By Jessica Moretti
We have all heard the sensational proclamations that email is dead, but that is simply not the case. Regardless of what new technology makes its debut, email is alive and kicking, and has consistently ranked as one of the most popular behaviors among online adults for the last decade. According to the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of online adults use email today. Over time, online adults have increased their daily email use from 49 percent in 2002 to more than 60 percent today.
The rise of email use, and a major component in its stickiness, is the exponential increase in the number of people with mobile devices. A survey conducted by The Nielson Company concluded that email occupied 38 percent of users’ time on their mobile device. That is almost 300 percent more time than any other single category of activity. All this is great news for retailers, as marketing a business through email has serious potential to produce massive returns.
How to get started
The first step in email marketing is building a valuable opt-in list. While it may seem like a quick and easy fix to purchase an email list, in the end you could do some serious damage to your sender reputation. Instead, proactively ask your customers to opt-in to receive your emails. Like most email service providers, SnapRetail makes it easy to gather email addresses through your website and Facebook, with an email collection app. Another way to build your list is to keep a sign-up sheet by the cash register. Train employees to prompt customers to fill out their information during the checkout process. People will be more willing to give you their information if they know they are getting something in return, so offer them a percentage off their next purchase when they join your email list.
Separate lists by age, gender, birth-month and buying habits. This type of targeted marketing allows you to send a message that is relevant to its audience, giving you an opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell products and services.
Once you have started your list, which you should never stop working to grow, it is important to think about list segmentation. The more detailed these lists, the more informed your messaging can be. Separate lists by age, gender, birth-month and buying habits. This type of targeted marketing allows you to send a message that is relevant to its audience, giving you an opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell products and services. For example, if you tracked customers who have purchased a particular brand and added them to a segmented list, you would be able to send them targeted messages announcing new product arrivals, or sales on that particular brand.
Segmenting lists goes hand-in-hand with providing valuable content. In addition to sending promotional emails for upcoming sales and events, remember to position your brand as an authority in your industry. If you are an apparel retailer, consider sending an email that highlights upcoming fashion trends. Pet stores can share tips and tricks for training pets, or information on upcoming adoption drives. Making this type of personal connection with your customers will set you apart from your big-box competitors.
Test and measure results
Above all else, when it comes to email marketing, always test and measure. Pay attention to your reporting and take action based on the results. Sometimes, it may be necessary to scrub your list of email addresses that are not interacting with you. While it may be painful to remove those email addresses from your list, in the long run you will get better results, and have a more engaged audience.