77% of B2C customers prefer email to other methods of marketing. They show it by purchasing 138% more goods than people engaged through other marketing methods. They’re 3X more likely to share your content on social media when they get it in a B2C email marketing campaign.
This leads to a new customer you can nurture through email.
But achieving this kind of result requires an effective B2C email marketing strategy. B2C campaigns notoriously receive 57% fewer clicks than B2B. You can waste significant time and money on email campaigns with lackluster results. You have to run a very tight ship to see the right return on your investment.
Fortunately, experts have gathered the data. They’ve run the studies. They can tell us what works in B2C email marketing.
We’ll give you actionable steps you can take now to apply these strategies and get results.
Here’s how it’s done.
Marketing analytics firm, Marketing Sherpa shares some interesting data. 76% of businesses send emails out according to a frequency determined by the business. And in most cases, it’s the same across the board.
Yet only 24% of consumers say they prefer that a business pre-determine how often the brand communicates. 49% of people say they strongly prefer to signup for email lists that give them frequency options.
This is just one big example of disconnect we have in B2C email marketing between what your customers want and what you deliver.
A decade ago, it just wasn’t feasible to take consumer email preferences like frequency into account. The technology just wasn’t accessible to the average small business. But today, you have the ability to apply consumer preferences like these.
This small gesture that puts your customer first will not only increase the number of people who subscribe to your list. It completely changes the brand-lead dynamic. It makes the subscriber feel in control and more willing to become a paying customer.
Too many options can cause choice paralysis. But a handful of well-thought out options that you put in the hand of the customers earn trust and sales.
Additionally, you can offer preferences like a choice to receive or not to receive:
- Special offers
- Blog updates
And if you have an extensive content library, you could even allow them to choose specific types of content or notifications.
Check out this options list from Nextdoor.com, a neighborhood-based social media site.
But it’s just not feasible to exhaustively list options for a subscriber. This is especially true during the actual signup process where too many choices may reduce signup rate.
That’s why to be successful in B2C email marketing you need to put data in the driver’s seat.
Put Data in the Driver’s Seat
“Data. Data. Data. You can’t make bricks without clay,” Arthur Conan Doyle, the 19th Century author, notably said. He knew the importance of data and his most well-known creation, Sherlock Holmes, used it to solve the crime.
Today, data is no less important. But we use data in a very different way. We use it to delight customers, to anticipate their needs, to introduce them to products they’ll love.
We use it to offer them targeted tips they need to live their lives, not someone else’s.
The sheer amount of data collection and analysis possible today is astounding. You may find it overwhelming. But when you have the right tools and you focus your efforts, data will drive sales, upsells and referrals.
You may think you know your customers. You speak with them personally in your brick and mortar store. They may say one thing, but often the data reveals something else.
Without data, you don’t know what’s working so you can do it better to increase profits. You can waste a lot of time and money doing things that are actually hurting sales rather than helping them
Do you know what your open rate is? How many people are clicking the video or engaging with content? Which headlines are performing best? Which customer personas respond best to which topics? Where is your greatest ROI?
What is your email ROI? Did you know that 27% of businesses don’t know?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s time to get serious about data to improve your B2C email marketing campaigns.
How to Use Data to Improve B2C Email Marketing
Data can be used in several ways to improve your email marketing ROI.
- Find out more about your customers to personalize the experience.
- Send messages that align with the buying cycle and/or buyer’s journey.
- Understand what’s most effective for connecting with various target audiences.
- Find out if email marketing is worth the time and money you put into it.
- Optimize and streamline your email marketing to cut costs and increase profits.
If your email campaigns aren’t data-driven, it’s time to ask why not. In fact, your customers want you to.
Personalize to Connect
Salesforce surveyed 7,000 people and businesses. They found that 58% of consumers expect businesses of all sizes to offer a personalized digital experience. In fact, 52% say they are willing to give you more data if you use it to create a personal experience. Check out the other things they are saying.
We know some people are wary about sharing personal data. But it appears the scales are tipping as consumers find out just what businesses can do with the right data.
To remind yourself what zero personalization feels like, the next time you search in a search engine, go to settings. Temporarily turn off your search history and location. They now don’t know anything about you. It completely changes the search experience and we promise you won’t like it.
Customers increasingly don’t like the generic customer experience either. They expect more.
How the Personalization Landscape Is Changing
If you’re consistently providing quality content through B2C email marketing, we commend you. But the bar’s been raised significantly over the past 5-10 years. Research shows that 69% of businesses are now providing consistent quality.
They have their systems down. They’re on a schedule. They’re focusing on quality over quantity.
As you consider how well your strategies are working, look at the competition. If the vast majority of businesses have the consistent, quality thing down, you have to be able to stand above that to connect with customers. You need to differentiate yourself from a similar business that asked for the person’s email.
