Email marketing; an age-old digital marketing channel that a lot of people think is a dying approach. Online stores that send 4 emails a day with irrelevant products or services. Emails you see and instantly delete, mark as read, or unsubscribe. Does this sound familiar?
We know the feeling.
This is why we make it our mission to avoid this email marketing style and bring something a little different to our customers. We’re going to be discussing how we drive leads using best-practice email marketing techniques alongside intelligent email automation, and it’s simple, as in, really simple!
- 1 How we Use Email Marketing Automation to Drive Leads
- 1.1 Email marketing isn’t dead. No, really.
- 1.2 What email marketing software should I use?
- 1.3 Using stories to engage your email list
- 1.4 Using Email Automation to stay relevant and engaging
- 1.5 Using tags to segment your audience
- 1.6 Other Email Marketing Campaign Automation
- 1.7 Using lead magnets and automation to convert traffic
- 1.8 Implementing lead magnets and setting up automation
- 1.9 Summary
- 1.10 Latest from the Blog
- 1.11 Get In Touch
Email marketing isn’t dead. No, really.
With the rise of social media marketing, it’s a common misconception that email marketing as a channel has taken a back seat. But email marketing as a channel isn’t dead, far from it. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
According to Litmus‘ state of email report: “Email use around the world continues to grow at a steady pace. Statista projects global email users will increase from 3.9 billion in 2019 to 4.48 billion in 2024″
That’s an increase of 30.3%.
Industry experts believe it will continue on this growth trajectory. That’s a lot of new email users and underlines that email, as a channel, should still be a major focus for business’ marketing teams.
There’s some interesting research by DMA that shows the benefits of email marketing. Email campaigns still provide the best return on investment, compared to other channels such as paid social media (such as Facebook Ads) and PPC. The average expected ROI (returns on investment) is $42 for every $1 you spend on email marketing campaigns.
Better ROI should be music to the ears of business and function leaders who are strapped for cash after a year of restrictions and an economic crash. The data says email is a digital marketing channel you should be focusing your resources on.
What email marketing software should I use?
There are loads of really fantastic email marketing tools out there. A lot of them do very similar things, so sometimes it’s difficult to cut through the fluff.
When we were deciding on a tool we wanted to use internally, we had specific requirements for what we wanted out of the system when it came to functionality. Intelligent automation and segmentation, multi-list, third-party integrations, engagement scoring and much more.
What email marketing tools are in the running?
We decided to narrow the comparison down to 4 different tools. Mailchimp, GetResponse, Active Campaign and Convert Kit. There are other tools such as Constant Contact and MooSend which are also great tools but just didn’t make the list. Here’s a shortened version of the comparison table:
|Mailchimp||Active Campaign||Convert Kit||Get Response|
|Advanced Email Automation||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Integration w/ Zapier||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Advanced Email Sequences||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Advanced Forms & Pop-ups||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Live chat||N||Y (higher package)||N||Y|
|Advanced Tagging and Segmentation||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Webinars & Hosted Events||N||N||N||Y|
|Push Notifications Marketing||N||N||N||Y (higher package)|
|Paid Social Integration||Y||N||N||Y|
The winner is…
Picking a winner was a decision based on our specific needs, so you may not require all the above features. We found that GetResponse gave us the most bang for our buck and has that edge when it comes down to marketing automation.
GetResponse matched every other email marketing software, as you can see above, and offered more features, such as webinars and a live chat tool. When we compared prices, it also came out cheaper per month.
Please note: When choosing an email marketing tool, you must ensure that the email marketing platform you use will provide all the features you need for your email marketing and wider digital marketing strategy.
Please also note: The pricing massively varies depending on how many contacts you have on your list. If you have 100K+ subscribers on your list, GetResponse may not be the most cost-effective option, so something to bear in mind.
If you have any questions on this (tools can get confusing), feel free to reach out, I will be more than happy to guide you in the right direction.
Honourable email tool mentions
An honourable mention to other email tools such as Mailshake, LemList and WoodPecker, which also email automation tools, but are focused heavily on sales outreach and touchpoints, versus larger-scale email marketing strategy tools that allow you to do much more than outreach.
These tools are well worth introducing to your sales team if they’re still stuck sending outreach natively through Gmail or Outlook. We will post another article around sales outreach platforms, but check out the links above to learn more.
