Five Essential Tips for Boosting Email Marketing Engagement with Retail Customers
Today, email marketing is easily one of the strongest channels available to retail marketers, with ROI measuring at $44 for every dollar invested in 2016 (up from $38 the year before). Of course, emails are only effective if they reach your customer’s inboxes.
First, Consider Deliverability
Deliverability is a central concern for email marketers. Batch emailing, or batch-and-blast, is the practice of indiscriminately sending out the same email to all your leads. Without identifying and targeting buyer personas and interests, recipients will receive irrelevant emails and will likely disengage. As a result, open rates will suffer and unsubscribes will increase.
Even more concerning, your domain’s IP address can be flagged as spammy and consequently blocked, meaning your brand’s emails will never make it past security filters. A number of factors can get your IP blocked. Here is a handful of them to watch out for:
Recipients manually identifying your emails as spam
Recipients rarely opening your emails
Sending to invalid email addresses
Sending batch emails to bulk lists
Having considered deliverability, here are our five essential tips for boosting email engagement with retail customers:
#1: Only Send to Customers Who are Expecting Your Emails
Does paying for a list without gathering the data yourself sound too good to be true? It is, and it can destroy your deliverability rate. Sending emails to customers who are expecting emails from you is the absolute most important tip for ensuring high email deliverability. Those expecting correspondence are less likely to mark your messages as spam and more likely to open your emails. It may seem tempting to suddenly have a large pool of customers to email, but it’s worth it to take the time to build a solid, engaged list.
ProTip: Consider using front-end or back-end email validation to prevent bad emails from polluting your database, affecting your deliverability rates and sender score.
#2: Provide Clear Opt-Ins
When you collect an email address, make it clear to new subscribers that they are opting-in. For retailers, this means stating simply the purpose of your request for a customer’s email address at check-out. If checking out online, a checkbox with instructions to “check this box to receive our latest product announcements and discount offers” will suffice. You can pre-check it, but it’s important to have the notice there.
Empower your staff to collect email addresses with as little pressure as possible. If someone doesn’t want to subscribe, it’s important to accept it and move on. In the end, it’s better to have a highly engaged audience of 300,000 people than a disengaged audience of 3 million. An effective opt-in strategy to increase the number of valid email addresses you collect is to implement digital receipts. 75% of customers today opt for email receipts during the check-out process.
#3: Send Targeted Emails
Beyond having a cleaner list of subscribers who have willingly opted-in, you’ll need to provide relevant information to those recipients. The goal is for subscribers to open and engage with your content. This will indicate to mail servers that you’re not spamming them.
If the email receipts you’re sending are smart receipts, you may be able to leverage your customer’s transaction data to better customize the messages you send them, including product recommendations and promotions. To avoid disengagement, also try targeting your emails to specific segments within your list as much as possible.
#4: Send Transactional Emails Over Bulk Mailings
According to MarTech, transactional emails, which are triggered by a user’s action, have an average open rate of 47.1%, 30% higher than non-transactional emails. This higher open rate is connected to the fact that transactional emails contain information a subscriber has asked for, such as purchase details and shipping confirmations. Leveraging transactional emails to convey key messages to your customers will increase engagements and improve deliverability over the long run.
#5: Keep A Close Eye On Your Sender Reputation
Finally, you’ll also want to keep a close eye on your Sender Score. Your Sender Score is a bit like a credit rating for your email domain IP. Mail servers check your IP’s Sender Score frequently to see if they should deliver your email.
Sender Score is a free service provided by Return Path, Domain scores range from 0 to 100. As a rule of thumb, shoot for 90 and higher. Your Sender Score is calculated on a rolling 30-day average, and you can see how you rank against other domains. Routinely checking on your Sender Score will help you know if your efforts are working and alert you when you need to beef up your efforts. For a more in-depth understanding of the Sender Score, this Hubspot article is extremely helpful.
Breaking It All Down
Our five best practices may seem like a lot to keep up with. If so, we suggest asking yourself the following questions before sending that next email: “Did these contacts opt into receiving information from our company?” and “Would my audience consider this message valuable?” If your answer is yes to both questions, you’re good to go.
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For more great email marketing insights, please check out the flexEngage blog.