E-mail marketing hasn’t established its positions yet as many views it as suspicious. At conferences everyone is talking about chain letters, segmentation, never-ending A/B content tests, mixes of various channels and etc., but no one is explaining how to integrate these tools into the routine work.

In fact, companies hire a single e-mail marketer who writes weekly newsletters and once in a while tries to work on one of the segments. Do not do it this way.

Statistics as well is on our side

Let’s try and figure out the following. Why do we need e-mail marketing? What tasks may e-mail marketing cover? And why may the lack of e-marketing turn into a significant lapse?

Reason 1: Email Marketing Generates More Repeat Sales

The pool of core tasks covered by e-mail marketing refers to cross-sales or up-sales. The lead has already come to your website, acquired something from you and got a spot in your database. So, now it’s time to secure the customer’s commitment and his/her further loyalty. Topic-related letters, as well as personalized chain letters, perfectly suit the purpose.

Before launching these chain letters, it is necessary to carry out an initial client database survey, check the existing segments and their size, as well as identify the target and stress points for each specific group of users. Knowing the exact total revenue from the targeted user database or the specific percentage of customers’ returns is picture-perfect as it helps to decomposition this large task into smaller well-defined activities. Thus, it is possible to define products that you want to offer your current clients and the time when they may need it (here you can apply prototyping and design thinking), then, niche down segments of customers that may use your product or service as well as develop a creative strategy for each segment. One and the same product may be offered to different audiences in different ways. Thus, with this information in mind, the marketer may develop CJMs to each pair of “microsegment — product”.

Segmentation is the one to steal the show here. In a picture-perfect world, you would have ended up with user micro and macro groups, each having unique features of its own. Each group requires building a unique chain of communication as offering one and the same product to teenagers and elder people are different.

Think and state who your customer is. What are they fond of? What are their stress points and how may your product ease them? How may you reach them? What’s style of communication, formal or informal, is worth choosing?

Answering these questions will help you to easily pin down the key message of your communication and duly set up the e-mail channel.

Let’s have a look at the banks. Today banks have at their disposal as much information available as possible. The process of mailing newsletters to clients listed in bank databases is the following. Portfolio management department forwards the database for scoring. Then it sends e-mails offering pre-approved credits to everyone who is liable to get it.

You may single out a plethora of micro-segments based on:

  • transactional activity;
  • client profile;
  • bank products penetration;
  • specific life situations.

There are many other segmenting criteria as well.

Here is the simplest example — offer a credit line or a credit card to a person who is short of money and is only a few days away from getting the wages. Why aren’t banks doing so? Furthermore, banks upon client’s transactions may guess that the baby is on the way and offer a card with cash back on children’s goods or some specific credit line.

Reason 2. E-mail Marketing Contributes to Primary Sales

Good triggering communication based on Abandoned Cart may save a third of your marketing budget.

If you managed to get contact information through a pop-up or by offering some goodies in return for the newsletter subscription, then you just need to remind about yourself and create a chain of engaging content. It is a good option for the B2B segment, where you first generate leads and then warm them up with a chain of messages, occasionally leading to the sales dialogue that may close the deal. In the context of these letters, particularly, a true home run is cases with business value that has already helped clients from the same industry. For example, “Our platform has boosted oil companies’ revenue by 15 billion rubles”. But don’t forget to segment the leads at the entrance of the funnel. Nuts, but true, FOMO with a decreasing discount on the offer is still working in b2b.

Launching an engaging content chain, you first need to answer why customers should opt for your product. After developing a USP and setting the tone of voice, you are to define the range of topics relevant to your audience. Then, get down to designing a content plan and hypothesis testing. And don’t forget that each segment demands own plans and hypotheses. Determine the Open Rate and Conversion Rate benchmarks for your database and product, and do not stop the testing until you reach the perfect bundle of product-content-microsegment. Then start the automatization of the hypothesis that popped.

If you want to increase the conversion rate of submitting e-mails, offer something in return, such as a useful guide, a discount or a bonus — anything. It will raise the overall conversion rate as well as help gleaning relevant contact information of the users who are genuinely interested in the product, which is much more important and valuable.

Reason 3. Letters May Animate Your Asleep Customers and Bring Them Back to the Active User Part of the database

Using a bundle of channels, such as email + segmented retargeting + browser push at any stage of the funnel may help you catch up with the customer and offer to buy again. An abandoned PV or cart trigger is a true ace. With excellent rendering and exact timing customer will come back and complete the order.

Setting up trigger chains involves analyzing the funnel and determining at which stage the majority of the leads go away. Keeping this information in mind, we just need to add more touching points compensating the drop in various channels and right CTA, and Bob’s is your uncle. The client is yours.

Link the retention triggers to the consumption cycle of goods or services. Selling shampoo, you know that it will end in about a month. Offering cleaning services, you assume that it will be repeated in a week or two. Thus, stop and think when your client may potentially remember about your product or service, and at that exact moment fire him an e-mail.

Reason 4. E-mail Marketing Operates Independently, Saving you Time and Bringing Money

Automated letter chains (when you set up all the letters and triggering conditions beforehand) and right database segmentation save you time and bring in much profit. You may make a one-off investment to develop a strategy providing that from now on the channel will work almost independently. But don’t forget tracking the analytics, of course.

E-mail marketing is all about tests. Complete automatization of work is impossible without various hypotheses testing that will ultimately help you determining the best of the best. Make tests, analyze results, scale. To put it into a nutshell, do whatever you want, but believe that it is better investing in it and not losing potential profit.

Eventually, you will end up with a large number of automated communications that will regularly generate extra revenue. Meanwhile, you will be engaged in growth hacking, namely looking for potential levers to search for new efficient hypotheses.

For example, for one of our e-commerce clients, we’ve designed a complete system of trigger chains for abandoned sessions, featuring and abandoned search query, browsing category or product as well as an abandoned cart. Besides, we were continuously testing their content and CTA. Thanks to this approach, chances to bring the customer back for completing the order significantly increase, even when the client has not reached the cart yet. The related letter statistics leave no doubt that everyone needs triggers: conversions from regular e-mails to the website are about 12% and from trigger letters up to 40%.

Don’t forget treating your customers with love and kind. Thus, a welcome chain featuring a description of your service, tips on interaction and gratitude for choosing you perfectly suits the purpose. Just in one week time after launching a single trigger letter from a welcome chain brought in about 200 000 rubles. Cool?

We recommend you to test hypotheses via MailChimp. As far as automatization and multichannel switching is concerned, use Emarsys as currently it is the most advanced system available on the market in terms of automation and user-friendliness.

Reason 5. E-mail Channel Costs Are Relatively Low With a Greater Payback

According to researches, compared to other channels e-mail marketing is less expensive as it is all about payback: 1 ruble invested here may bring 50 rubles back and only 10 rubles in another channel.

ROI is used to calculate the payback. There are different ways to do this, but an averaged formula is the following:

profit — investment / investment * 100

Our experience suggests that e-mail marketing may bring in an average of 2–3 million rubles per month at a base of 100 000 right in the second month. But final figures will certainly differ depending on the type of the business, size of the base, current audience and other factors.

Let’s turn to cold figures. For example, with a 150 000 rubles base regular letters alone without trigger chains may bring in more than 4 million rubles a month. Got it? Now add up automatic chains, and hurry up setting up your channel.

The most important rule is not to be afraid of testing hypotheses, even if at first they seem strange and ineffective. Only trying and experimenting will build a solid awareness of the kind of interaction your audience is waiting for.