Email marketing is a quick lane to building customer relationships and solidifying your brand.
It also helps us move people through the sales funnel all the way down to purchase decisions. Alas, from time to time, we hit a brick wall.
The bitter truth is that not everyone is interested in what we have to say and offer. It’s estimated half of all email contacts churn after twelve months. In other words, they jump ship that is your email list or become inactive.
This just goes to show that email marketing has revolving doors. Some customers always come on board, but others leave. This is the ebb and flows you can control only to a certain extent.
Churn eats away at sales and negatively impacts your bottom line. It also undermines your efforts to foster loyalty and trust. This menace has to be stopped in its tracks before it reaches the danger zone.
Here is a guide on taking your email marketing to the next level.
Facts and Figures
Churn refers to the customer abandonment rate and hinges on the dynamics of new list entries and exits.
To work the exact number out, do the following. Pick a certain time frame and calculate the total number of subscribers lost and the total number of customers you currently have. Divide the former figure by the latter, and there you have it.
As such, churn is inversely proportional to the customer retention rate. And make no mistake— you’re not the only one affected. Churn is a common obstacle on the way to marketing goals. You could say some amount of churn is an unavoidable fact of life for modern marketers.
People frown upon spam-ridden messages and overflowing inboxes, and we can’t really blame them. Besides, there are new channels that threaten to steal the email’s thunder. We’re talking about social, mobile apps and push notifications.
The good news is we can do a lot to turn email campaigns into revenue-generating engines. After all, a certain portion of churn always stems from the quality and effectiveness of marketing.
Two Sides of the Medal
First off, there are two types of churn we should distinguish from.
The first one is a transparent churn, which plays out like the good old break-up: Customers initiate it by hitting the unsubscribe button or sending spam complaints.
The second type is an opaque churn, the silent killer. It takes place when things start cooling off between you and the audience. People don’t unsubscribe, but they become inactive and ignore your campaigns.
This state of affairs is the precursor of abandonment.
Thus, both churns are problems you need to tackle promptly and head-on before they spiral out of control. In the next sections, we’ll uncover some surefire techniques for making it happen.
A Warm Welcome
Right from the get-go, you want to confirm prospects actually want a relationship with you.
A double opt-in process is a great way to set the stage. Namely, it involves one extra step than usual, the email confirmation. It leaves no doubt as to whether someone is interested or not.
This approach puts emphasis on the quality of subscribers instead of sheer quantity. In our opinion, it’s miles ahead of having a bunch of half-hearted subscribers on the list.
Upon ensuring you’re off to a good start, you can initiate the next step. It revolves around properly welcoming and engaging people. To achieve these outcomes, you have to refrain from pushing your products and services too aggressively.
Some people may still be on the fence when it comes to your brand and offerings. You better be able to make a strong first impression to overcome this initial hurdle.
So, focus on crafting a killer welcome email. Speak the language your audience understands and create a sense of addressing individuals directly.
Showcase the benefits of receiving emails down the road. Offer reassurances, clarifications, and handy information. Give people a taste of what they can expect from your content production kitchen.
Once subscribers are in the loop, you need to start delivering on your promises. Your chief mission should be educating subscribers on everything related to your products, services, mission, values, etc.
Newsletters are hands down the most effective vehicle for delivering these messages. They give subscribers heads up regarding upcoming launches, events, and promotions.
Just make sure to get the frequency of the newsletter right—no need to overwhelm or annoy anyone.
Of course, the exact incidence depends on various factors, such as industry sector and brand persona. Retail brands, for example, send four broadcast emails per week on average.
You can also create an email reference center. It gives people control over how often they receive emails even and lets them select the type of content they want. While you surrender some of your power, you are more likely to reduce churn rates.
Face Value and Beyond
Be aware that people have varying wants and needs.
A scattergun marketing strategy is a hit-and-miss proposition, to say the least. You’re much better off segmenting your list and tailoring your approach to different preferences. VIP customers, for example, deserve some extra value in the form of premium discounts or perks.
On the other hand, you can hook first-time buyers with free shipping on future purchases.
Milestone emails commemorate a certain result, such as the anniversary of your relationship with a customer. These special events are slam-dunk opportunities for connecting on a more meaningful level.
Furthermore, make an effort to identify customers that are on their way out and win them back.
Yes, we know it can be tricky to establish, at which point you run into this risk. But, if an email is left unopened for a couple of weeks, it’s safe to assume it’s going to stay that way.
That’s the right moment to dispatch win-back and re-engagement emails. They should contain magnets like discounts and limited-time offers.
To set up these targeted campaigns, leverage email automation/personalization tools. These are two of the most prominent email marketing trends of today.
They enable you to assign triggers for specific activities consumers take (such as shopping cart abandonment). You are able to streamline deployment and launch cost-effective, “1 on 1” email marketing campaigns.
The Art of Nurturing Relationships
Beyond that, you should make an effort to reinforce existing relationships.
To sow their seeds, show appreciation for loyalty. Sometimes, it’s enough to just say “thank you”. In other instances, you need to offer something a bit more concrete and reward people who’ve stuck with you.
In other words, know when to throw great deals and special offers into the marketing mix. People expect to see them anyway, and some of them even subscribe primarily for this reason.
Think in terms of coupons, discount codes, and promotional gifts. Webinars (online) courses and personal coaching may be worth considering as well. They inject added value and spur more engagement, helping you establish a favorable perception of your brand.
Therefore, never lose sight of user experience (UX), as it’s tied to your brand building and overall marketing effectiveness.
Speaking of which, it would be a good idea to create a seamless experience for mobile users. Here, the challenges are related to properly displaying messages on smaller screen sizes. You have to adjust both your design and content for smooth viewing and consumption.
Whenever in doubt, turn to data.
Businesses swim in a vast ocean of it, and only a small fraction is actually usable. So, tool up and make sure your analytic capabilities are up to the task. Get ready to collect precious consumer insights on an ongoing basis.
For instance, figure out why some subscribers decide to leave your list. It could be anything from a poor pricing scheme and irrelevant content to the unbearable volume of emails. You can carry out a survey to get to the bottom of the problem.
They are one among many potential sources of information you can tap into. Busy online avenues, such as social media, are teeming with valuable data too. So, there are no excuses we can possibly think of.
Keep your fingers on the pulse of the audience, and measure the success of campaigns. Set up key performance indicators and see how you’re holding up over time.
These monitoring activities allow you to optimize email marketing for maximum ROI. Just remember to communicate all the changes you make. Keeping people in the dark isn’t an option.
Turning the Tide in Your Favor
Email churn is one of those issues that only get bigger when ignored.
So, if you mean business, you can’t afford to have people bail on you or become disengaged. Embrace churn management as an ongoing commitment and best practice.
Never trick people into subscribing or lock them away from the “unsubscribe” button. These manipulative ploys do more harm than good in the long-term.
Instead, see to it that your added value proposition behind opting-in is crystal clear. Treat subscribers as humans instead of some dollar figures. Gather data to find out more about them.
Then, segment the email list and target your campaigns right. Customize both content and core messages to different preferences. Grasp the why behind churn trends and awaken dormant customers.
Maintain brand integrity and consistency in a multi-channel context. Keep people happy, in-the-know, and eagerly anticipating more.
You will be able to boost customer retention and enjoy a steady flow of revenue.