“You’ve got mail!” This greeting used to evoke excitement, as users had patiently sat through the crackling and static audible process of the dial-up connection finally logging them into their email account. Flash forward to present time and it’s rare that your inbox isn’t inundated with a plethora of assorted promotional emails, newsletter subscriptions and communication from brands and businesses you’ve never even heard of.
Email marketing has become a hypothetical battleground of earning consumer interest among the abundance of inbox fodder. Although it is impossible to control how many business are sending your contact lists emails, it is within your ability to send relevant content to contacts you know will find value in it.
Here are some things that your bank’s current email strategy could be missing that might help you better execute email marketing campaigns.
It is imperative to any email campaign to have a contact base that has opted in to receive communication from your business. A supportive inbound strategy (i.e., blogs, SEO social media, etc.) will help with your brand’s content awareness and grow your email subscription lists. Industry standards estimate that your email list will experience a 20-30 percent churn rate annually. So, continuing to build your list ensures that it never dwindles to the point of an ineffective reach.
To help avoid some of this attrition, it is important to evaluate contact lifecycles. Your contacts’ wants and needs will inevitably change as they reach different points in their lives, so make sure your customer relationship management (CRM) tool is updated to reflect these changes. Your CRM should also help you recognize when it is time to clean out some contacts who have not engaged with content.
Scrubbing out unengaged contacts will help your sending reputation. Within these list audits, there should also be a level of segmentation. This will help you send appropriate messaging to contacts based on interests, locations, lifecycle stages and interactions with your business on and offline. Defining interests by things like specific form submissions or pages visited on your website, as well as current customers to non-customers, can help provide content that will be relevant to specific groups within your general contact list.
Content is (Still) King
Email content should provide succinct, actionable language that informs the viewer of the intent of the email in as little time as possible. This should be accounted for from subject line to preview text and into the email content itself. Using actionable verbiage (i.e., “take,” “download,” “reserve,” etc.) in the subject line (shoot for 40-65 characters) can set the stage for what to expect in the email that the viewer is choosing to open. The preview text (35-90 characters) can support your subject line by providing a little more context around the content you are offering the viewer.
Now it’s time to deliver the goods within the copy of the email. Your content should provide relevancy, and the viewer needs to understand that immediately. Try using headlines that remind the viewer how they know your business, and deliver the content associated with your subject as early as contextually possible. Finally, if your goal is to convert email viewers to web visitors (and eventually web conversions), make sure your CTA (call to action) is findable within five seconds of viewing the email content.
To support a value-driven content experience, make sure your web pages (i.e., landing pages, blog articles, event calendars, etc.) have optimized content that provides useful information to the viewer. If the goal is to turn these visitors into conversions, confirm that the next actionable step is provided and prevalent within the page to which the email sends them.
Efficient, Consistent Design
Your email design should support the content within it. Overpowering your content with visuals turns your email into a conflicting tug-of-war for the viewers' attentions. The imagery should first and foremost offer a visual cue to the viewer about the content to follow. Emails should also be recognizable to your brand. Keeping email headers and footers consistent on every send helps establish a familiarity with your email layout. Linking your header and footer to your website will also help click-thru rates on email sends.
The featured graphics or images should have an obvious relation to the content within the email. A beautiful picture of a sunset, although visually appealing, does nothing to support email content that is highlighting a credit card rewards program your bank is offering to its cardholders. If the email is being sent to specific audience segments within your contact list, make sure to provide relatable images to the demographic to add relevance.
Provide a CTA that fits with the other visuals within the email by adding an icon to your button or making the callout an image with overlaid text. This will streamline the opportunity for the viewer to click-thru and provide more context of what to expect on the destination page.
There are no take-backs in the email game. Once it has been sent, it is irreversible. So testing should not be taken lightly. There should be an internal team, that potentially includes members of other departments, that can review the email prior to sending to your contact list. Be sure to test on various email clients (i.e., Apple Mail, Outlook, Gmail, etc.). Some email softwares have a native testing tool that allows you to perform these reviews within your email builder, but, if this is not an option, try to build your team based on a variety of email platforms.
Once the email has been through the approval process, the second phase of testing can begin. Performance testing will help you optimize send times, subject lines and even content layout. A/B testing helps ensure that you are choosing the messaging that reaches the audience most effectively. Scheduling emails to send at specific times provides opportunities to understand which audiences engage with their emails based on day of the week or even time of day. Again, some email softwares allow you to perform some of this A/B testing and send scheduling within the system. If this is not available within your software, manually performing some of these tests is well worth the time investment.