Wondering how to make the most out of your email campaign in 2019?

1 – Advanced Opt-in

If you’re at all on the fence about using opt-ins on your website, don’t be.

Time and again, they’ve proven to be massively effective.

Most commonly you’ll see these in the form of website popups.

But the days of the one-size-fits-all popup are over. Today, we can create custom, engaging popups meant to follow up on user intent.

Here’s a scenario you’re likely familiar with: a user finds your site in the search results, clicks through and spends time with your content. Maybe they read a blog post or two, maybe they shop around for a product they like.

Either way, inevitably the time comes when they (gulp) navigate away from your site – and possibly never come back.

That’s where something called the exit intent popup comes in.

These are designed to catch users at a key funnel stage as they’re about to leave your site and use a simple plugin to track a user’s mouse activity.

If the mouse gets close to the exit or back button, it will trigger the popup.

You’ll often see these used in lightbox popup form, which means that when the popup appears the rest of the screen is darkened to draw a user’s attention to what’s in the box.

And, though many are wary that these may actually deter users instead of encouraging them, the fact is that opt-in’s remain one of the best ways to grow your email list.

In fact, pop-ups drive 1375% more subscribers than sidebar signups.

And in our own tests, I’ve seen over 5% opt-in rate.

Now, to get these kinds of results, you need to do more than just have a popup. You need a popup designed to entice and convert.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing yours:

  • Always include a clear call to action – remember, this is one single, clear action
  • Personalize the popup based on the page and content visited
  • Offer an incentive – a free download, free shipping, discount code, etc. based on what makes sense for you industry
  • Keep them clear and concise, the shorter the better – people won’t give you a lot of attention, so grab it as fast as you can

Even if you’re not loving popups, there are plenty of newer, innovative ways to get an opt-in.

But whatever you do, don’t skip this initial step in your email campaign. It’s truly one of the most effective ways to turn a one-time site visit and turn it into a lifelong relationship.

My tip for 2019: Test new, engaging opt-in mechanisms each month. Try exit-intent popups, experiment with offers, or try multi-step forms to see which gets the best results.

2 – Personalized Automations

Once users have opted into your emails, you need a solid plan to keep them engaged.

That’s exactly what a personalized, automated campaign does. It adds value at every lifecycle funnel step – from new prospect to lapsed customer – by nurturing engagement and conversion.

So, rather than simply sending off batch emails at unspecified times in the buyer journey, you’re sending timely, personalized emails that hit your customers at exactly the right time.

The cool thing is that this process can be fully automated, meaning you specify the parameters that trigger an email to be sent.

It could be a welcome to first-time subscribers, an article compilation based on indicated subscriber interests, a re-engagement to anyone whose attention has lapsed, or even a birthday or anniversary email to simply show you’re aware and engaged.

Who these emails are sent to will depend on how you segment your email lists.

Email segmentation is essentially a way to narrow down your audience into different target groups. You create these segments to better cater to specific groups within your overall audience.

There’s almost no limit to the different ways you segment, but some of the most popular are:

  • Geographics (location and related data)
  • Demographics (age, gender, social status)
  • Psychographics (lifestyle, interests, opinions)
  • Behavioral (past purchases, email opens, click-throughs, web pages visited, etc.)

My Tip for 2019: Develop a new drip series every month. Experiment with different segments and different content to appeal to each one.

3 – List Deployment

With your segments nailed down, your next course of action is crafting and sending a series of emails that speak to each segment.

Which means you need a clear path that connects every email you plan to send, from the welcome email to the follow-up purchase email.

Too often, you see brands begin and end with a welcome email.

And while that’s a great place to start, (they’re 4x more likely to be opened and nearly 7x more likely to get a click than other promotional mailings), you need to develop an onboarding strategy that nurtures that lead through the sales funnel.

So, if you’ve created a segment based on website behavior, you can use it to target those that continuously visit a certain section of your site with emails highlighting any interests or products commonly featured there.

Highlight how-to’s and special features, and use these emails as an opportunity to introduce users to additional or complementary products or services you offer.

Or, if someone places something in their cart but doesn’t follow-through, send them an abandoned cart email, stat.

If someone does purchase, encourage them to purchase more by showing them other items they might like.

The most important part here is to have a mapped out email series that sees a user through the entire buyer journey, from initial awareness to conversion.

And, as you may have guessed, you don’t have to manually configure all this yourself. Instead, you use one of the many email software available to help you gather your lists and send your emails.

The interesting thing here is that this method of list deployment often leads to sending less emails, but ultimately creates more engagement.

So, while send rates may continue to decline, I predict engagement rates will rise following for those the strategies above.

My tip for 2019: Develop a sixth-month campaign plan. Look at what you sent last year and incorporate anything you’ve learned into future campaigns.

4 – Mobile Responsiveness

No question about it: mobile is the dominant device on the internet right now, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon.

Here are a few things you might want to know about mobile:

  • 61% of opens happen on mobile
  • Over 98% of consumers own a mobile device
  • 88% of users are more likely to use Click to Call
  • Click to call lead to a 200% conversion growth

Seems pretty clear that marketers need to be moving towards all things mobile-friendly.

But here’s another surprising stat for you: 32% of users complain mobile email is too small.

And why is that? Because only 39% of businesses use mobile responsive email templates.

That means the vast majority of templates used by businesses are still primarily directed at desktops. Given what we know about the overall use of mobile, that’s a pretty extreme misuse of resources.

But here’s the thing: this lapse in judgment represents a real opportunity for brands that do take the time to ensure a mobile-responsive email campaign.

Because so many companies aren’t doing it, those that do have the chance to distinguish themselves from their competitors and deepen the relationship with your subscribers.

This, of course, will require a mobile responsive email template. Often times, it will be a completely different design than what you’d use on a desktop (and require someone experienced to implement design changes).

5 – Testing

I’ll let you in a little secret: email is a goldmine when it comes to uncovering hidden subscriber insights.

But you’ll never find those out unless you test your emails.

And these tests don’t just extend to your email campaigns. The results you find regarding your subscriber’s behavior and preferences via email can be used across multiple marketing channels.

For example, you could run a test to find out what the best price point for your product or discount percentage is to drive a response. Maybe, instead, you want to find out what kind of offer gets the most subscriptions – free shipping or a discount code?

Or, you can test what kind of language in the subject line proves to be the most engaging.

That’s the same kind of language that will likely work for your audience in social media posts, blog headlines, etc., and the same price points that will resonate with your audience across channels.

And all of these important elements can be unpacked and proven through email.

In case you’re still on the fence regarding tests, here are some of the results we’ve seen through client email testing:

  • 38% increase in revenue through an offer test
  • 95% increase in traffic from an email “from” name test
  • 1052% increase in orders through and email template test

To perform these kinds of tests, you’ll want to treat it as an A/B test with two templates: one (A) the control, and the other (B) with the variation.

Here’s a few key testing tips to get you started:

  • Split test in real time – seasonality can influence results
  • Use single factor differences (test one thing at a time) so you know what drives results
  • Use a statistical significance calculator to find out if your results will be repeatable

My tip for 2019: Split test everything – from “from” names and subject lines to entire email templates, and use those findings to optimize all your marketing channels.

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