7 Tips for Email Marketing Success

How can you get more email sub­scribers and keep those con­sumers hap­py?

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

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?

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.


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