Personalization is the way to do it.
Making It Personal Gets Results
Personalization goes beyond just using someone’s name in a communication. It’s about delivering content that is highly relevant to that person.
Savvy marketers use segmentation. Through it, they create emails that resonate with customers and get results.
Marketing research firm VentureBeat reports several prominent case studies that help make the case.
Microsoft reduced its bounce rate by 35%. Bounce rate is when people leave a page without clicking on anything. They also increased their add to cart rate by 10%. They did this by implementing a more personalized customer experience.
O’Neill Group increased conversions by 43%.
These aren’t outliers. And it’s not significantly different for small businesses.
How to Personalize Email
A personalized email is highly relevant to the recipient. That means it has the right message and it comes at the right time. We’ll look more at getting it there at the right time when we talk about automation below. For now, let’s focus on how to personalize. Here are some ways to do it.
- Ask questions. Send surveys or tap customer service or sales to ask specific questions that allow you to place customers into categories.
- Build 5-10 customer personas that represent distinct target audiences. As you learn about customers, place them into the persona that best represents them.
- Use analytical tools to make sense of data that you couldn’t handle manually.
- Create and re-purpose content for your different segments to help keep costs low.
You may choose to personalize based upon:
- Age group. A message that most resonates with a young millennial may not resonate with an older millennial, gen X or a boomer.
- Lifestyle. What’s the day in the life of this customer look like?
- Leverage location. Something as simple as knowing someone’s general location can help you connect.
- Job role
- Social media behaviors
- Buying behaviors
- Recently viewed items
One of the most important ways to personalize is by sending the right message at the right time through automation.
66% of consumers state that they have made a purchase as a direct result of receiving an automated email. 80% of marketers report increased lead generation.
77% say it increases conversions.
But are there studies to back that up?
Adobe’s marketing research branch found that on average businesses who automate emails have a 28% increase in conversion rate.
What contributes to this significant conversion rate increase? Companies who automate the email process are 133% more likely to send email that is highly relevant to the customers.
As we already discussed, relevance is a top revenue driver.
Send emails that people actually want through automation and they stay on your subscriber list. Continue to nurture customers. Increase customer lifetime value dramatically.
Let’s look at 2 important types of email automation that make B2C email marketing effective.
Did your customer just sign up for something? An instant welcome message can mean so much. Include a special discount they weren’t expecting in order to make that sale now rather than later.
Did a person abandon a cart? If you collected their email, send them a reminder. One of the top reasons people abandon carts at checkout is because shipping was higher than expected. If it’s worth it to you, offer to waive the shipping if they complete the purchase or give a discount.
Did they stop watching a product video? Send a friendly reminder.
These event-triggered emails can be just the thing a customer needs to take that next step or further engage. But timing is everything.
Sending it manually the next day just won’t cut it.
Use automation to gather data and segment your new subscribers automatically. Instantly begin nurturing email leads with highly relevant content.
Are you a specialty ingredient company? How much more relevant is it to adapt the recipe for:
And be honest. How hard is it to make a small change in that recipe to become instantly more relevant to each segment?
You don’t have to spend time trying to get the right content to the right group with automation. You can make better use of your time personalizing that content.
Prioritize Email Marketing
What happens when businesses make B2C email marketing a priority? They see an 89% increase in revenues generated through their B2C email marketing efforts. Those who don’t tend to see little return on it.
The average business spends $92 attracting new customers to every $1 converting them. Don’t get us wrong. Attracting customers can be expensive. But one of the reasons it’s so expensive is because many businesses don’t prioritize and invest in an effective conversion process.
This is where email shines brightest. Email’s top strength is its ability to convert leads into paying customers. Invest in the conversion process. Turn more leads into loyal customers through email.
How to Set Email Marketing Priorities
Let’s look at how to start setting priorities to win at B2C email marketing.
- Set a Budget. The email itself may be free. But analytics, content creation and automation aren’t.
- Establish how you will segment emails to make them more relevant.
- Begin collecting data, if you haven’t already. Invest in data collection tools if needed.
- Determine the buyer events you need to automate for triggered emails.
- Create compelling event-triggered emails and set a schedule to revisit them regularly.
- Create a publishing schedule that outlines what kind of content needs to be created and by when
- Use analytical data to determine when the best times are to send emails. This may vary by segment.
- Use analytical data to continually learn from your recipients and improve the relevance of your message to them.
Give yourself a head start if you’re new to B2C email marketing. It can seem overwhelming at first, which can lead to inconsistency and missed deadlines. Create some content in advance of launching to make sure you’re never late in sending your emails.
