better email marketing conversion

[Case Study] 5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Hot off the heels of the recent CompletleyEmail conference in London, I’ve taken to analysing some of the emails I get in my inbox a little closer to see if I can identify some of the key improvements that were suggested by some of the speakers on stage last week.

I was astounded at the results. Even some of the biggest established brands are still missing the fundamental principals of good email marketing and leaving a huge chunk of potential revenue on the table.

I’ve picked one email out of my inbox to study, and it’s from the well known established brand Barbour. One of the main reasons that I picked this email is because I’m actually a totally devoted Barbour purchaser, I love the brand immensely and pay a premium for the quality of their goods. However when I received an email from them last week, you’d think I’d never spend any money in their shops – ever

To set the scene, I’m a 40+ male with a female partner, no kids, disposable income. I enjoy outdoor walks in the country, hence the passion for the Barbour brand. I’ve spent about £400 in Barbour stores in the last 12 months, all on clothes for myself. I’m ready to buy some new shirts right now for the summer.

I received this email from Barbour last week (the last time they contacted me as about 4 months ago, as a fan of the brand I actually want more emails from them) and this communication didn’t excite me or make me buy.

I’ve marked up 5 areas of the email that would have made the email more relevant, more personal and made me more likely to buy either in a store or immediately online. Below the email I’ve added the commentary on each section, why it didn’t work for me and what could be improved.

Check the list below  against some of your own emails you’re currently sending to customers and see if you’re making similar assumptions and mistakes. Try some of the suggestions on your own email campaigns and see if they help create more conversions and revenue for you.

5 Ways To Improve Your Email Marketing Campaign

Right off the bat I don’t receive enough emails from Barbour, and every time I do receive an email I have to reconnect my trust with the brand because of their infrequency. I’m an engaged supporter of the brand but I feel forgotten. Keep in touch so your brand is not “new” to the customers inbox every time you mail out (plus mail your customer with just some interesting relevant content every now and again, I only ever receive sales email from Barbour and that feels a bit “forward”).

Now lets look at some specifics in the email that could be improved to get better engagement.

Better email marketing

With too many options on the header of the page, it clearly shows Barbour are not personalizing their emails or segmenting their list. This means Barbour is trying to talk to everyone rather than me directly as a customer. That makes Barbour emails feel spammy and impersonal. Also the Stores and contact us links would be enough.

I’m not in the purchase funnel yet so the delivery and returns link is an irrelevant link whilst I’m reading the content. Too many distractions, keep your communications on focus with a very clear specific call to action! In the same header area, I don’t need a link to boys and girls clothes. I have no kids to buy for so it’s clear the company has no idea of my persona.

Increase Conversion Through Email Marketing

The content in the header doesn’t speak to me because it’s message is not aimed at my age group. If they’d asked me my date of birth sometime in the previous purchase chain or when I signed up to the email they would have know what age I am, and that I probably don’t frequent festivals.

Also I actually received this email on my birthday too; PG Tips sent me 10 cuppa club points and a birthday e-card. Monkey (the PG Tips mascot) loves me, Barbour forgot my birthday (opportunity to delight missed)

how to get people to open your emails

The first items that are offered to me in the sales section of the email are the women’s apparel. Whilst it might be true that women spend more than men on clothes, I am not a woman, I have no intention of ever being a woman, and even if I did suggest buying clothes for my partner she’d let me know that actually she’d prefer to choose her own. If Barbour had already known I was a male, putting the relevant products that I have buying intent for at the top of the product list might have got me more interested and could even have generated a valuable click through. Perhaps even a purchase, but I didn’t event get past the first hurdle.

The goal with Barbour emails is to drive sales of their products through their email campaigns sure, however putting  products first in your email and your content second still feels too pushy (especially as I hear from the company so infrequently. Build the relationship then ask for the sale or email more often to your raving fans!).How To Get People To Click On My Emails

Assuming that I was a festival goer and I was excited by the header that promised a festival guide, where was the actual festival guide? Nowhere to be seen. Barbour lured me in on the pretext of some juicy content only offer a paragraph of more headline text buried below the salesy stuff. Offer some value up front, get me engaged. The headlinse also lack consistency, having turned from a “Barbour Festival Guide” in the header of the email to “Festival Season Guide 2014” in the content intro.

Follow through on your promise. Regarding the call to action, make the reader curios, and give them a value proposition call to action that tells them why they should click the link. Instead of View Now perhaps the call to action could be Download Your Free Festival Guide Now. A link or a button is a closed door to an email reader, tell them what’s on the other side in the button text to reduce the friction.

Improve Your Email Marketing Response Rates

At last there’s a preferences link that takes me to their website and lets me tell Barbour my date of birth, who I am, what my preferences are and all the things they should already know before they sent me this email. The very thing that would help them communicate to me better is buried right at the bottom of an email that’s already lost my interest. The chances I’ll ever get to tell Barbour who I am are close to zero. I’m an existing buyer of the brand, and there were many touchpoints to collect personal data way before I signed up for the list, including at the till or with an in bag offer or incentive.

I carry a Barbour store locator card in my wallet, it’s got no opt in offer to encourage me to sign up at all to their mailing list. I signed up on their website with a simple opt in box with just an email. Ask your customers for the data as early as possible, especially if you are in a market that’s heavily segmented (as fashion is), or at least build up additional data over time from multiple  customer touchpoints.

So there you have it. Even if you’re a small business, you can compete with larger competitors marketing budgets simply by addressing some or all of these 5 simple suggestions which in turn could help you increase your open, click throughs and ultimately your sales and ROI from your email campaigns in the future.

photo credit: 28 Dreams via photopin cc

Simon Dunant
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About The Author

Simon Dunant

Simon Dunant is the founder digital marketing consultancy New Rise Digital and Podcast Power Marketing . He also hosts the Podcast Power Marketing podcast on iTunes and is the author of the book "Essential Digital Marketing For Small Business." He has over 15 years experience of helping businesses, creative artists and bloggers make sense of the digital marketing landscape. Simon has hosted 2 previous digital marketing podcasts and has spoken at numerous conferences and events including Midem (Cannes), Popkomm (Berlin), ADE Music Conference (Amsterdam) and Britespace (London).

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