In a recent survey, 80% of retail professionals said that email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. In a McKinsey survey across industries, email was found to be a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.
It’s not just those two surveys. Over the years up to 2021, study after study has shown great ROI and effectiveness for drip marketing campaigns across the board.
So, how do you go about crafting effective email campaigns that hook consumers and get them to act? We’re going to give you some invaluable tips and examples.
For best results, you should first be clear about these issues:
Let’s look at the primary types of drip marketing emails and explore the best ways to create them with the above in mind.
To make it convenient and action-oriented, we’ve broken it down into ten categories. Remember that there could be overlaps. A seasonal email before Christmas and New Year can also contain a brand story, for example.
Welcome emails are often the first interaction with your consumer. As such, they should be friendly, warm, and informative. The information should be clear, concise, and value-driven, especially in terms of what the consumer can expect. On average, such emails have an unusually high open rate of 50%, so it’s important to get them just right. One type of welcome email is the onboarding email, which explains to the consumer how to use and get the best results from your product or service. These could talk about exploring products, links to social media, and other ways of interacting. Take, for example, this onboarding mail from Airbnb, which clearly spells out how things work.
Typically, newsletters are periodic emails that contain a round-up of content, news, tips, and links that the consumer will find valuable. Studies show that 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads, and 81% say it’s their most used form of content marketing.
Newsletters could contain news of awards that your company has received, product updates, employees in the news, and case studies. One way to make a newsletter effective is to provide links to other content: YouTube videos, social media posts, or blog updates. Yet another technique is to include opinion surveys and encourage consumers to write in with questions that can be answered in the next newsletter. Make them attractive, with visuals, videos, and contests.
Newsletters work best when you segment your audience. For example, if your company works across many different categories of businesses, you could create a separate newsletter for each one. Another technique is to have different newsletters based on the consumer’s location.
Standalone emails are exactly the way they’re described: one-off emails that contain a focused piece of information that is urgent, important, or timely. This could be an invitation to an event, a time-bound promotion, or a product or service launch, for example. Typically, these can be sent out to the entire list and are not dependent on segmentation. They should also contain a clear call to action and should be crisp and to the point. Such emails should be seen to be necessary, and not simply an excuse to push a brand into the consumer’s attention. Subject lines are important for all emails, and even more so for standalone ones.
Obviously, you will always need several new consumers to reach out to. This flow should continue over time. That is what lead-generating emails are designed to achieve. In fact, a study shows that 48% of marketers feel that email marketing is the most effective strategy for generating leads online. Automation can be a big help. For example, if a potential customer has viewed a product on your website, they can likely be converted with an email offer. Lead generation emails should ideally offer value. For example, free information in the form of an e-book, or an invitation to a webinar. They should display a clear and distinct call to action.
Holidays, festivals, and other special occasions are always a great time to reach out to consumers. Naturally, everyone else is sending such emails, too, so your mail should be unique and relevant if it has to stand out. A tried and tested method is to announce a special offer valid for that period – and this should be flagged in the subject line itself. The look of such emails too should reflect the festival: sparklers for Diwali, and red and green for Christmas, for example. But you don’t have to stop there. Find ways to link your offering to other special occasions: International Yoga Day, for example. There are also other occasions such as CyberWeek or Small Business Day that you can use. This eye-catching Christmas email offer from Asos ticks the right boxes with an arresting call to action and minimal copy with relevant wordplay.
Transactional emails are both common and necessary. These are communications to do with order confirmation, shipping notifications, delivery confirmations, invoices, and other transaction and legal updates. While transactional emails serve a very specific function, you can make them work harder through personalization, brand cues, as well as including other offers. However, you should take care to keep the focus on the transaction and not let it be overpowered by other marketing messages. Take this example from PostMates, for delivery notification. It’s personal, it’s informative, and it includes another offer.
There will always be those who do not respond to your emails. Even some who do not open them. If you feel your list is valuable, it makes sense to try and engage them before dropping them from the list altogether. As it is, a study shows that marketers lose about 25% of their lists every year simply through attrition. This is where re-engagement emails come in. Such messages should always be polite, remind the consumer of the benefits your brand provides, and point out the reasons for staying on. Here’s a quirky example from Urban Outfitters that blends humor with emotional appeal.
You’ve probably already heard that storytelling is a powerful way to capture interest. Emails that make use of this tactic will use characters and events to create an emotional bond with the consumer. A typical structure of such emails is to introduce who is involved, the conflict that they face, and then the resolution through engaging with the brand. Products and services that depend on consumer self-image are especially suited to such an approach: for example, cosmetics and fashion. Sometimes the product itself can be turned into a character, such as in detailing the journey of how a company overcame odds to find the right resources and deliver quality.
According to one estimate, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. And 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This is why an email marketing campaign that includes requests for reviews from consumers is always a good idea. This also is an attempt to extend beyond the sales funnel and turn consumers into advocates and ambassadors. One way is to have a senior person in the company send out the mail requesting feedback. There could also be a post-sale email thanking the consumer and then asking for a review. Yet another way is to incentivize the process by including a coupon or a price-off for a limited time.
Recent data from 41 different studies and found that the average cart abandonment rate is just under 70 percent. This is a huge revenue loss, and savvy marketers will make use of all techniques available, including powerful emails, to reduce the rate. Such emails should contain a reminder of what has been abandoned, perhaps a message of limited availability, as well as an overall sense of urgency. If possible, a small discount could be offered, or a request to reserve the item until a specific date. This example by Ralph Lauren also goes a step further by including other items of interest that the shopper could be tempted by.
As you’ve seen, various types of emails make up the universe of your email marketing efforts. When crafted well and used as part of a smart strategy along with automated delivery and analysis, you could see results sooner than you expected.
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