Not seeing the results you want from your email campaigns?
Whatever you do, don’t abandon ship. Email’s still one of the most effective channels to reach your customers.
Instead, read this article. I’ll take you through a few ways you can start improving your email marketing ROI today.
As of 2016, email had a median ROI of 122% – over 4x higher than other marketing formats including social media, direct mail, and paid search.
But no matter the numbers, some companies still struggle to see the promised positive returns.
First, How Do You Measure Email Marketing ROI?
As you’ll often hear in marketing, success is relative, and it all depends entirely on what goals you’ve set for your company.
And when it comes to ROI, there are so many factors that can affect. I’m talking touchpoints, timing, influences, etc.
But usually, you can gauge some success – and begin to measure ROI – by looking at the following.
Increase in Revenue
You’d be hard-pressed not to notice this one.
An increase in revenue is, rightfully, a major goal for most campaigns. And if you’re using email marketing correctly, you stand an excellent chance of seeing a major boost.
Email marketing continues to be the biggest driver of revenue for most companies.
Even cooler? Email ROI tends to increase year-over-year, meaning that it’s a channel customers stay engaged with.
And for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 dollars in ROI. On top of that, a survey from eMarketer revealed that email marketing drives 25% of the overall revenues from those companies surveyed.
Part of this can be attributed to the fact that email marketing is affordable for almost all businesses, so they’re spending less up front.
The other part? People just like emails.
After all, there’s already 3.7 billion people in the world using email, and that numbers expected to grow to 4.1 by 2021.
Keeping tabs on revenue increases due to email marketing will require proper attribution tracking on your end.
Or, if you don’t have proper analytics in place, you can multiply the number of conversions you have made through email by the value of an average order to get an idea of how it’s affecting your revenue.
New Customers and Conversions
Another thing email’s really good at? Getting businesses new customers.
In fact, it’s 40x more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.
Why so high? Because email is designed to push users through the sales funnel. If you’ve set up your drip email campaigns correctly, you can keep in touch with customers who have interest in your product, and slowly lead them through to the purchase stage.
You can measure this in terms of sales conversions. Generally speaking, you do that by dividing the total number of purchases or sign-ups by the total number of emails sent and divide it by 100.
To be clear, there are other ways to define ROI: more website traffic, more webinar registrations, etc.
It all boils down to the intent of your campaign, and the results you’re seeing versus the time and money you put in.
How to Improve Your Email Marketing ROI
Now let’s talk ROI improvement.
Before I really get into it, there are a few email basics that all your emails should be meeting:
- They should absolutely be mobile friendly. Emails not optimized for mobile devices get deleted by a majority (80.3%) of users, and 3 out of 10 users unsubscribe from the list if the emails are not mobile optimized. And that was back in 2013. With the continued growth in mobile use, just imagine how many users won’t give mobile-unfriendly emails the time of day now.
- Pay attention to timing, and don’t overwhelm your readers. That means having a little restraint when it comes to the send button – 78% of consumers unsubscribe from emails because brands were sending too many emails. Test your email frequency and keep tabs on your analytics (or use one of the tools I recommend below).
- Always tell your readers what you want them to do next – whether it’s checking out a product, download a whitepaper, register for an event, etc., with a clear CTA.
Hopefully, you’re doing the above already, so let’s get to the good stuff.
1. Personalize Your List Through Segmentation
I’ve been harping on this one for a while now, so you’ll have to excuse me; I’m about to do it again.
A segmented, personalized campaign is that important.
The spray and pray method just doesn’t work here. You can’t send one batch email to your entire list and expect to get great returns.
Why? Because your readers aren’t who they were twenty years ago. Your readers, quite frankly, are spoiled by all the new technologies that allow them to be addressed by name and catered to based on browsing history, purchases, and indicated interests.
And if you can’t deliver that, they won’t read it.
Thankfully, we have a solution: personalization and list segmentation. It’s a way to narrow down your master list to smaller groups based on a range of characteristics like demographics, location, behavior, purchase history, etc.
Nike does it to send merchandise emails to the appropriate gender. Lyft does it to send promotions to users in certain cities. Dropbox does it to entice current subscribers to increase their storage.
Now, you can see how any of those emails wouldn’t work as batch sends. Someone who isn’t subscribed to Dropbox already doesn’t need to know about more storage.
But when sent to the appropriate segments, they’re extremely effective. As in, 51% of email marketers say email list segmentation is the most effective way to personalize lead nurturing.
Oh, and they also report an increase of 760% in email revenue from segmented campaigns.
All you need to get started is a compatible email service, a solid understanding of your target audience, and a way to entice users to sign up for your lists.
2. Establish an Onboarding Campaign for Improved Email Marketing ROI
Let’s look at this from an objective standpoint.
How many free downloads have you signed up for from various companies? And of those companies, how many did you actually continue to interact with and eventually buy from?
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say slim to none.
As marketers, that’s exactly the scenario we don’t want.
The disconnect here is that not enough companies have a proper onboarding system in place. In fact, only 29% of brands nurture their existing customers beyond the initial purchase.
Now that’s a real shame, isn’t it? Especially when you consider that targeting users with content relevant to their position along the buying process yields 72% higher conversion rates.
And that right there is exactly what you have to do with your segmented emails. Once the initial “welcome, thanks for taking the free thing” email is out, the onboarding process kicks in.
