Email marketing is one of the most powerful strategies in your marketing plan because it puts you in complete control of how, when, and what you can communicate to an audience who has opted in to receive messages from you. They demonstrated that they want to hear from you and trust you by subscribing to your list, and it’s up to you to keep that trust by meeting their expectations for your brand.
In other words, you need to treat your subscribers with care just as you would if you were speaking with them face-to-face. Don’t spam them with an excessive number of self-promotional messages.
If they were standing in front of you, would you talk about yourself, your products, and your services but nothing else? If you did, people would walk away quickly and most likely avoid you in the future.
However, if you educate, engage, and entertain in your email marketing – with some self-promotional messages sprinkled in – people will be much more likely to pay attention to your messages, read them, and take the actions you want. They’re also apt to look for your messages in the future and even share your messages with other people. All of this adds up to increased brand awareness, loyalty, sales, and leads.
Bottom-line, email marketing works, but you need to create value for your audience through your email marketing messages or no one will pay attention – or worse, they’ll become annoyed by your messages and unsubscribe.
Don’t misunderstand – you want people who aren’t interested in your content and offers to unsubscribe from your list in order to optimize the overall deliverability of your messages, but you don’t want people who are likely to buy to unsubscribe because you’re not sending meaningful messages.
How do you make your email marketing messages have personal meaning for each recipient? The key is to meet your audience’s needs and solve their problems in your messages. Useful and interesting messages that are sent consistently, strategically aligned with recipients’ positions in the marketing funnel, and personalized deliver the highest value.
How to Use Segmentation Strategies to Make Your Email Marketing More Meaningful
1. Align Messages to the Marketing Funnel
The most useful email marketing messages that you can send align with the recipient’s position in the marketing funnel. This means you need to send content that people at the top of the funnel who are just getting to know your brand can relate to as well as engaging content to nurture people in the middle of the funnel and conversion-oriented content to people at the bottom of the funnel who are close to buying from you.
To align messages to the marketing funnel, you have to have the tools and data required to segment your audience. A lot of this data can be compiled based on how your subscribers respond to previous email messages as well as their behaviors on your website or during the online purchase process through your online shopping cart.
For example, a new subscriber who just downloaded your free ebook lead magnet can be segmented in the top of the funnel while someone who has visiting a product sales page 10 times in the past couple of weeks is most likely at the bottom of the funnel. Send educational messages to new subscribers to start building a relationship between your brand and them, and send discounts to people at the bottom of the funnel who just need an extra nudge to buy.
2. Define Your Buyer Personas
Segmenting your subscribers by buyer persona is another effective way to create value in your email marketing. Take some time to analyze the demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics of your audience and define the key buyer personas you want to target through your email marketing efforts. With this information, you can develop campaigns that will appeal to each buyer persona.
For example, if you’re marketing an office supply store, you might have buyer personas for a small business owner and a parent with school-aged children. These two buyer personas would want to receive different information and offers from an office supply store, and you should adjust your messages so they deliver the most meaning to each segment of your audience.
3. Personalize Your Messages and Offers
Research has found that personalized subject lines increase email open rates by 26%. That’s because the most meaningful messages are personalized to the recipient, which includes personalizing messages with the recipient’s name as well as using personal information to improve the content of your email marketing messages.
Think of it this way. If you subscribed to a chain restaurant’s email newsletter, would you prefer to receive messages with information and offers from the restaurant in your neighborhood or from the restaurant 50 miles away?
By collecting data from your subscribers and using the personalization features in your email marketing software, you can make sure each recipient gets the most relevant content and offers from you.
4. Use Dynamic Content
Dynamic content allows you to take the concept of personalization and segmentation to an advanced level while saving you time. Rather than creating dozens of different versions of your email marketing campaigns for each audience segment, you can use dynamic content to create one message but customize images, video, and text to each recipient.
If your email marketing tool includes dynamic content functionality, it can greatly improve the value and meaning of your messages, save you time, and increase your return on investment. Imagine that you own a pet store. You can create one message and use dynamic content to swap out the image and offer based on who receives it. Cat owners would receive a message with an image, offer, subject line, and possibly other details about cats while dog owners would receive messages with a subject line, offer, and image of dogs.
For dynamic content to work, you have to collect data about your subscribers. You can do this in your sign up forms, when people make a purchase, or through a survey. The sooner you start collecting the information, the sooner you can use it to make your email marketing messages more valuable to your subscribers.
5. Automate Messages and Offers Based on Behaviors
Research has found that over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns. In fact, a study by Epsilon revealed that triggered email messages (such as welcome and abandoned cart messages) have 50% higher open rates than non-triggered messages and 106% higher click rates.
When you track subscribers’ behaviors in your email campaigns, on your website, and in your online shopping cart, you can create email messages that are automatically sent to people who take specific actions. The key is to look for behaviors that indicate someone will be receptive to your messages.
Abandoned shopping cart messages are a perfect example. When someone takes the time to put one of your products into their online shopping cart but then doesn’t complete the purchase, they’re definitely at the bottom of the marketing funnel and a nudge could be all they need to buy. This is the perfect time to automatically send a message with a discount, free shipping, or another offer. You can follow the link to get some more ideas for automated email marketing campaigns.
Your Next Steps to Create Meaning for Your Email Marketing
To start developing meaningful email marketing campaigns and content that create value for your audience, use the recommendations above to develop buyer personas, map your subscribers to your marketing funnel, use the features in your email marketing tool to send personalized messages with dynamic content, and create automated campaigns triggered by your subscribers’ behaviors.
By segmenting your email marketing list and sending the most relevant, useful, and meaningful messages possible to each subscriber, your results will improve. Follow the link to learn 10 ways you can segment your email marketing list to get better results.