Using stories to engage your email list
When travel companies think about email marketing, the first thought is to send emails packaged full of the cheapest deals or to highlight their new destination. There’s a time and place for this, and it’s not on your initial email outreach.
Why use stories in email marketing campaigns?
Using stories is an age-old technique that subconsciously engages users and makes them want to interact with you. A study by Paul Zak showed that when people hear stories with a human narrative, their brain releases Oxytocin (a feel-good chemical) and Cortisol (a chemical that makes you alert) which ensured that users became more invested in the story.
For example, say you are an African Adventure Tour Company. Your first email to your list could be a collection of personal experiences from tours that your company offers. I’ve listed a few examples below:
- Seeing Lions for the first time in the wild
- Meeting locals and being invited for dinner in Kenya
- The time your hot air ballooned in Botswana
- How your trip to Tanzania changed your view of the world
As you’re speaking about these stories, you can tie in links to content on your website that supports your stories, for example, a link to a “Guide to Hot Air Ballooning in Africa” or a “Things to see in Tanzania” page on your website.
By telling sending a targeted email that includes honest, human stories, you’re more likely to entice clicks through to your website and/or social media.
Be human, be personal
Remember, make your email tone personal alongside the look and feel. You can start this with your subject line, ensuring you’re using natural and personal phrases that entice your list and make them want to read on. If your email looks like it’s from a corporate machine, there’s a high likelihood that your users won’t open it. Your email subject line and preview text is the primary factor for users when deciding to open your email or not.
In our experience, people are more likely to engage with your emails if they look like they’ve been received exclusively versus an all-singing, all-dancing HTML email template (there’s a time and place for this). When getting personal and storytelling, a simple text-based email can be a better option. We can also see that unsubscribe rates are much lower as you build trustful relationships with your list.
If you’re still deciding which style to use, split your list and A/B (split test) test your email campaigns and stick with what your list is engaging/converting the best with. The data will help your marketing teams decide what to start and keep sending.
Using Email Automation to stay relevant and engaging
Your first email should have include links to relevant reference points (blog posts, landing pages) from your stories. The initial email will help you to collate data that will help you engage your list more effectively in the future.
We use automation to stay relevant and serve our list users with content and information that interests them, versus batching everyone into one email marketing funnel.
Here’s how email automation works
We send our first email with three different stories with links to relevant content to support the story:
- Seeing Lions for the first time in the wild
- Meeting locals and being invited for dinner in Kenya
- The time your hot air ballooned in Botswana
The follow-up email will be dependant on the user’s interactions within the first email. If the user clicks on the hot air balloon link, for example, then we should send a follow up with more hot air balloon focused content or information. If the user clicks a link related to our Lion story, then we should send more animal/safari focused content, and so on.
We can then end the sequence with an offer/discount or even a “speak to our hot air balloon tour expert” call to action.
We should also tag this user as interested in hot-air balloons tours, which will help you serve more relevant content to your list as you start to build engaged sub-segments that will help you increase conversion and reduce opt-outs.
Segmenting your audience will help your email engagement skyrocket. I’ve included a screenshot of the above example below. The screenshot shows an example of automation working, including the tagging discussed.
Most platforms should allow you to perform this kind of automation. Tagging will differ across the variety of email platforms, but the concept is the same.
The statistics on segmentation
According to Mailchimp, segmented email marketing campaigns performed markedly better than non-segmented, generic email campaigns, by quite a distance. Opens were 14.31% higher than non-segmented email marketing campaigns, and clicks were 100.95% higher than their non-segmented counterparts. Understandably, alongside this, bounce rates, abuse reports, and unsubscribe rates were all much lower, which is brilliant news for your list health and email deliverability.
Segment at every possible stage when sending targeted emails and serve relevant content to your users – automation in your email platform should allow you to do this. They’ll appreciate it, and you’ll see better conversion rates amongst your improved email metrics.
Other Email Marketing Campaign Automation
There are other areas where email automation can help boost engagement and drive leads, such as opt-in processes, abandoned carts, segmentation and nurture leads. It’s worth investigating what your email platform can do when it comes to automation.
You can spend time building automation that will ultimately benefit your business in the long term by fostering relevant relationships by using intelligent automation to push users through your marketing funnel.