Make It Mobile First
Today over half of emails are opened on a mobile device. If the email isn’t mobile-friendly, users don’t wait until they’re on their laptop to try again. Studies show they delete it. They forget about it. Or worse, they unsubscribe.
You can’t afford not to prioritize the mobile experience.
How to Make Email Mobile-Friendly
- Increase font size. 14 is too small for a mobile device. 16 and 18 may be too small if the font is hard to read.
- Use a single column. If people have to scroll right and pinch a section, it’s not mobile friendly.
- Make note of how colors contrast. Light gray text on a dark gray background might be visually appealing, but it’s hard to read.
- Don’t put links too close together. They are too difficult to tap. It’s annoying. That’s not how you want people to feel about your emails.
- Make CTA’s big and bold and limit yourself to one direct CTA button per email. Use descriptive language. 47% of mobile users say that they want to almost instantly see the CTA when they open an email. You can win big here as 70% of small businesses don’t have a clear call to action in each email.
- Use video wisely. It may slow down some users. Keep an eye on your numbers and reduce videos size duration or usage to prevent a poor experience.
Create a Social-Email Integrated Strategy
Do you want to know how to get more out of your marketing budget? Integrate your efforts to maximize results. Case in point, the social-email integration.
Treat your email campaigns like an extension or support for social media and vice versa. Utilize each to their strengths while strengthening both as a whole. Engage leads and customers across these very important channels. Intensify the power of your marketing messages.
How to Create a Social-Email Integrated Strategy
Let’s look at some specific ways you can integrate these two:
- Include social icons in your emails Make sure subscribers know where they can connect with you. Emails with social icons have a 158% higher click-through rate. This suggests that people open and view the email because they want to find something to share.
- Get more social media reviews and other reviews by automating review emails.
- Promote your latest newsletter on social media. Get people excited to sign up. If you have your segmentation system down, promote it. Emails are customized to maximize usefulness and experience. More people will want to sign up.
- Encourage subscribers to share email content on various platforms.
- Leverage retargeting ads in social media that only show up when someone came to social media through an email landing page. This makes the ad highly relevant. It continues to customer experience across platforms. They continue to see your brand even though they’re now on social media. Retargeting ads can increase clicks by 400%. They gently redirect a person back to engaging with you if they got distracted.
- Use your welcome email to strengthen the connection by encouraging them to connect on social media.
- Promote a contest on social media that requires an email signup or promote your newsletter.
- Add dynamic content to emails like social media feeds to provide social proof that you’re a great brand to engage with.
- Add social media icons to your “unsubscribe page.” Does it sound counter-intuitive?It isn’t. Some people just prefer the more anonymous social media experience when it comes to brands. If you can steer someone who’s trying to cut ties back to being cool lead instead of no lead at all, do it.
Optimize Frequency & Timing
The frequency you send emails can not only be directly correlated to open rate. You can connect it to conversions and revenue increases. Track these correlations to optimize your B2C email marketing results.
You may think that more is better. The more emails you send, the more revenues you generate. That’s what you want, right? To an extent. But growing and retaining repeat customers will have a greater impact on revenues than a short-term boost in sales.
Watch your unsubscribe and spam rates carefully. You want to see these rates going down, not up as more people find your email very useful.
There’s a flipside. Sending too few emails may not give you the return you need on your B2C email marketing. Follow the data to find that sweet spot that subscribers love. And remember, it may be different for different segments.
When you send emails it can also significantly impact open rates, conversions and revenues. Run tests to find the best times for your different segments.
Align Landing Pages for Success
Create a seamless experience between email and your website with campaign aligned landing pages. It’s great for customers. And it integrates email with SEO strategies.
If the email offers a discount, the landing page should take the person straight into redeeming it. If the selection of an item is required, the landing page should clearly display the options.
Note how visually seamless the experience is. This kind of seamlessness increases conversions.
Cut costs while maximizing your returns through further integration. Create a landing page that equally aligns with an AdWords ad. Align it with social media advertising and your B2C email marketing campaign. Use it across channels to create an even more seamless customer experience.
Invest in Your Headline
An email subject line is arguably the most important element of a B2C email marketing. And yet, it’s often an afterthought. 66% of people open an email based on the subject line alone. They don’t base it on who you are. They don’t base it on what the preview looks like.
These are important. But they’re secondary.
To meet your B2C email marketing goals, learn to craft effective subject lines.
How to Create a Clickable Headline
First, actually take some time to think about it. Test various subject lines on sub-segments and then use the winner when you send out to the whole group. Here are some ways to create a meaningful headline that makes people stop and click:
- FOMO — fear of missing out
- Get people curious
- Make people feel good about themselves
- Reference their recent visit to your website or other event
Know your audience. FOMO and sarcasm, for example, may not go over well with some groups. Others will love them.