Email Marketing is a well-known, tried and proven method of communicating with customers, prospects, and the market, in general. In fact, it is the cornerstone of many of the highly successful marketing automation platforms like Hubspot, Marketo, Exact Target, etc. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI. According to a McKinsey & Co study, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. The chart below highlights the impact and ROI of email marketing versus other channels.
Despite this efficacy, few companies in the Agriculture industry have a robust strategy around email marketing, so we want to provide you with a few tips for easy wins.
First, we need to break down Email Marketing into three categories.
- CRM Email Marketing – which includes structured and regular communications to your customers or subscribers.
- In-bound / Lead Email Marketing – this includes people who have completed a web form, downloaded a white paper, or otherwise have provided their email address to inquire or engage.
- Acquisition Email Marketing – covers using email marketing to introduce your brand or a specific offer to people that have not yet or recently engaged with your company.
CRM Email Marketing
A seemingly obvious and easy method of improving your CRM Email Marketing is to simply get more email addresses for your existing customers. The preferred method would be to acquire them at point of sale or post-sale during customer engagement; . However, many companies’ current processes are not setup to maximize email address capture. You are in luck, however, as you can append email addresses to your current customers after the fact. FMiD provides email append services, and we are often able to append between 20-40% of your records with a deliverable email address. There are no restrictions on your use of the emails that are appended, so you can incorporate them into your CRM marketing. Ask us about best practices for “on ramping” these appended emails.
Unless you email these contacts regularly (i.e. once a month) and suppress undeliverables, it is imperative that you perform an email validation prior to sending. This validation email serves to maximize deliverability and inboxing, and identifying records where you no longer have a valid email. Marketing Sherpa’s research shows that B2B data decays at a rate of 2.1% per month. This is an annualized rate of 22.5%, so. S, if you have not confirmed the email is valid by deploying to it or validating it within the last month, you put your entire campaign at risk.
That is the interesting thing about the email channel. Whereas, in other channels, a bad address, phone number, or errant ad delivery will certainly be ineffective, but the impact is isolated, one bad record does not impact the others in the campaign. With email marketing, the ISPs (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc). evaluate you, the sender, through a number of ways; your IP Address and sending domain, your email message, and most importantly, the response of their recipient users. If more than 10% of your emails are undeliverable, your campaign is doomed. If your file of email addresses contains any SPAM traps or honey pots, your campaign is doomed. If only .1%, or more, of the recipients click the spam/junk button, your campaign may be doomed. Ask us about email validation.
In-Bound / Lead Email Marketing
Through your broader marketing efforts including Search, Display, Print, Radio and other mediums you are able to generate a sales lead. This is often captured as a completed web form or “Contact Us” click. In these situations you typically get an email address, name and maybe some text or indication of what they are inquiring about. After a reverse email append you will get a complete view of the prospect to assist in your follow-up with that lead. For example, John Doe (JDoe@gmail.com) inquires with your company, Farm Market iD could match his email address to identify the address, # of acres, crop mix, crop rotation, Gross Farm Income and much more which can be leveraged to increase conversion rates.
Acquisition Email Marketing Acquisition Email Marketing is very challenging and requires an adept hand. The first rule is, do not use your regular CRM sending domain to perform Acquisition Email Marketing. Though it may help you reach the inbox of the prospects, it will impede your ability to reach your customers with your next email. In fact, most (nearly all) Marketing Automation or email software prohibit sending unsolicited emails through their platforms because of the issues around deliverability and inboxing. The Second rule and key to acquisition marketing is the relationship/ratio of positive engagement to negative engagement. Positive engagement would be “Opens” and even more impactful, “Clicks”. Negative engagement would include “Un-Opens” and most damaging, complaints (click Spam or Junk button). In most cases, you should work with a 3rd party to handle customer acquisition through email. Here are a few tips to make your email acquisition marketing effective:
- Be relevant, specific, and enticing
- Insure your creative is email optimized
- Perform A/B testing
- Learn and improve
Let’s consider the first point about targeting a specific audience. For example, if your target audience is 500+ Acre Wheat Growers in the Red River Valley, create a message specifically targeting this audience (e.g. a new drought resistant wheat seed). Next, personalize it (e.g. Dear John) with an enticing call-to-action such as “click here to see our yield improvement studies in the Red River Valley .”
Secondly, make sure your email message/creative is optimized for email delivery. Given that nearly 60% of emails are read on a mobile device, make sure that your emails and landing pages are mobile responsive and tested to insure they will render effectively across more than 40 different devices, operating systems, and platforms. Software such as Litmus, ReturnPath, Email on Acid, etc., perform this rendering service. Also, avoid spam-attracting mistakes with certain keywords, too much pixelation, etc.
Thirdly, perform A/B or Split Testing before and during the deployment to test audiences, subject lines, and email creative to see which performs the best. The results may surprise you.
The fourth point recognizes that with Email Acquisition Marketing, the best teacher is the art of observing, diagnosing, and improving. ISPs are continuously changing their email filter rules, audience preference changes, and the many topical considerations such as time of day/week/year, recent events, and represents a dynamic channel that requires a dynamic approach. Analyze the results/reporting to see how the campaign performed across many different variables, such as time of day, receiving ISP, audience, clicks, etc. By using this data and feedback, you should be able to fine-tune your efforts and increase your ROI. Speaking of which, please download this Email ROI Calculator compliments of Farm Market iD.