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Maximizing Email Marketing RoI

·2824 words·14 mins
digital marketing email marketing
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Not all email marketing campaigns are created equal, and without a focused strategy, you may not see the return on investment (ROI) you’re aiming for.

With concerns over Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection finally being put to rest, I think it is time to take another look at email marketing.

In this article, we’ll explore how you can maximize your email marketing ROI through effective goal setting, content creation, deliverability (a major problem), and analysis.

Understanding Email Marketing ROI #

Before we dive into the specifics of maximizing your email marketing ROI, let’s first take a closer look at what email marketing ROI is, and why it’s important. Email marketing ROI is a measure of the revenue generated by your email campaigns compared to the costs associated with creating and executing those campaigns.

Essentially, it’s a metric that helps you determine whether your email marketing efforts are delivering the results you need.

But how do you calculate email marketing ROI? There are a few different ways to approach it, but one common formula is:

(Revenue - Cost of Campaign) / Cost of Campaign x 100 = ROI

For example, if you spent $500 on an email campaign and generated $1,000 in revenue from that campaign, your ROI would be:

($1,000 - $500) / $500 x 100 = 100%

So for every dollar you spent on the campaign, you earned two dollars in revenue, resulting in a 100% ROI.

Now that we know what email marketing ROI is and how to calculate it, let’s talk about why it’s so important. Simply put, tracking your email marketing ROI is essential for making informed decisions about your marketing strategy. By analyzing your ROI, you can determine which campaigns are most effective and which ones need improvement.

This allows you to allocate your marketing budget more effectively, focusing on campaigns that are generating the highest ROI and cutting back on those that aren’t.

But ROI isn’t just about cutting costs and maximizing profits. It can also help you identify areas for growth and optimization.

For example, if you notice that a particular campaign is generating a high ROI, you can look for ways to scale that campaign and increase its impact. On the other hand, if a campaign is under performing, you can experiment with different strategies and tactics to see if you can improve its ROI.

Ultimately, email marketing ROI is a powerful tool for any marketer looking to drive revenue and grow their business. By tracking your ROI and using it to inform your marketing decisions, you can optimize your campaigns for maximum impact and achieve better results than ever before.

What about B2B? #

Although this is pretty straight forward for eCommerce or subscription-based products, it gets quite complicated when we’re thinking about this for B2B. So, factor in conversions on the website, and use your average deal size (even though the buying cycle may be 6 months) to calculate your RoI for each conversion - but keep in mind to see your win/loss ratio and factor that in as well to get a high-level picture.

Of course, in B2B, once you’re in an account, you’d probably want to do ABM to penetrate the account, in this article, for B2B, look at this as the first touch email marketing or nurturing.

Setting Clear Email Marketing Goals #

Effective email marketing campaigns all have one thing in common: clear and measurable goals. Before you start crafting your emails, it’s essential to identify what you want to achieve.

Are you looking to drive more website traffic? Boost product sales? Increase customer engagement? Once you’ve defined your goals, you can start to create email campaigns that align with those objectives.

Goals must be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Realistic and Time-bound). Here’s a great article from Hubspot on the 5 do’s and don’ts when making SMART goals.

Identifying Your Target Audience #

Knowing your audience is crucial when it comes to creating effective email campaigns. Make sure you take the time to segment your email list based on factors such as demographics, interests, and behavior. This will allow you to create more targeted and personalized campaigns that resonate with your subscribers.

For example, if you’re a clothing retailer, you may want to segment your email list based on gender, age, and purchasing history. This will allow you to send tailored emails that showcase products that are more likely to appeal to specific segments of your audience.

For B2B, this can be segmentation either based on their job roles or their seniority. Emails need to connect pain points or objectives of each role to the benefits of what you have to offer.

Defining Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) #

Knowing what you’re trying to achieve with your email campaigns is just the first step. Next, you need to define the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to measure success.

Common email marketing KPIs include open rates (yes, it’s back in 2023!), click-through rates (CTRs), and conversion rates. By tracking these metrics, you can determine what’s working and what’s not and adjust your strategy accordingly.

For instance, if you’re looking to increase website traffic, you may want to focus on improving your click-through rates.

It’s also important to note that KPIs can vary depending on your goals. If you’re looking to increase customer engagement, you may want to focus on metrics such as clicks, unsubscribe rate and tie it in to your web traffic if that’s where you’re taking them.

