Marketers know that omnichannel marketing is the de facto business strategy for finding and retaining customers in our mobile-obsessed culture. But it’s only effective if all your marketing channels and strategies are part of the larger omnichannel vision — and that includes email.

Making sure your email marketing is a cohesive part of the entire omnichannel customer journey isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Wondering what some best practices are for integrating email into your omnichannel marketing? I’m glad you asked.

1. Measure the impact of email, both online and offline

46% of respondents in an audience poll conducted by CMO.com said email marketing delivers the most measurable ROI, beating out other popular channels like social media and content marketing by a wide margin.

A combination of marketing technologies can provide the data you need to measure the impact of your email on the entire customer journey. Remember, it’s not enough to only track open rates and click rates. To calculate ROI, make sure to tie sales revenue back to your email campaigns, even if email wasn’t the last touch. You should also look at metrics like how many emails it takes before someone makes a purchase, or if your email opens rates are affected by other marketing touchpoints such display ads.

You should also be analyzing how email influences behavior in other ways — including in-store purchases and phone calls. Call intelligence data delivers insight into the connection between the important connection between online outreach and offline interactions. Consider also pairing call tracking with other analytical tools to drill down into personalized email campaign performance and figure out what types of messages prompt customers to close the sale.

2. Use other interactions in the customer journey to inform your email strategy

Your email marketing shouldn’t be operating in a vacuum apart from the rest of your marketing.

“Data coming from in-store point-of-sale transactions, online transactions, loyalty programs, website and mobile app behavior, even calls to customer service, are all behaviors that can and should be used to make a decision in real time as to what to send to the customer next,” notes Ryan Hofmann, Chief Brand Strategist at Listrak.

There are many ways to use previous customer interactions to shape your email strategies. Consider sending a reminder email filled with items from an abandoned online shopping cart. Bonus points for following through with a streamlined and simple order process. You’ll enjoy higher conversions and revenue while your customers will be thrilled with the pain-free purchase experience.

And don’t forget about offline interactions. For instance, a phone call should trigger a follow-up email with targeted messaging. With the right call intelligence solution, you can use voice analytics to understand the outcome of a call — what products are mentioned, key customer details, questions asked, etc. — and integrate that data with their email marketing platform to automatically trigger a highly personalized and relevant follow-up email.

3. Personalize your email

Personalized email transaction rates are six times higher than impersonal messages, but the vast majority of marketers don’t use them. Email segmentation is a super way to tailor messages to the right audience and open the door to a better customer experience.

There’s virtually no limit to the ways you can slice and dice your lists for maximum effectiveness. Mary Fernandez, Content Marketing Manager for OptinMonster, put together a list of 50 ideas to get you started, including sorting by dimensions including:

  • Income type
  • Type of email account
  • Mobile vs. desktop users

Be sure to also tweak email messages based on the phone and digital interactions customers have with you to let them know you’re paying attention and acting on what they tell you. Emails should link to specialized landing pages based on items viewed or phone conversations between the customer and sales teams. Remember that links to your company’s impersonal homepage aren’t as helpful at this stage, especially when your call and online activity tools give you the data you need to close the sale based on your customer’s individual interests.

Think about ways to incentivize your email based on unique customer insights and preferences. Popular approaches are often related to demographic information like age or gender but don’t limit yourself. Perhaps include app download links in messages to customers who visited your site on mobile devices or send coupons to people who lingered on your site but didn’t pull the trigger on a purchase.

Personalized email hinges on the concept that one size does not fit all so don’t be afraid to ask your customers questions to learn more about them. When custom invitation website Paper Style send targeted messages to wedding invitation customers and simply asked, “What are you planning for?” their email open rate increased by an astonishing 244%

4. Craft helpful, contextually relevant content

One of the best ways to impress a customer is with an email that’s helpful and contextually relevant. If you buy a pair of running shoes online, it makes sense to receive a follow-up email recommending socks, extra shoelaces, and maybe even a wearable fitness tracker. On the other hand, an email offering discounts on the future purchase of tie tacks and luggage would seem completely out of left field to customers who have no way of knowing those are simply the monthly specials offered to everyone in the sales contact database.

An even better email marketing approach is to use the opportunity to offer helpful information or educational content that positions your company as experts. A tip sheet on exercising outdoors during inclement weather or a short video on stretching tight hamstrings lets recipients know you’ve made an effort to tailor your message to their interests. Be sure to offer something of value with your outreach instead of just asking for a sale.

Don’t skimp on including compelling visuals, but do make sure they scale appropriately across desktop and mobile devices. Check out this post at Hubspot to see 13 awesome, visually appealing email designs. From ice cream cones to handbags, these messages exemplify email marketing done right.

5. Handle email subject lines with care

While it’s important to make sure the body of your email looks great on any device, subject lines need a lot of TLC to pack a click-enticing message into an increasingly tiny space.

According to Litmus Software, 56% of email received in April 2016 was opened on a mobile device. That means you have even less subject line real estate to work with than emails opened on a desktop. Most email clients can display around 50 characters on a laptop but that number drops to about 36 on an iPhone and a mere 33 on a Galaxy S4.

The exact number of characters depends on the type of phone and whether it’s used in portrait or landscape mode, but the point is clear. You’ve got less space than ever to deliver punchy, irresistible subject lines that entice customers to click through.

As if that isn’t enough to worry about, smart watches make it even more challenging to create snappy subject lines. Between tiny screens and an even tinier allowable character space, you’re lucky to have 20 letters to work with. Optimize wisely and you could run circles around your competitors’ attempts at email marketing.

Once you’ve buttoned down your content, visuals, and subject line, take a final look at the details of our message before sending. Prominently display your phone number or, even better, include a click to call button in the body of the email. Give people a choice of how to contact you because a little empowerment goes a long way toward building lifelong customer relationships.

Think of email marketing like tapping directly into the vein of your customer’s attention span. Unlike other marketing channels where you’re competing with Twitter’s firehose, Facebook’s algorithm-of-the-day, and Instagram’s puppy pictures, you are uppermost in your customer’s mind while they read the latest inbox message from you. Make the most of that gift by integrating email into your omnichannel marketing strategy today.

Email Marketers, Meet Phone CallsDo you want to learn more about the impact of phone calls on email marketing? Download your copy of our eBook, Email Meet Phone Calls.

 

 

 

 

Lisa McGreevy

Posted by Lisa McGreevy

Lisa McGreevy is a professional freelance journalist and blogger with more than 18 years experience covering enterprise products and services, brand marketing, and emerging technology. Lisa is based in Tampa, FL. Follow her on Twitter @LisaH.

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