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Far from being an obsolete way to sell goods and services, email marketing is stronger than ever. In fact, many consumers love to get emails from their favorite brands. This is true, even if they are more interested in that brand professionally than as something they want to purchase. However, not every email marketing campaign is created equal. Rather, there are many types of email marketing which companies can use depending on their needs.
The type of products, customer base, and whether or not a brand sells mostly to businesses play a role in determining which kinds of email to send. For instance, newsletters are highly effective in the B2B for-profit space and for nonprofits in general. On the other hand, ecommerce brands and those which offer direct sales from their sites can benefit from abandon cart emails, while those that don’t sell merchandise won’t benefit. Over time, the best way to optimize ROI is knowing which types of email marketing are most appropriate for your company. Continual testing and optimization are the best ways of learning.
1: Welcome Emails
One of the most effective types of email marketing is the welcome email. One of the reasons for this is their average open rate of 82%. This is 86% higher than what other email campaigns achieve, and result in a 33% higher engagement rate with future emails. In a nutshell, we can see that gratitude is important. People don’t like forking over their email addresses and then being sent a bunch of emails without a “thank you.”
Keep in mind, welcome emails can be more than just “thanks for signing up.” In many cases, welcome emails will include a discount code for company products. If that isn’t appropriate for your company, a welcome email might include a different kind of signup incentive, such as a free report. Another reason for the popularity of welcome emails is that people sign up because they’re interested in your brand. Capitalizing on this interest is a smart business move.
2: Abandoned Cart Emails
In Ecommerce, it’s easy to think that getting customers to put items into their cart is enough to get the sale. However, this isn’t the case. In fact, consumers shopping online abandon their carts 69% of the time, meaning that they leave without finalizing the purchase. There are many reasons for doing this, including the desire to shop around, deciding that shipping is too expensive, or payment issues. Either way, unless you intervene this is probably the end of your closing a particular sale.
Luckily, there’s a relatively easy fix: abandoned cart emails. If you already have someone’s email from other types of email marketing, then give some sort of incentive to check out. One way is by offering a discount. Some companies I’ve seen will give a generous discount on one item. Others choose a smaller discount, such as 10%, for the entire order. As much as you may hate giving a discount, the technique works: on average, nearly half of consumers click through abandoned cart emails. And half of those ultimately finish their purchase. Sometimes all they need is a little push.
3: New Content Announcement Email
One of the more specific types of email marketing is content distribution. For some brands, sending out an email blast when there’s a new blog post online can be highly effective. Especially if your corporate blog is a happening place, consumers love to hear about the latest news. More than that, this email marketing technique helps reach out to stakeholders other than customers.
4: Newsletter Emails
Similar to content announcements, newsletter emails keep people informed of what’s happening at your company. This is one of the types of email marketing that’s most popular with B2B brands and nonprofit organizations. Increasingly, it’s also used by companies that hope to establish their social responsibility.
With that in mind, what should you share in newsletter emails? For most companies, this is a combination of news and developments within their industry. Blog content can be included too, as well as anything you’ve curated that your audience might find helpful. Thought leadership material or the latest discussions being had within your industry are great examples. No matter what you put in your newsletters, though, the object is always to build some brand affinity.
5: Event Emails
Event emails are also among the more successful types of email marketing. After all, many people love to participate in special events. Is your sales team going to the next industry expo? Then let your subscribers know about it! You never know when a potential or existing customer is just DYING to see the latest product release in person. Sure, these people can call sales, but special events let them talk with current users, as well.
Likewise, virtual events should be advertised by email. Even after social distancing ends, virtual events will be an easy way for people to experience your products and services without leaving home. For this reason, virtual events bring in people who could not attend a physical event due to the resources required. Sending out emails gives more people the opportunity to benefit from your efforts.
6: Transactional Emails
If you sell anything directly to the end user through your website, sending transactional emails is among the more effective types of email marketing. Sending order confirmations after a consumer checks out lets them know that you have the order and are processing it. This also serves as both the invoice and receipt. Many people will print these out and add them to their credit card reconciliation file, or place them in a special email box for the same purpose.