Creating Compelling Email Content #

Your email content is the backbone of your campaigns, so it’s important to get it right. Here are 3 tips for creating high-quality email content:

Writing Compelling Subject Lines #

Your subject line is the first thing your subscribers will see, so it needs to grab their attention. Keep it short and sweet, and make sure it clearly communicates the value of your email.

One way to make your subject line more compelling is to use personalization. For example, instead of a generic subject line like “New Products Available Now,” you could use “John, Check Out Our Latest Products Just for You.” This personal touch can make your subscribers feel valued and increase the likelihood that they’ll open your email.

Another way to make your subject line stand out is to use humor or curiosity. For example, a subject line like “You Won’t Believe What We’re Giving Away This Month” can pique your subscribers’ interest and encourage them to open your email.

Optimization can involve testing different formats, lengths, wording, and other factors that may impact the recipient’s decision to engage with your email. The ultimate goal is to create subject lines that are engaging, relevant, and attention-grabbing, while accurately representing the content of the email. I asked ChatGPT for some examples of great compelling subject lines:

  • Last chance to save 20% on your favorite products
  • The top 10 trends shaping the future of your industry
  • See the results: How we helped XYZ company increase sales by 30%

Personalizing Your Email Messages #

Personalization is a powerful tool for increasing engagement and conversions. Readers love to see things that tie to their preferences or likes at that point.

If you’re in eCommerce, consider including personalized product recommendations based on your subscribers’ past purchases or browsing history. You can also include exclusive discounts or promotions to incentivize purchases.

For B2B especially, personalization is the key to make or break positive perception. Send your recipient content based on their last interaction with you like sending them related content based on what they were looking for on your website, and the stage of the funnel they are in; the latter being very important to consider.

Segmenting your email list based on demographics, behavior, interests or job role can also help you send more targeted messages. For example, if you sell both men’s and women’s clothing, you could segment your list based on gender and send different emails to each group with products and promotions that are more relevant to them.

Think of how much you can segment your audience and how deep you can personalize content. This needs planning and content development and is time consuming, so keep that in mind.

Including Strong Calls-to-Action (CTAs) #

Your emails should have a clear and compelling call-to-action (CTA) that encourages subscribers to take action. Whether it’s visiting your website, making a purchase, or downloading a resource, your CTA should be prominently displayed and easy to follow.

One way to make your CTA more effective is to use urgency. For example, you could use phrases like “Limited Time Offer” or “Act Now” to create a sense of urgency and encourage subscribers to take action before it’s too late in times when you want them to take urgent action.

Another way to make your CTA more compelling is to offer an incentive. For example, you could offer a discount code or a free resource in exchange for completing a certain action, like making a purchase or signing up for your newsletter.

B2B emailing is usually not as dramatic as eCommerce, unless you’re selling your SaaS subscription on Black Friday. Even so, CTAs need to be extremely clear like, “Watch webinar on-demand.”

Finally, make sure your CTA is prominently displayed and easy to follow. Use clear and concise language, and make sure the button or link is easy to click on both desktop and mobile devices.

Ensure your emails are mobile-friendly #

In 2023, I don’t really think this needs an explanation. 81% of all emails are being opened on a mobile device source, and most emailing systems are optimized for mobile.

Keep the design simple, use minimal images with smaller sizes for faster load on mobile, and make sure the buttons or clicks are optimized for a touch screen.

Testing and Optimizing Your Email Campaigns #

Finally, it’s important to test and optimize your email campaigns to ensure you’re achieving your goals. A/B testing can be a useful tool for determining what works best for your audience.

Try testing different subject lines, email layouts, and calls to action to see what resonates best with your subscribers. You can also use data from your KPIs to make informed decisions about how to improve your campaigns.

When it comes to A/B testing, one thing to keep in mind is always make one change in the B version. Since this is an interative process, by doing this in very small increments, it is easy to track what changes are leading to improved performance. Here’s an excellent article from Neil Patel’s website on A/B testing.

By following these steps and continuously refining your email marketing strategy, you can create effective campaigns that drive results and help you achieve your business goals.

Optimizing Email Deliverability #

If the email marketing infrastructure has been setup and warmed up properly, this area shouldn’t be a problem. However, not everyone understands how email marketing systems work, and it is crucial to understand this to nail deliveries to inboxes. Your email campaigns won’t be effective if they don’t reach your subscribers’ inboxes. So, it is important to know this.