That means crafting and deploying emails with the purpose of leading users through each stage of the marketing funnel. To do that, you have to analyze and respond to how each user interact with each email.
Sounds pretty tricky and time-consuming, I know, but it’s all very possible by using behaviorally-based emails triggered by certain actions.
For example, if one of your leads is browsing around your Guide to Facebook Advertising landing page, that might trigger you to send an email with a link to another relevant article on your site.
Or, if someone’s indicated that they’re interested in certain subjects (or their behavior on your site) you could send them emails prompting them to interact.
Take a look at this example:
Inbound.org sent an email asking their user, Brandon, to participate in a discussion on the site. Because Inbound’s lists were segmented, they can alert Brandon when a relevant topic arises based on his interests.
See? These emails were meant for people still near the top of the funnel. It’s still early days, but by nurturing them and providing helpful, relevant content, they’re slowly being pushed to the next stage of the funnel.
As those leads get closer to purchasing, your messaging will change.
Here’s how Airbnb does it:
One day after a user visits a listing without reserving it, Airbnb sends an email with the exact listing, as well as related listings in the same area and price range. By doing so, they can reclaim some traffic that may otherwise have jumped ship.
Again, all it takes is a proper automation software and a solid email list.
3. Pay Attention to Deliverability
You don’t want to waste a great email by delivering it to someone’s spam folder.
Unfortunately, it happens far more often than we’d like. Which is why it’s important to check that your emails are consistently reaching your recipient’s inboxes, rather than getting marooned in the spam folders or bouncing entirely.
If you find that a good amount of your emails aren’t clearing the screening process, it’s time to do a little digging.
Is your content high quality? Did you include an unsubscribe option? Did you use too many spam trigger words?
If you can’t find the cause, It may be time for a full CAN-SPAM refresher course.
4. Use Video to Increase Email Marketing ROI
You may have noticed, but video’s kind of a big deal right now.
According to Wordstream, research shows marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t, according to WordStream.
Naturally, marketers were quick to try the trend’s hand in email marketing. But there’s one caveat: most email clients, including Gmail, Hotmail, and Outlook, don’t support HTML5.
HTML5 is used to embed videos into emails. While it’s possible to do it, your recipients won’t see them if they’re using one of those major email clients.
Luckily, there are still a few ways to capitalize on the popularity of videos in email marketing.
The first is to create an image for your email that looks like a video and link it to an outside page.
Add these, and when a user clicks in the image of the button below, they’ll be taken to a page where the video can play – either a landing page on your website or your YouTube channel.
Your next best option is to go with a gif. While not traditional video, they serve a similar purpose, and have been grabbing attention since ‘96.
Remember the dancing baby, anyone?
It’s safe to say gifs have come a long way, and now 52% of marketers have used an animated GIF in an email campaign.
They’re great at capturing attention, and while that’s a good thing for emails, to increase ROI we need them to do more than just draw eyes.
To do that, we need to take a que from Dell.
They used a gif to show off their latest product and it’s most impressive feature – the ability to flip around. Because users could actually see the product in action, they had that much more incentive to buy.
And buy they did. Dell saw a 109% increase in revenue from this gif.
5. Make Sure Your Landing Pages Match Your Emails for Better Email Marketing ROI
Remember, when it comes to email marketing ROI, getting the click is only half the battle.
Where your users land afterwards is what seals the deal. That’s where a well-designed landing page comes into play.
The first rule is to make sure your landing page matches your email. If you’re promising free shipping or a special discount, you better be sending your users to a page that delivers on that promise.
More importantly, it disrupts the customer experience. When they click on that email, they’re focused on one thing – your offer, blog post, etc. – and if they arrive at a page that doesn’t support that, they’ll lose focus.
The action they’re supposed to take is no longer spelled out for them, and most will promptly bounce. As you can imagine, that does little to help your ROI.
So as you build your landing page, keep the following in mind:
- Match the messaging, design, colors and font to that in your email
- Reinforce users decisions by offering clear benefits
- Include a clear CTA
- Include social sharing options and social proof
- As always, test everything
6. AI Has the Potential to Improve Email Marketing ROI
Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to be a major catalyst for change in the marketing world.
But for many, it remains a big unknown when it comes to implementation and real-world use. So let me break it down for you a little bit.
When we talk about AI, we’re not talking about a Terminator landscape. We’re talking about small, automated tasks that can help improve and optimize your email campaigns. And don’t worry, humans are still fully in control of the process.
It works like this: AI systems can parse large loads of data, and learn from it. And it learns a lot faster than a human does, and often with more reliable results.
In the email marketing world, it can help to optimize specific promotions, send time and frequency, and email content.
AI can help marketers better test and predict which kind of content a user would like to see, and which content combinations will be most effective.
Virgin Holidays used AI to optimize their subject lines, and saw a 2% increase in open rates – a shift that resulted in several more million pounds.
And implementing it isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think.
Take a tool like Phrasee. Phrasee optimizes email subject lines, and gets you more opens, clicks, and conversions. The solution beats humans 98% of the time in head-to-head subject line writing tests.
Or, test out Seventh Sense. This one’s designed to help you deliver every email at the optimal time and frequency for each person.
Email marketing will continue to be a major factor in marketing. How it plays out for your company? Well, that’s up to you.
If you want to see better returns on your email campaigns, you have to be proactive. Start with the tips above, and you’ll stars seeing results.