Did you know that the World Bank predicts a baseline 5.2% contraction in global GDP in 2020?
A contracting GDP implies lower consumer demand, shifting consumer behaviors and therefore possibly lower consumer spends. Even large, well-known brands like Unilever acknowledge that the current challenging global environment has prompted them to change their marketing tactics, rethink their priorities and review their spends to ensure that it remains effective and appropriate.
But even in uncertain times, customers maintain their email inboxes with a keen eye, which means that email marketing remains one of the highest drivers of marketing ROI. So in today’s challenging business and customer landscape, how can savvy email marketers improve their email marketing ROI?
Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) boasts a number of tools that empower email marketers to keep up with today’s buyers while also extracting the maximum possible email marketing ROI.
So if you are an email marketer or a Salesforce certified email specialist, here are 5 email marketing tips and tricks (plus some cool email marketing ROI statistics) to help you boost your email marketing ROI.
1. Start right – with the customer
The Salesforce report Trends and Tactics Driving Marketing ROI found that 71% of customers now expect real-time communication from the brands they engage with. Furthermore, 73% of them say that one ‘extraordinary’ experience raises their expectations of other companies, it’s not just customer demand that fuels email marketing efforts today, but the desire to deliver memorable customer experiences.
So the first step to increasing email marketing ROI is to let customer expectations guide your email marketing priorities, strategies and tactics. This means answering the question, “What are you trying to achieve with this new email marketing campaign?” with an answer like, “Engage current customers, inspire new customers and stand out in the inbox.” Define clear intentions to improve the value of your emails for recipients. Determine your KPIs (e.g., click rate by link over time) and objectives (e.g. 5% increase in subscriber base over six months). If you don’t understand these things in advance, you could wind up over-sending emails which may cause subscriber fatigue and hurt your customer file.
2. Modernize your email marketing ‘toolbox’ with the right technologies
Another cool email marketing ROI statistic in the Salesforce report: 89% of successful email marketers prioritize modernizing their email marketing toolbox for personalization and other in-demand strategies. Another 88% also recognize the importance of unifying their customer data sources.
To keep your email marketing program ahead of the competition, ensure that your technology stack, tools, and data are razor sharp, and always focused on the customer’s needs and goals. Here are some useful email marketing tips and tricks to try:
1. Warm up your IP address
If you send an email to every prospect right away, it will raise a red flag for spam filters. Build a reputation by starting with your best lists. Keep sending volumes low during the first week or two, and then increase until you reach your goal.
2. Set up email authentication
Email authentication protects your brand’s reputation from spammers. Set up rules to determine how your emails will be sent, so fraudulent senders can’t imitate you. Use systems like Sender Policy Framework, DomainKeys, or DomainKeys Identified Mail to do this.
3. Keep an eye on bounce rates
To keep your emails out of spam filters and in customers’ inboxes, periodically review your bounce rates. SFMC Email Studio provides several reporting options to track email campaign performance and troubleshoot issues related to deliverability.
3. Focus on ‘full-funnel’ email marketing
Here’s an interesting email marketing ROI statistic: The number of marketers tracking lifetime customer value (LTV) is projected to grow 107% over the next few years. The rise of LTV’s prominence corresponds with marketers’ growing focus on end-to-end customer experiences, which in turn is spurred by growing customer demands. However, creating customer experiences that foster high lifetime value requires close coordination across multiple functions, of which email marketing is one critical part. In other words, full-funnel marketing is in and business silos are out.
Almost 78% of customers now expect consistent interactions across departments. That’s why high-performing marketing teams integrate their email marketing and other tech stacks. Some inspiring statistics to help you improve your email marketing ROI:
- 45% of marketers collaborate with sales on account-based marketing
- 51% say marketing emails are synced with commerce
- 32% say they suppress marketing emails when a customer has an open service case
4. Create dynamic content
Today, 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, and that experience includes the emails they receive. Therefore, emails that are tailored to their needs and personalized for their enjoyment are more likely to garner engagement. And the best way to deliver hyper-personalized email experiences is via dynamic content.
Crucial email marketing ROI statistics that support the case for dynamic content:
- 80%+ of marketers believe personalization improves their overall marketing program
- Email campaigns with dynamic content generate an ROI of 44:1, compared to 36:1 ROI for the ones that don’t
- Personalized subject lines increase open rates by 26%
Here are some time-tested email marketing tips and tricks for dynamic content:
1. Use ‘merge tags’
Use merge tags to insert data from your mailing list directly into your email campaigns.
For example: Use a merge tag to dynamically pull in each subscriber’s first name.
Set up custom merge tags for any data in your database, or combine multiple merge tags to generate personalized emails with multiple bits of dynamic content.
2. Personalize the subject line
Apply a merge tag to email subject lines to add the recipient’s name, and make your emails stand out in the inbox and encourage opens.
3. Use dynamic content blocks and email templates
Display, hide, and adjust content blocks in your email campaigns based on certain rules and parameters. E.g. Set up separate ‘if/then’ statements, say, by their listed city, to determine which content each subscriber will receive.
Some more personalization types you can use in your dynamic content blocks:
- Customer status: E.g. prospect, customer, seasonal shopper
- Past email interactions: E.g. X days since open, Y days since last click
- Past purchases from an online store
- Gender, race, ethnicity
- Expressed preferences via a preference center or profile
Regardless of what type of personalization you include in your dynamic content blocks, make sure you always follow laws regarding data usage and privacy (e.g. GDPR or CCPA).
After considering which types of attention-grabbing and relevant messages you’re sending, determine if one HTML email template with different modules will fit all your needs, or if you need to create different Salesforce templates for different campaigns. Include a pre-header that supports the subject line. Limit it to 100 characters. Also make sure that your imagery aligns directly with the message and subscriber, and that you distinguish your CTA through color, placement and text treatment. Don’t forget to preview and review your message, especially if you include dynamic content and Salesforce templates.
5. Harness the power of Artificial Intelligence
From email personalization and dynamic content to data analysis, AI enables email marketers to deliver more satisfying customer experiences with their campaigns. In fact, 88% marketers report at least moderate ROI using AI in email marketing. With AI, the possibilities of a high potential ROI are virtually endless.
One example where AI plays a major role in SFMC is Einstein Send Time Optimization (STO) in Journey Builder. By looking through email engagement data and behavioral history, such as a subscriber’s sends, clicks, and opens, STO analyzes and predicts the optimal engagement time for each customer, leading to maximum conversions.
AI can also help deliver the most engaging content for each subscriber. In SFMC, Einstein applies relevant business rules to a pool of content to select the right content for each customer without creating a new email.
Another great reason to embrace SFMC Einstein AI is to automate messages for lifecycle series like onboarding, reengagement, or friendly messages for birthdays and anniversaries. These messages may be complementary to your newsletters and other sends.
Here are some more reasons to use SFMC’s AI capabilities to increase your email marketing ROI:
- 3 out of 5 marketers see major improvements in brand-building results due to AI
- 50% of marketers using AI credit it with major revenue growth
- 88% of marketers have seen AI-led improvements in lead generation
Increasing your email marketing ROI starts with creating emotionally-resonant emails that put the customer at the center. And when you find the sweet spot between data and emotion, content and technology (such as AI), there’s no reason why your next email marketing campaign should not yield a high ROI, even in current challenging times.