3 Tips for Improving the ROI on Your Email Marketing Efforts

What’s the return-on-investment (ROI) for each of your organization’s marketing channels?

According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing delivers a higher ROI than any other online or offline channel. And not by a little – by a lot! See the chart below – email marketing is delivering more than four times the ROI of social media, direct mail, paid search and online display advertising.

This is good news for email marketing but here’s the great news – even though email marketing leads all other channels in ROI, most companies still aren’t optimizing their email marketing programs. So that means that, for most companies, there’s a lot of blue sky for improvement.

But how do you get there?

Here are 3 tips to get you started.

  1. Test

    Testing creative is one of the most cost-effective way to boost bottom-line performance. There’s just one thing – smart tests take time to brainstorm and execute. Subject line tests which you plan minutes before you hit send rarely increase response rate as much as tests involving the body of the email that you plan weeks before the send.

    Make A/B split testing standard operating procedure within your organization. Commit to doing at least one strategic test a month. Create a test plan that looks at least 3 months out, so you can start early on developing the test versions of your creative.

    Here are some of my favorite things to test:

    Looking for more details? Here’s a blog post on 15 types of email marketing tests you should be doing.

  2. Customize and/or Personalize

    Do you know the difference between customization and personalization? Personalization means including something specific about the recipient in the email, it’s a one-to-one relationship. Customization means that there is targeted content but it’s not specific to the recipient, it’s based on a one-to-many relationship.

    The most common type of personalization is using the recipient’s name in the message. This is a good start, but by going further with personalization you can often boost response rate dramatically. Here are some ideas:

    • Sending a cart reminder email? Personalize it with images of the actual products the customer left in their basket to boost response rate.
    • Have a group of people who almost always click on email links to a specific product group? Customize an email message to them with a special offer on items in that group.
  3. Automate and Trigger

    Automation allows you to customize – and sometimes even personalize – messages automatically, without manual intervention. If you aren’t using triggered messages and automation in your email program, now is the time to start!

    Here are the most common automated email marketing programs for retailers:

    • Welcome messages or series: automatically sent when someone signs up for your email list; they should seek to turn the free subscriber into a fan
    • Cart reminders: automatically sent when someone leaves without completing a purchase; they should drive people to return and buy
    • Reactivation messages or series: automatically sent when an email subscriber ‘goes dark’ by no longer opening or clicking on your messages; they should entice people to re-engage with you

Obviously, these three things aren’t all there is to raising your email marketing ROI – but they are a good start.

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