At the end of the day, email marketing is all about adding value, being human and being relevant. Doing this will allow you to initiate initial conversations with consumers. Remember to keep ab testing your emails to learn what’s working, and what’s not!
Next, I will show you how to build an opt-in process that will be driven by your email platform.
Using lead magnets and automation to convert traffic
Lead magnets are simply forms located on your website that entice users into trading their information, usually Name, Email, Number (could also have other fields or even a question), in exchange for some form of value.
Whether you are offering a discount on a holiday or an interactive map with the best restaurants in a specific destination where you offer your service, lead magnets are great as you can distribute these across specific web pages to improve conversions and add relevancy. Nobody like irrelevant pop-ups, but a pop-up that offers something useful or valuable is a bonus, especially if it’s free and easy to access.
What’s the best lead magnet content type?
According to a study by Getresponse, short-form content (easy-to-read and digestible information) works better across B2C than longer-form content (E-Books and Whitepapers). Interestingly, out of those surveyed, here are the top four lead magnet types that were most successful in B2C:
- Video (28.1%)
- Written (25.4%)
- Visual (12.3%)
- Monetary (12.3%)
I’ve provided some potential ideas you could use for your lead magnets based on the above winners:
- An interview with a local or business owner asking their travel tips and secrets
- Webinar with a specialist (safari guide for example)
- Offer of a one-on-one video session with a destination expert
- A guide to “place name”
- A list of the best places to visit in said destination (with information and discounts)
- Saving money whilst travelling guide
Visual and Interactive
- Hidden secrets map in “enter place name”
- Quiz to find out what type of trip would suit them the best
- Visual calendar of all the events in “enter place name”
- Discounts (% off)
- Free things (free safari safe suitcases)
- Free flight seat upgrades
Implementing lead magnets and setting up automation
Setting up a lead magnet isn’t that complicated (honest), but the process will depend on your email platform and website. If you have a WordPress site, then there’s a chance that this will be super simple.
For further guidance, I’ve linked to tutorials for each of the major email platforms below:
If your email platform doesn’t offer lead magnets or doesn’t do them well, you can use a third-party tool that focuses specifically on lead magnets. You tend to get better functionality and a ton more features, such as inbuilt A/B testing, which means you end up with better results.
Two tools we know to work brilliantly are Getsitecontrol and Sumo. These tools link up with the majority of email platforms and CMS platforms so it’s easy to implement and pass lead information into your lists. From here, you can build out automation. The lead magnet below is managed through Getsitecontrol.
Setting up the automation
Once your lead magnet is set up and is successfully passing information to your email platform, we can start to set up automation to welcome your new users, with relevant, personalised automation, again, based on their interactions. We’re following a very similar theory to the outreach.
Here’s an example, based on one of the suggestions above!
- Opt-in for a “Hidden secrets in Rome Map”
- Once the user opts in, they are added to the Rome Map List.
- From here, they receive a welcome email with access to the Rome Map.
- Wait 2 days then send an email with a voting system asking for feedback (links that click through to a thankyou page)
- 2 days later then send a follow-up email with some more Rome related content.
- If they clicked then send an email with the best kept secret hotels in Rome, with an offer and tag as “Rome_engaged”.
- If they didn’t click, then send a follow up with links to other Italy related content.
- If they clicked then send follow up with Italy best keep secrets holiday packages > tag as “Italy_engaged”.
- If no clicks or opens then tag as “downloaded_map” and “unengaged_rome_emails”.
The above sounds complicated, but check out the automation set-up below.
It’s pretty simple to implement and once you’ve set this up, apart from tweaking and improving the emails based on the performance data, but then you can pretty much sit back and let it do the work for you!
Email marketing can be simple! With creative storytelling and intelligent automation, you can create relevant, human and valuable experiences for your users. Doing this builds trust with consumers, who are more likely to keep you in mind when your users decide to make a purchasing decision.
Email and lead magnets are such powerful tools. We recommend dedicating some time to exploring the opportunities with your current email list and website. You could massively improve your conversion rates.
If you need help setting up and delivering a top-tier email marketing strategy, please drop us a line, we will be more than happy to point you in the right direction, and if email marketing is not right for your business, then we’ll let you know.
Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve taken some value from this post.
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