In part one of this article, I explored four of eight unexpected email challenges that SMEs can encounter and how to manage these, including the importance of improving data quality, adapting with agility, improving your Welcome Email, and being empathetic to your customers. In this article, I’ll talk through the remaining four challenges.
5. New subscribers, old habits
It’s important to acknowledge that not all of your customers have the same expectations and online profile. For example, for those who usually shop instore, it may have been a difficult transition to shopping online during lockdown. These customers have different needs and expectations of the online shopping environment, and marketers need to take these into account by creating new segments for these recent digital adopters, by providing them with simple tools to help them navigate the online environment. Failing to do this means these customers will likely churn as soon as normality returns and they can head back in-store.
6. Think progressively
Small businesses should always be aiming to gather more information about their customers and one of the most effective ways to do this is progressive registration. This means revisiting new subscribers post-registration to learn more about them. Progressive registration helps to achieve data completeness —where you have enough data about your customer that you can segment, target and personalise content for them in a way that’s credible and relevant. This process is invaluable, as you can’t make strategic changes to offers, messaging and tone of voice if you don’t have the data to inform you of viable alternatives.
The DMA and Validity’s 2021 report Email Data Quality: Complaint, Correct and Complete revealed that 53 per cent of businesses acquire new and important information about their customers simply via follow up requests, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your subscribers.
7. Focus on recognition
In the DMA’s 2018 Marketer Email Tracker, 72 per cent of respondents identified ‘recognising the brand’ as the most important factor in persuading someone to open an email. Following this was subject line. To ensure their brand is recognised and trusted, SMEs should implement a DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) policy, which in turn allows you to install Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI). BIMI Identification automatically displays your logo next to your emails in recipients’ inboxes, indicating to the recipient that the message is from who it says it is and is safe to open – boosting recognition and increasing trust.
8. (Image) Size matters
Consumers report a better experience when animations and visuals are included in email marketing material. This often means that this material generates better results, through increased engagement or conversions. However, this can create technical difficulties, so businesses need to experiment and ensure images aren’t too large or complex that they’ll increase email loading time significantly, causing people to lose patience and move on. Not to mention that many spam filters still have rules around appropriate image size, which means you could be risking your email not reaching your subscriber if it’s too large.
The events of 2020 have altered the email marketing landscape and raised the stakes for businesses everywhere, but small businesses have risen to the challenge, coming up with innovative ways to ensure their messages not only land in recipients’ inboxes, but encourage them to connect and take action. Given the higher standards we’re seeing, SMEs that rely on old habits risk being left behind. Review your email marketing program and ensure you’re not making unexpected, yet avoidable, mistakes.