When we talk about user engagement we are seeking to establish trust, raise brand awareness and generate sales/revenues from existing users/costumers. There are many ways to get to this goal, but this article will concentrate in email marketing. Despite of the raise of social media in the last years as one of the most powerful tools to interact with users, email newsletters remain as one of the most reliable marketing efforts to improve user engagement.
The first step when creating your email strategy is to identify what are the results you want to get out of engaging your users. Depending of the industry you are working in, the desired results can be different. For example, if you are selling products or services on a B2C basis, you probably want to maintain a frequent communication with your existing users, keep them informed of the last products you offer, and try to make them purchase again. It is really important to identify what is your main goal, and eventually secondary ones, in order to align with it the actions you are going to drive through email marketing. Following the example above, the primary goal can be generating new sales from existing users, and secondary goals can be getting reviews from products and increasing the daily visits in your website.
Once you identified your goals, you need to define indicators (KPI’s) in order to track the performance of your email communications. They must be easily measurable and should be relevant based on the goals you are seeking. Getting back to the example above, the KPI’s are easy to establish:
- Generate new sales: monthly sales made by existing users
- Reviews from products: monthly reviews by existing users
- Increase daily visits: monthly visits in website
After identifying your goals and setting up the KPI’s, you have to check which data you have from your users, and determine if you need to modify the sign up form where you capture them. The basic information needed in order to send newsletters to your existing users is an email address. The more data you ask the more segmentation possibilities will be available, but always being careful in order to not make the users abandon the registration process due to too much fields to complete. You have to find the balance between a quick registration form and getting the right information you need in order to segment our database the way you want.
Segmentation can be interesting in order to customize the message to a specific group of users with similar properties such as age (ex: users between 20-25 years old), location, gender or a mix of those. A more specific message usually drives to a higher conversion, so we highly recommend taking your time to create valuable segments depending on the strategy to follow.
Open Rate and Click Through Rate can easily increase with a good segmentation and by testing different subject lines. In our case, we managed to increase the average OR from 25% to 35% by segmenting our user’s database and testing different subject lines. The fact of segmenting the user’s database implies to adapt the content for each segment, what drives to a higher CTR due to a higher relevancy of the content for the users. In our case, we increased the CTR from 2% to 4.2% thanks to segmentation.
With all the above elements you can decide what email software to use. The most known are MailChimp and Get Response, due to the fact they both have free versions offering good functionalities. For databases with less than 1000 users both can be a good option.
The frequency of your newsletter (daily, weekly, monthly) is another important point to decide. In order to obtain good results from the email communications, those need to be seen by the users as something that brings added value to them. Our point of view is that the content you offer is more important than the frequency. Always offer fresh content to your users. If this can be done on a daily basis, then you can send a newsletter every day. But if you cannot provide new content so often, in order to prevent unsubscribes due to a high frequency of newsletters, we recommend sending once a week, or even once a month.
The subject line and the content of the newsletters are the central part of email marketing. We recommend you to read the article we published in March about “creating a good email creative” following this link: http://blog.addiliate.com/how-to-create-a-good-email-creative/
Last but not least comes the testing phase. Try different subject lines, creatives, content, call to actions, segments and register the performance of the KPI’s for each case. The only way to optimize the performance of the email strategy and increase the user’s engagement is to test!