Increase Open Rates by 14% with Targeted Email Marketing

Vinay Koshy
Vinay Koshy

Last updated on

July 21, 2022

According to Econsultancy's email marketing census, 55% of respondents achieved more than 10% of their sales from email. However, as much as 89% of marketers do not use targeted email marketing.

What are they missing out on?

A Jupiter Research study found that marketers who segment their lists and employ quality targeting can improve conversion by 355% and increase revenues by 781%.

So why don’t more businesses employ targeted email marketing?

Because of the challenge in harnessing new technology and big data to target customer segments and even customers at an individual level.

However, with the opportunities to increase ROI and be more relevant to customers the targeted email marketing is a must. Take the New York Times for example -

the New York Times, as it has shaken up its digital strategy, has addressed how its email newsletters are composed and distributed, and as a result as seen an open rate of 70%.

It makes sense to use targeted email marketing, given, we're bombarded by so much content. It, therefore, helps to have a simple yet targeted messaging system that your audience can count on.

Consider this:

  • Curated news and information done for you and sent via email creates value in the eyes of your audience.
  • Emails sent at regular frequency and in a familiar format creates recognition and gains your audience’s trust.

Why implement targeted email marketing and how

Targeted email marketing works better for a number of reasons including the ones listed below. As we explore each reason we will also look at some essential steps to better your email marketing.

Your customers are not homogenous

According to an Edelmann Group survey, the vast majority of brands are perceived as failing to understand the basic motivations and concerns of their customers. A Responsys survey also showed that 34% of those surveyed had broken up with brands due to poor, disruptive or irrelevant marketing messages.

Consumer-Survey-Infographic- targeted email marketing

So how can this issue be addressed?

Watchfinder reexamined their Google Analytics to understand better how to engage their customers. They found that only less than 1% of customers completed a purchase on their first visit. By creating customer personas, they were able to accurately identify customers more likely to buy and target ads specifically to that market segment. The result an increase in average order value by 13% and an increase in ROI by 1300% in 6 months.

How do you go about identifying who your customers are and building profiles around them? Consider the following steps:

  • Check your site analytics
  • Involve your team in building profiles of your buyer personas
  • Conduct social media research to uncover demographic information on your ideal buyers
  • Conduct interviews wherein you can ask your buyers questions to uncover more about themselves, their needs and other preferences

Your leads are at different points in the sales cycle

Unfortunately, not all your customers are interested in all your products or services. Depending on how complex your product is – it could take time and involve a process before a business or organization decides to make a purchase.

Targeted emails allow you to usher prospective customers through your sales cycle without a sky-high price tag or lengthy hands-on time.

Assuming you have segmented your list correctly, getting customers to understand why they need your product and buy from you should be easy. Other benefits of targeted email marketing include:

  • Improved click-through rates
  • better conversions
  • better delivery rates.

Take these examples for instance.

In 2014 YPR magazine used targeted images and text based on their customers gender and language. The results were a 73% unique open rate and a 42% unique click-through rate.

As part of their marketing strategy, HubSpot used targeted emails to hit a 16.4% email click-through rate. That may not sound like much but is 583% better than the industry average of 2.4%.

So how can you segment your email marketing lists to address people at different points in the sales cycle?

There are no fixed rules for segmenting your list. Anything that ties back to an email address could form the basis for segmenting your list. Also, bear in mind that different businesses know different things about their customers.

To get started here are a few ideas to help identify segments based on where your customers may be at in your sales cycle.

  • Demographic data
  • Behavioral data
  • Customer sign up date
  • Customer email client data

Your email reputation will improve

Email intelligence company Return Path estimated that 21% of emails worldwide were not reaching the inbox.

Why does this happen?

Many email senders hit spam filters with their emails because they send irrelevant content too often and to unengaged recipients.

Using list segmentation, you can send personalized email that's less likely to annoy customers.

OpenMoves segmented a client's email list into two groups: people who had and had not clicked on a campaign. By sending an email only to those that had clicked on the campaign, they improved their deliverability from 90% to 95% instantly, helping them avoid spam blacklists.

How can you segment your list to improve deliverability rates?

Consider segmenting according to the following actions:

  • New subscribers who do not know enough about you or your business and need to trust and be educated.
  • Those who do not respond and could do with a reactivation campaign.
  • Those who are loyal subscribers and engaged with your content.

Your conversion rates improve

Thanks to Steve Krug’s popular book you may have heard this before - Don't make your customer think. Consider ways in which you can make it a no-brainer next step to hit the "buy" button. Personalized content and a strong call-to-action are a couple of fundamental ways to do that for the right customer. So targeted email marketing helps you put the right content in front of the right customers. This results in removing as much resistance as possible.

Isotoner, for example, increased their email marketing revenue by 7,000%. How? By segmenting their list. The basis for segmenting was based on the products customers looked at when they visited the site.

There are very few instances like a site wide sale, a new acquisition announcement, etc. when you need to send out a mass email to all of your customers. It is also important to remember that is never too late to start segmenting your list. You can aim to learn as much about your subscribers and sort them into segments at any time.

What you need to do

So given the effectiveness of using targeted email marketing it only makes sense to use such campaigns. However, if you are starting out it can be a daunting task that can devolve into a tangled mess of campaigns if you do not have a clear direction and objectives.

So to start with you’ll need to determine what your objectives are for each targeted email marketing segment and how success will be measured. You’ll also need to figure out what your strategy will accomplish.

To help you get started, consider the following to plan out a flow to create targeted email marketing campaigns.

  1. Define your data points: You can’t begin with targeted email marketing if you do not have data with which to segment your lists. So decide what customer data you need to help you sell more efficiently. How that data needs to be organized, and how you're going to collect the data that you don't have?
  2. Create customer personas: These create the basis for targeted email marketing as they define which segments need which message. To build customer personas answer these questions.
  3. Choose your segments: Once you have the data required and know who you need to be communicating with you can get creative with groups based on the unique knowledge that you have about your customers.
  4. Create your content: Once you decide how to segment your email lists you need to write and design content targeted towards each group with a voice that resonates with them.
  5. Use email marketing tools: To send emails to target multiple segments, you’ll want to use an email marketing tool that can handle list segmentation and make multiple sends easy.
  6. Measure, tweak, and repeat: Use A/B testing to acquire data on how well your targeted email marketing campaigns work. How many people open your emails, click on links, what content engages them, etc. You can then use that knowledge to improve future campaigns. Tip – make small iterative changes to A/B test and apply successful results to other segments.

What other factors do you use to employ targeted email marketing?

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