Here are a few tips for ensuring optimal email deliverability:

Ensure your contact lists are clean #

Ask if you know every contact on your list. More importantly, do they know you? Have they have given you explicit permission to email them? These questions matter because if they’re not expecting an email from you, they will either delete your email or send it to spam. The latter being the most dangerous thing to happen to your emailing infrastructure.

Understand what causes poor email deliverability #

In short, factors like bounce rate, delivery rate, unsubscribes, inbox placement rate and spam complaints are critical metrics to be tracking if you want to keep your email delivery healthy. I understand most common emailing systems like MailChimp may not have the inbox placement rate metric available, and if you have a system that displays this metric, please track it.

Avoid spamming #

This is straight forward. Please stop sending emails everyday or in regular intervals to your contacts, especially if your emails are adding no value. People get annoyed by pushy behaviour and this is true for emails too. When someone seems too many notifications or emails from you all the time in their inbox, especially their work inbox, they are going to unsubscribe to your emails - and you’ve lost a potential customer/deal.

Your emailing frequency should depend on the industry you’re in. Subscribe to your competition and see how frequently they’re emailing you. If you want to get a broader perspective, subscribe to companies that offer services to companies like yours, like say, Adobe or Salesforce.

Ensure your email is authenticated #

This is a technical area and requires some understanding to know how emailing systems work. Say you sign up for an account on MailChimp. When you send an email to someone from MailChimp, the recipient of your email will see that you’re sending the email, however the sender is not authenticated to send as you. What this means is that someone else could be using your name to send an email to your contact. At this point, your recipient may just delete the email. In fact, some security systems are designed to send such emails directly to the spam folder or not send them at all. Here’s a great guide to get started.

See engagement #

You’re sending emails, and they’re landing in your recipient’s inboxes and you’re happy to see good open rates. But what about engagement? What is the CTR% (Click-through rates) on your email? Do you accept responses to your emails? Some emailing systems now look at engagement as an important metric to decide if emails from you are relevant to the users of their service.

For example, if your recipient’s business uses Microsoft 365, then Microsoft’s algorithms determine if your email is relevant to your recipient based on their engagement with your previous emails. If they’ve never engaged with your emails, they may end up in the spam folder in the future. You can fix this by desining content that will make them want to engage with your emails.

Choosing the Right Email Service Provider (ESP) #

Make sure you’re using a reputable ESP that prioritizes deliverability. Look for features like a high sender reputation, advanced email authentication, and spam analysis.

It’s also important to choose an ESP that aligns with your email marketing goals and budget. Some ESPs offer advanced features like marketing automation and segmentation, while others may be more budget-friendly for smaller businesses.

Do your research and read reviews before committing to an ESP to ensure that you’re making the right choice for your business. Here’s a great article on the best email marketing services to get started.

Track your email and IP reputation #

Mailbox providers give scores to senders based on how well their emails are received and engaged with. These scores are on both your sending email address and your sending IP. If your scores are high, they are sent to the priority inbox. If they’re average, they may be sent to the “others” inbox. If they are poor, they will be sent to spam or blocked entirely.

Google Postmaster Tools is good to track your scores if you intend to send to gmail or emails that use the Google business infrastructure.

Microsft Smart Network Data Service is good to track scores when you’re sending to Outlook addresses and also Microsoft 365 business emails.)

MXToolbox has fantastic tools to check the overall health of your emailing infrastructure. Talos Intelligence from Cisco is a great tool to check IP reputation.

Analyzing and Testing Your Email Campaigns #

Finally, it’s essential to analyze and test your email campaigns regularly. This will enable you to identify areas where you can improve your performance and optimize for better results. Here are a few key steps:

  1. A/B Testing for Email Optimization: A/B testing involves sending two different versions of your email campaign to a small group of subscribers and then tracking which version performs better. Use this technique to test various elements of your campaign, such as subject lines, CTAs, and email content.
  2. Tracking and Analyzing Email Metrics:Use your ESP’s analytics dashboard to track and analyze your email metrics regularly. Look for trends and patterns, and use this information to adjust your campaigns for better performance over time.
  3. Adjusting Your Strategy Based on Results: When you’ve completed your analysis, use the insights gathered to adjust your email marketing strategy. Make data-driven decisions to improve your email campaigns and maximize your ROI.

In conclusion #

Maximizing your email marketing ROI requires a multifaceted approach that involves clear goal setting, quality content creation, optimal deliverability, and regular analysis and testing. By following the tips outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to creating effective email campaigns that drive results and deliver a strong ROI for your business.