Strategic Email Marketing

Email is one of the earliest forms of modern social media.  Email, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, is an online platform that allows you to share with a wide audience at one time and interact with them.  As more popular social medias have come to the forefront, some are saying that email marketing will soon become a thing of the past. Those people are wrong.  Email can feel more personal, because the customer gets it sent to their personal inbox rather than on their public feed. Emails can be used for a wide range of activities, including branding, engagement, retention, direct sales, reactivation, generating traffic, getting referrals, and assisting the customer’s movement through the customer value journey.

Methods of Well-Executed Email Marketing

Email is more than just updating your subscribers when you are having a sale or when a new blog post goes live.  It’s about keeping them engaged, informed, and excited about your business. There are three categories of emails you will be sending out, and it’s important to understand the function of each so that you can use them effectively.

  1. Transactional
  2. Relational
  3. Promotional

Transactional Emails

Transactional emails provide customer service.  These are automated emails that confirm your customer or prospect has taken some sort of action.  The average revenue of a transactional email is 2-5 times larger than a standard bulk email, despite being the same every time.  There are 8 different types of transactional emails you might use:

  1. Order Confirmation:

Order confirmations have the most opened email, but are still underused for marketing.  At this point, your prospect has converted into a customer. Keeping them engaged so they will buy again is key.  Providing similar items they might be interested in at the bottom of the confirmation email is a great way to keep them engaged and moving through the customer value journey.

2. Purchase Receipt:

Your purchase receipt is similar to your order confirmation, but is rarely leveraged for growth.  Here, you might want to include a way to contact customer support, as well as make an offer only extended to people who have made a purchase.

3. Shipping Notice:

Shipping notices renew excitement and build anticipation for the product to arrive.  You can leverage this excitement by prompting the customer to share their purchase on social media, perhaps with a hashtag.

4. Account Creation:

An account creation confirmation welcomes prospects/customers to the business, and provides details such as their username/password, how to sign in, perks they’ll receive, and other benefits of having an account.  This email is rarely leveraged, but is a great place for providing a welcome offer and giving the prospect/customer next step for them to move along the customer value journey.

5. Return Confirmation:

It’s unfortunate, but returns will happen.  It could be for a variety of reasons, but no matter why, it’ll leave a bad taste in the mouth of your customer.  Your return confirmation can be used to spin the negative of needing to return the product into a positive by offering an alternate offer, such as a different product or a coupon.  The goal is to re-engage the customer and keep them engaged and excited.

6. Support Tickets:

Support tickets are also great for adding value.  They provide your customer with a ticket number so they can track progress on their issues, as well as offer a link to a page on your website with a FAQ.  Their question won’t be answered or fixed in this email, but it lets them know you care and will help them as soon as possible.

7. Password Reminders:

These emails are sent when a prospect/customer needs to set up/change their password.  A link to where this happens is included, but you can also add value by making an offer.

8. Unsubscribe emails:

What kind of offer could you make to change someone’s mind about unsubscribing?

Relational Emails

Whether it be brick-and-mortar or online, companies that use email marketing to nurture leads generate 50% more sales-ready leads at ⅓ the cost. There are 8 types of relational emails you can utilize to get these results:

  1. Subscriber welcome

Not all automated messages are transactional. Some, like welcoming a new subscriber to your email list, can be automated. In this email, you want to welcome the prospect to the club, introduce them to your brand, and tell them what benefits they can expect from getting your emails.  These emails should not only set expectations but also add value.

2. Gated content delivery

Gated content is not available to just anyone. It requires someone to “pay” by giving their email or other contact information, such as a social share. Though the transaction is complete after the user gets the gated content, there’s always room for another offer or an upsell.

3. Newsletter/blog articles

Every time you publish new content, your subscribers should be updated. These update emails don’t have to be long, just enough to introduce the ideas you’ll be talking about and a link to read the full article.

4. Webinar/event confirmation

Webinar/event confirmation emails are both transactional and relational. This should be sent as soon as the customer makes the commitment to attend your event.  Here, you want to provide any information about how to access the event, the itinerary, and any other information only given once signed up.

