Email subscribers spend more per capita, but only a small portion of a brand’s consumers actually agree to receive emails. In order to encourage additional signups and to keep those consumers happy, brands should make it easy for consumers to sign up, offer incentives and deliver on their promises, experts say.
Luxury brands would benefit from driving email sign-ups in part because email subscribers spend more per capita than non-recipients, according to a recent ContactLab study.
At the same time, ContactLab says only a proportion of in-store clients actually agree to receive emails. That’s because current email campaigns are perhaps too frequent or not customized enough to pique consumers’ interest, ContactLab adds.
So how can luxury brands – or brands in general – encourage consumers to sign up for their emails? And how can they maintain interest and keep those consumers registered?
According to Jeanne Jennings, a consultant focused on email marketing strategy, the ContactLab findings make sense because, per the Direct Marketing Association, email is the top direct response channel in terms of ROI, generating $20 for every $1 spent.
“People on email lists spend more because email is such a powerful channel,” she said. How can brands use email to reach and keep consumers engaged? Here are seven tips for email marketing success.
1. Create A Value Proposition
Before brands can expect to sign up consumers, they must have a clear value proposition for their email subscribers.
“You have to have it clear in your head and put it next to the sign up newsletter button,” Jennings said. “It’s something you have to communicate to people…what’s in it for the end user, how it will make their life better, whatever it is…it’s focused very specifically to them.”
In addition, Jennings said the key to a successful value proposition is in putting yourself in the audience’s shoes.
“It’s not just getting them to sign up, but wanting to open each issue,” she said.
2. Make It Clear And Easy To Sign Up
According to Simms Jenkins, CEO of email marketing services firm BrightWave, the first rule of email marketing is to make it clear and easy for consumers to sign up.
“I recommend our clients offer the ability to join your email list at almost every customer touchpoint,” Jenkins said. “We have even had clients do it on gas pumps and in the men’s room.”
In addition, Jenkins said Brightwave has had “one of the most famous luxury automakers in the world” use SMS to try to build a relationship with consumers while in their cars. He also notes luxury restaurant chains have tried to leverage “their servers, iPads and old fashioned slips to get diners to opt in to their email program during dessert and maybe a nightcap.”
Other must-haves from Jenkins include a simple user experience that doesn’t ask for too many fields of data, as well as a strong welcome email and a mobile-friendly sign-up experience.
Derek Harding, founder and CEO of digital messaging agency Innovyx, more or less agrees.
“From a tactical short-term perspective the answer is to ask, ask, ask. Use every point of interaction, every opportunity to ask people to sign up,” Harding said. “Clearly it has to avoid being obnoxious. If I declined the pop-up on the website one day, don’t show it to me again every time I visit.”
3. Provide An Incentive
Jennings said it’s important to provide consumers with an immediate incentive to hammer home the notion that they will get something. That could include a percentage off or access to a white paper, depending on the type of business and its given audience. For luxury brands, that could also include a seasonal style guide or tips.
“The closer it is related to the product, the more successful it will be,” Jennings said. In turn, it will hopefully push the consumers who remain on the fence to actually sign up.
For his part, Harding said he generally advises against incentives to encourage signups to avoid the risk of consumers signing up purely for the incentive.
“Longer term, maintaining list size is about a clear value exchange. What do your subscribers receive in exchange for being on your list?” Harding asks.
However, he also echoes Jennings somewhat, saying that the value exchange could include discount deals and exclusive offers, as well as more subtle content-based value that could be anything from lifestyle to insider news, depending on the brand and vertical.
“What works varies from brand to brand and vertical to vertical. It needs to resonate with your brand proposition and with your customers’ experience,” Harding adds.
Jenkins also agreed incentives work well, citing an Acxiom study that found 40.2 percent sign up to receive emails from companies to receive discounts.
4. Do What You Say You Will
Email does retention better than any other marketing channel and keeping email subscribers active on the list can be as simple as delivering on the promise you offered upon signup, Jenkins said.
“Delivering valuable emails to the inbox that are timely and personalized can make a big difference,” he added.
5. If You’re Targeting Luxury Consumers, Think Exclusivity
For luxury brands, the proposition is often not about price, which makes discount offers less relevant, Harding said. That being said, exclusivity is big here, which means online or email exclusives can be an alternative draw, he adds.
“The biggest challenge I think is ensuring that you have a coherent email program that builds on your brand while bringing unique value to your subscribers,” Harding said.
Jenkins agreed that luxury brands must provide exclusivity to their email subscribers, but said that doesn’t necessarily mean to all of them. In other words, these brands could also zero in on their most active or best consumers.
“My recommendation is certainly trying to build an email program that carries the brand promise and offers an element of exclusivity – don’t give in to the inbox crush of sending just a bunch of boring offers that are found on other channels,” Jenkins said. “Make it special and treat your subscribers like VIPs – they are, after all, because they gave you permission to market to them.”
6. Think Video
In addition, Jenkins said luxury email marketers should consider better integrating video into email campaigns to “help sell the story and romance many luxury brands offer.”
That’s because “creative excellence is essential as nothing will turn away your potential customers as a poorly designed email even if the From line screams luxury,” Jenkins adds.
7. Don’t Forget Social
Jennings said one of the best ways to market an email list is with social channels.
“If they’re on Pinterest, ask them to pin things they like, or ask them to share on Facebook,” Jennings said. “Anytime you have someone recommending a brand or newsletter to their friends, that means a lot more than you reaching out to them.”
Do you have any additional email marketing tips?