For us, email marketing is at our absolute core, and has been pretty much since we started out, (ignoring the simple SMS only days!). Despite social media, and other forms of messaging, email remains one of the most powerful and widely understood forms of communication. The image of email has changed. It’s very much still a thing, and a very useful thing at that, so keep on reading to find out why you should be harnessing the power of email marketing.
Your email database is your data, and yours only.
Building databases is all well and good on places like Instagram and Facebook, but the data isn’t actually yours. You’re at the whim of a large company that can change the rules of that relationship and how you interact with that person. Or even choose to switch it off. The beauty of your email marketing is that the data is yours and all yours – no rules or risks imposed by third parties.
Why is it so effective?
You can be reactive. It’s a super-quick way to get your message out there. Oh, what’s that? There’s widespread joy because some sort of team won some sort of sporting event? Quick, better offer your first drink on the house to celebrate! Is the weather set to be a scorcher tomorrow? Better remind people about your outdoor terrace and cracking cocktail menu.
It’s reliable. You have people who may not check social media, or even be on it, but the majority of people have an email account, and often check it several times a day. Big shout out to the development of smartphones. It’s an email, it sits there waiting to be read, to be actively opened. Some other content has a moment in time to be noticed, and then the chance is gone.
Clever automation. There’s nothing finer than being able to sit back and relax knowing that your customers are being welcomed into your database, being treated for their birthday, or even being enticed back to engage with you, all without you having to lift a finger. Welcome emails, birthday email, date-triggered emails and feedback emails are all seriously good ways to keep your database engaged, reward them for their loyalty, and for just acknowledging they’re a part of your brand.
You can nurture the relationship with your database. Remember, these people have chosen to be a part of your mailing list. You’ve earned their trust by signing up so it’s now time to really get to know each other and strengthen their engagement. Get to know them a little more – collect information on their likes and dislikes then you can send out content most relevant to them. It’s always a good idea to include personalisation in your broadcasts where appropriate too, it’s just nice, and much more likely to catch the reader’s attention.
Email fosters a deeper relationship. Digital stuff is great, but it comes with its challenges. Things are fast and snappy – it’s all too easy to just keep scrolling. Email remains as one of the rare opportunities to give people slightly longer, slower, deeper content, but still with the benefits of digital.
People want it. People sign up to receive emails. And they’re free to stop it any time. Speaking to an audience that has chosen to be there is a powerful thing that many forms of marketing just can’t emulate.
This is not to say that other forms of digital marketing are bad – not at all. Email is powerful, and when used wisely in conjunction with other great channels, it all adds up to something even better.
Experiment, learn and adapt
The beauty of email is that it gives you so much flexibility to try out things, whether it’s the tone of subject lines, the layout of your email and the type of content you’re putting out there. Give something new a whirl and it may fly, and it may flop. No biggie, you’ve learnt something there and you can try something else next time. You’ll quickly realise what your database is lapping up and well, not so much. Do a bit of reading, see what your competitors are doing, don’t be afraid of giving things a try and most importantly, be relentless.
Building a clean, engaged database
You can send the most beautiful, witty and exciting emails in the world but if you’re not sending that to a good, clean list, you may well have just wasted your time and effort. It’s important that you understand how to capture new, relevant data.
Although it’s tempting to play a numbers game, it’s important to clean your database of contacts who have shown no sign of life for a while. The easiest way to do this is to set up a retention email. This will ensure the people on your database actually want to be there and are engaging with you. More info on that here.
It’s also a good idea to segment your data so you’re sending out more tailored content. For example, with Airship’s Milestones feature, you can send to the most engaged people in your database for a last-minute booking encouragement email because you know these are the people most likely to actually visit. Similarly, you can target by WiFi interaction, so those who have visited on a Sunday daytime – perfect for showcasing your Sunday food menu.
It’s all about cleaning, segmenting, rinse and repeat.
So, what’s next for email marketing?
Loads of good stuff really. It’s booming and always developing. We know that emails are getting smarter. You’ll be able to make a booking, leave feedback and all sorts right from the email itself.
We predict that automated journeys will become even slicker, the content will become more authentic, and that the importance of brands sticking to what they promised on the signup journey will increase even more so. For us, we’re most excited about our clients utilising our Proof of Presence (PoP) metrics. They’re a series of metrics that tell you who, where and how often your database physically visit your locations. It means you can see how your databases are performing from location to location, and therefore, can adapt, test and tailor your marketing approach accordingly. You can also use it to measure the real-world impact of your marketing. Fancy learning more about PoP? Take a look at our blog post here.