These next few kinds of relational emails are used less often, but are still worth mentioning:

5. Survey/review

Surveys help you learn more about your audience. What do they like and not like? What kinds of products/services do they wish you also provided? These answers can help you segment your prospects/customers to better target them in the future. Providing a special offer for those that complete the survey/review is a great way to incentivize feedback.

6. Social update

Keep your fans in the know about your company, what’s new, and how things are going. Did you reach a new milestone? Are you attending a conference in the near future where you will be able to interact with fans in-person? Build excitement for what’s to come!

7. Contest announcement

Contests both build excitement and attract new subscribers.  Your current subscriber list should know about any contests before anyone else, as a perk of already being signed up. After all, they’re your most avid fans.  

8. Referral request

After you’ve had a positive interaction with a customer, say a sale or a customer support ticket being resolved, it makes sense to ask said customer to tell their friends how great their transaction was. This can be via a tweet, or by writing a review that you can post on your website.

Promotional Emails

Promotional emails are a powerful marketing tool. According to the Direct Marketing Association, 66% of customers have made an online purchase because of an email marketing message. There are 8 types of promotional emails:

  1. Promotional Content

Promotional content should provide value to your customer/prospect while still generating sales.  For example, if you are hosting a webinar, perhaps put one of the worksheets in an email to generate interest and convince people to sign up.  Be careful not to overuse this, save some content for paying customers.

2. New Gated-Content

Subscribers should continue to get new content exclusive to subscribers. Otherwise, they may as well unsubscribe after they get the first gated content.  This is a great way to keep them engaged and move them along the customer value journey.  Make the subject line stand out so your subscribers know they’re getting exclusive content.

3. Sale Announcement

Sales announcements are the most engaged with email.  It makes sense, who doesn’t like a good deal? It’s important to have a subject line that grabs the subscriber’s attention and lets them know what the sale is.

4. New Product Release

The goal of marketing via email is to move prospects through the customer value journey to become promoters.  Promoters are what are called “hyper-buyers” and are likely to buy almost everything you come out with. These emails let your hyper-buyers know what new products are available.

Like the relational emails, these next few promotional emails are used less often but are still beneficial.

5. Webinar Announcement

6. Event Announcement

7. Trial Offers

8. Event Offers

When to Send Each Type of Email (And to Whom)

Email service providers allow you to send out emails in two different ways:

  • Broadcast:  Sent manually to your entire list or segment.  This works well for content updates and promotions
  • Autoresponders:  Happen automatically when someone performs a triggered action.  

Email marketing should be automated whenever possible, but it’s also important to remember that just because you can trigger an email doesn’t always mean you should.  What triggering effects work? Here is a list of 8:

  1. New subscriber:  Welcome them and let them know what to expect from future emails.  Above all, you need to make a good first impression.
  2. Lead magnet requests:  If your new subscriber signed up to get a free worksheet or other gated content, an auto-sent email is sent.
  3. Event Registration Confirmation:  Include date, time, and how to access the event.  Provide any URLs and passwords if it’s online, and travel directions if it’s in person.
  4. Purchase confirmation and receipt
  5. Clicking a link in a segmented campaign:  Clicking a link in an email can trigger a new campaign
  6. Excitement about your brand:  Referral requests can be automated to follow up after the customer has made a purchase or after a successful customer service interaction
  7. Cart abandonment:  Remind user they have unpurchased items in their cart
  8. Not engaging with emails:  Re-engage them to keep them excited about your brand

Some of these triggers can overlap, so it’s important to be aware of that and not bombard your customer with too many emails at once.

Understanding Email Timing

Getting subscribers excited to receive your emails is key, so you want to be conscious of what emails you’re sending and when.  By segmenting your subscribers, you can be sure that the only people that are getting your content are those who would be interested in it.  This goes along with timing your emails along with where your subscribers are in their customer value journey.


Email Marketing
Strategic Email Marketing

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