Implementing an email marketing strategy affords direct access to an audience who has demonstrated loyalty by signing up to receive dedicated information from a brand. According to an October 2018 eMarketer report, over 250 million Americans currently use email, creating a huge opportunity for affiliates to find their foothold in this channel.
While many affiliates have an email marketing strategy already and consider the basics – personalization, design and clear call to actions – some are unsure of how to further develop their efforts to maximize engagement with their audience and drive conversions. Creating an advanced email marketing strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. Below, we’ve outlined some simple but effective steps for affiliates looking to better their email communication efforts.
Assess your current tools
To determine what email marketing platform works best for your advanced needs, outline the goals and objectives you’d like to achieve with your email strategy and compare it to what your current email platform offers. Consider factors like design, frequency and automation capabilities. It’s also good to see what reporting and insights are available per platform, including list segmentation and tagging, bounce rate, a/b and multivariate testing, etc.
Popular email marketing platforms include MailChimp, Constant Contact and Bronto. MailChimp provides a variety of list segment, group and tagging opportunities. Constant Contact offers an in-house support team – iContact – to advise on any questions users have with the platform and help problem solve. Finally, Bronto has particularly easy-to-use work flows and triggered campaigns.
Segment your email list
Seventy-two percent of US internet users will share their email address if the user experience is more tailored to or personalized for their individual preferences, according to eMarketing. Depending on your chosen platform, you can segment your list based on a wide variety of criteria, including interests, location, gender, email opens, top clicks and more. With a segmented list, different emails can be deployed to different groups and subgroups custom to their personal preferences. For example, an email chock full of beauty products will probably generate more opens – and drive more revenue – when sent to subscribers or those who have expressed interest in this subject matter.
Create a drip campaign
An email drip campaign or marketing automation campaign is a pre-scheduled set of messages triggered by an event or action, ranging from a subscriber joining your list to a reminder to complete a call to action. Drip campaigns not only allow you to is to send hyper relevant emails to your subscribers based on their level of engagement, but also alleviates your resources from some of the manual tactics.
Again, review your goals and objectives to decide what type of drip campaign is best. Here are a few that are relevant to affiliates:
- Awareness: Keep your email audience engaged by regularly informing them what is newly published on your site and what’s to come
- Education: Inform your subscribers of recommended products or services
- Engagement: Reactivate the interest of subscribers who tend to not open your emails or have a high bounce rate by reintroducing them to your brand
ABT: Always be testing
A/B testing (also known as split testing or multivariate testing) is when you compare two different versions of something to see which performs better. Once your goals and objectives have been clearly defined and your advanced strategy has been put to practice, A/B testing is the perfect way for affiliates to determine, “Am I achieving what I set to achieve?”
Most email service providers allow for multivariate testing. Here are three things you can A/B test for:
– Content (Email subject lines, length of email, types of images used, etc.)
– Call to actions (Buttons versus text prompts, size and placement within the email)
– Frequency (time of day / day of week)
It’s important to only A/B test one or two different elements at a time, thus ensuring your split testing is effective. Uncertain of where to begin? Consider which of the above variables has the most impact on your conversion rate.
What is working for you now, or what won the last A/B test, will not always be guaranteed to win in the future. Continue to test, optimize and educate yourself on new tools and technology to ensure your program continues to perform.