Another transactional email type is the shipping confirmation. In this case, you’ll typically provide a link where they can track the package. This allows your customer to get a better idea about when the package will arrive. Finally, you can use these emails as another opportunity to make a sale. For instance, including a coupon for the next order can be effective. You could also make suggestions on new purchases to complement the one they just made.
7: Promotional Emails
Promotional emails are also one of the types of email marketing. With promotional emails, you can notify customers about the latest deal on your website. For instance, you might let people know about your plans for the next Black Friday sale. That could be anything from a flat percent off the entire website, all the way to your loss leader of choice. Either way, email blasts help boost demand for your sale event.
Another type of promotional email is the product launch or update announcement. In this case, you can not only showcase the product but also give some use cases. Alternatively, you can use promotional emails to enhance the results of other efforts. If you’re doing this at the same time as YouTube influencer campaign, for example, you could send out an email about the latest influencer tutorial.
Finally, you can use promotional emails to talk about subscriber-only discounts. If you do this right, then the ROI can be significant. In fact, the DMA did a report which indicated that more than 75% of email-related revenue comes from triggered campaigns. This means that generic promotions are far less effective than ones based on consumer interest.
8: Re-Engagement Emails
Let’s face it: plenty of customers only buy from you once. Maybe they only needed the products you sell once, they might have moved on to one of your competitors. If there’s a potential for recurring purchases, re-engagement emails often are effective. And, one of the best emails for this purpose is one that gives a special offer. That could be a discount, a gift with purchase, or something similar that might prompt them to check out your website. If they then abandon cart, then that email type can also be sent.
Keep in mind, you might need to send more than one email. In this case, we call it a re-engagement campaign. Among the types of email marketing, this one can be the most critical. After all, studies have shown that the typical brand experiences an email list churn of around 25-30% per year. While some churn is unavoidable (think kid’s clothing brand where the family’s kids get too big), it’s always smart to keep it to a minimum.
9: Holiday Emails
Being timely with your emails can make you a lot of money. In fact, the National Retail Federation has found that sales around the holidays make up 20% of the total. However, this isn’t to say that winter holidays and the prospect of summer barbecues are the only types of email marketing that are time specific. Instead, your company should consider some other special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries. That’s because these emails often generate more revenue than their traditional holiday counterparts.
10: Tutorials and Tips Emails
Finally, some types of email marketing are simply helpful. Depending on the product or service you provide, it might be advantageous to send customers emails with tips, tricks, and tutorials. This is especially useful for products that have a creative aspect to their use, such as cosmetics, grooming, or craft products. Typically, this kind of email is sent in a series after the welcome email. They’re also useful whenever you launch a new product. People tend to respond well when they’re given more product information in this way.
Overall, there are several types of email marketing campaigns that can benefit your brand. However, not all email types are appropriate for your products and services. For instance, newsletters aren’t usually an appropriate choice for ecommerce, while abandon cart emails are a must. When planning your email marketing, it’s always important to measure results. Over time, changes in your strategy will help achieve the best ROI possible.
Hero photo by Adam Solomon on Unsplash
Being in marketing, I receive a lot of email and like to analyse it from a readability and conversion perspective. I follow a particular author and noticed that he went from producing long, graphically-driven emails to the complete opposite end of the spectrum – very short (less than 100 words) and text-only. It made his emails very clear and the one or two calls to action very hard to miss. I found my own engagement with his content increasing despite the shortening of the text.
I adapted the method to our own marketing and noticed an immediate improvement. Do you have any thoughts on the matter?
By the way, this is us: corporatemomentum com au
Hey Neil, thanks for the comment! It’s all about communication, storytelling, and relationship-building. There is no one-size fits all approach, but I do believe the trend over the last few years is to keep the messaging simple, especially in consideration that so much is done over mobile. So the results are not surprising, but also not guaranteed for everyone ;-)