 2012. Email is actually losing terrain to social networking and messaging apps, and investments in these new channels are a necessity to start the dialogue with customers and converting this dialogue into brand preference and purchase intentions. However, marketers should not act too quick and take away all the budget allocated towards email straight away – they do have to take a few steps to fully optimize the “power of the inbox”.


  1. Focus on the journey not the click

Marketers are often obsessed by every aspect of the email, from the subject line to the visuals and copy. And this is good as long as they realize that email is (literally) the first click in the consumer’s journey. The email is part of various interactions with a brand and marketers should be equally obsessed with where you are sending the customer. Why invest so much time on an email and afterwards send them to a generic “one size fits all” homepage? Customized landing pages that send the visitor straight to the promotion or item mentioned in the email can increase conversion with 25%. And don’t forget about mobile almost 45% all of marketing emails are opened nowadays on a mobile device. Many marketers, however, neglect to optimize the email for mobile users. I you are thinking that’s not that bad: Google reports that 61% of the users probably wont return if a website did not show properly on their mobile device. And even worse 40% will go to a competitor.


  1. Share the lessons learned

The best marketing organizations view every email as a new opportunity to learn more about their consumers. They define clear learning goals for every campaign, monitor their data and share the results within the marketing department but also with the other departments. A clothing retailer that sells across various channels recently started with a monthly review of their email campaigns in which they share three “tops” and three “flops” with the rest of the organization. These reviews are attended by the marketing, sales and branding teams. The best lessons are shared with the whole company. “We want that our team shares all our findings with the organization” according to the head of direct marketing. “if we do something that does not work, we have to celebrate when we find out why it does not work”. As a consequence, the percentage of revenue that is earned trough ecommerce has almost doubled, without increasing the amount of email campaigns.

  1. Be personal

Standing out has definitely become harder. While email use is decreasing, email volumes keep on rising: Forrester expects that the amount of marketing emails in 2013 reached the record amount of 838 billion in the USA. It is not surprising that relevance has to be the absolute priority for marketers. The best emails give you the feeling that they are made especially for you. Flash-sale website Gilt Groupe sends more than 3.000 varieties of their daily email, each one of them depending on their previous click-through behavior, browser history, and naturally their purchase history. Making real personalization and targeting possible takes a lot of time and requires specific skills and a supporting technological infrastructure. Customer information is often spread over different departments and parts of the organization have to be combined to get an integrated image of every customer. A “targeting engine” has to be build with the right message for the right person. And the marketing department has to be ready for it as creating 3.000 different emails a day is a completely different story than sending one mass email. Even tough it’s a lot of work, it will be worth it: a financial institution increased their revenue by 20% through sending personalized emails based on the customer current situation in life. E-tailer Williams-Sonoma increased their response rate by a tenfold using personalized email promotions, based on their behavior on the website and their purchasing history.


  1. Use personas with email marketing

Next to being relevant for consumers using personas can improve conversion of emails, landing pages or the whole website even more. This will, in the end, contribute to your bottom line: your marketing ROI. People are different: they look, orientate, click and buy in different ways. The copy and design should not only be persuasive and intuitive, there also have to be space for different roads to Rome. Some people only need one piece of information to make a decision while others want as much information as possible before making a decision. Some people mainly look at what others are saying while the other only wants to do business with a ‘winner’. The by som developed Sex and the City model offers a manageable and specific method to reach the different personas with attractive content. This content is not limited to email only but will also be used for landing pages and the sales funnel.

Is your company preparing another email marketing bomb? Would you like to discuss the possibilities to use more personalized marketing? Contact Hans Drenth

Based on an article form McKinsey&Company, by Nora Aufreiter, Julian Boudet and Vivian Weng, January 2014.