Email opens the door to effective marketing. Over 205 billion emails are sent out every day. Some 72% of U.S. adults say they prefer companies communicate with them through email, while 91% say they’d like to receive promotional emails from the companies they do business with. And nearly three-quarters of companies agree email is a core part of their marketing efforts, while 25% of those rate it as their top channel in terms of return on investment.

Email is thriving for marketers, but too many otherwise savvy professionals are misusing this channel, turning to tactics that frustrate their customers. Here are six ways to rethink your email strategy:

1. Break it down

It’s become overwhelmingly clear that, in a rapidly splintering communications ecosystem, contacts have been trained to expect segmentation. Segmentation makes it easier to send content people care about and only the content they care about. If you’re not breaking down your list by gender, location, age group and the like, it’s really no wonder your strategy can use a facelift.
But that’s only the start of what you can do with segmentation.

According to MailChimp, when stats were measured across all segmented campaigns, open rates were 14.13% higher than non-segmented lists. Clicks were 63.03% higher and abuse reports were 6.36% lower.

Group your audience by buying behaviors, use dynamic content and allow subscribers a chance to let you know which topics pique their interest. Know your buyer personas and identify your ideal consumers as they stand as specific individuals. Then, break down your groups to drive a more relevant message. Relevance ramps revenue.

2. Get to the point (and stop rambling about nothing)

Let’s cut to the chase. It’s hard to be engaged in a conversation about “client user group A” or “customer advocacy programs” when there’s no obvious point. The best way to get and sustain a customer’s attention is to get right down to business—and get there fast. Brevity and clarity matter now more than ever.

Take as long as you need to get to the point in your messaging, but take no longer. Cut the fat out of your content and be respectful of your reader’s time. Tell your story, with a clear point, but sans the fluff. Keep it tight.

3. Let’s get personal(ized)

Netflix knows the kind of shows you like and Pandora automatically plays songs you never knew you loved, based on your previous playlists. Facebook also fills your news feed with relevant content, custom-tailored just for you. Personalized content creates relatability for a consumer and allows them to create their own journey toward purchase.

We live in an era of low trust in society as a whole. A mere 18% of consumers say they trust business leaders today. At its core, though, business is human. It’s a person, talking to another person, about a product or service. No business actually sells to another business. We sell to a person, who happens to work for another business. And people—consumers—want to buy from those who’ve been in their shoes and found the key to success.

4. Make them feel special

Emails should serve your customer, not the product you’re offering. Solid growth comes through simple, repeatable service that’s so good it’s sharable. Serving customers comes by meeting them in their email with simple tasks and giving them more than they expect—offering up real value.

Tell interesting, compelling stories that your customers are able to relate to. Provide them with content resources, like a blog post or case study, that they could find helpful

5. Nix email add-ons

If you saw a two-paragraph text block spelling out company background, mission and vision in a one-to-one email, where would your attention go? What would you engage with in that add-on fluff? Nothing. You’d send the message to the trash faster than Usain Bolt hit the pavement in Rio.

Cut back on the frivolous definitions and unneeded text for maximum value. Add in a couple hyperlinks that take customers to your social pages or website to highlight your vision and mission. But skip irrelevant or excessive social sites. Avoid including a fax number, inspirational quotes and, of course, your email address.

6. Key-in on key timing

You’ve honed into the mind of your potential buyer, you’ve honed your message and you’re ready to hit send. But when you deliver your message is just as important as what you’re saying. So optimize it.

Add a Welcome Program through triggered or scheduled one-to-one email exchanges to help find out the preferences of your clientele and their email etiquette.

Triggered emails, based on the information you already have on your buyer—think birthdays, purchase habits, cart abandonment—makes your timing more relevant and engaging. And the numbers back it up. The Epsilon Email Marketing Research Center said triggered emails have an open rate of 46–53% and click-through rates that range between nine and 11%. People listen if they hear the right message, at the right time.

7. Stay connected

Include your contact information in the email signature to keep your recipient engaged with your brand. The signature not only tells your contact who the email is from, but it can help re-establish your relationship with your customers and promote your brand and messaging to your clients. The only thing worse than adding every piece of contact information you have is going sans.
It’s small, it’s humble but your email signature has the power to beef up your marketing plan by enhancing your brand and dishing out relevant content. Include the basics like your name, phone number and title. Use two or three social media handles (but no more), and small, but bold, graphics for a personal touch.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Direct Marketing.

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Dan Hanrahan

Dan Hanrahan has spent over a decade starting, leading, and growing technology businesses. His experience spans across technology recruiting, ecommerce, and marketing technology, and he’s played key roles at companies like Brooksource, iGoDigital, and ExactTarget. His latest business, Sigstr, makes it simple for marketers to take control of branding and marketing in the employee email signature.

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