Email continues to be the workhorse of eCommerce as new email marketing techniques bring higher conversion rates and greater customer retention. Email marketing is also one of the best ways to distribute and promote both your content and your product.

As consumers become more and more dependent on their mobile devices, smartphone email conversion rates continue to grow. Reading email is the #1 activity on smartphones and it is time to take advantage of this opportunity to reach your audience with engaging content that increases customer retention, drives more customers to your website, delivers more phone calls to your business, and sends more traffic to your location.

New Email Marketing Techniques for Higher Conversion Rates and Greater Customer Retention

email marketing customer retention

Warm Up Your List with Social Media Pre-Targeting

Pre-targeting involves warming up your list with retargeted social media ads before you send a major campaign. You’ll segment your email list to target subscribers who meet the criteria for this specific campaign. Then you export those email addresses into a spreadsheet or text file that you import into an ad platform that allows retargeting such as Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook Custom Audiences

Twitter Tailored Audiences (note: if your most of your audience use AdBlock this might not be worth the effort)

The ads you create for these social media campaigns are to raise your brand awareness. Think along the lines of “Countdown to…” or “Coming to Your Inbox”. Give a little tease of what’s to come if you want, but the goal is to get your business top-of- mind with your customers. Make sure any clicks lead to a good landing page, but remember the point here is to build awareness. After a week or so of ads you will have created a high level of exposure that will prep your subscribers for the major email campaign that is coming to their inbox.

Mobile Optimization is Key

Two-thirds of emails are now read on mobile devices according to the US Consumer Device Preference Report from Movable Ink. With bigger screens you have a little more room you can use responsive designs to create emails that use smartphone friendly fonts and keep your call-to-actions front and center. Mobile friendly emails are a must as your users expect to quick loading emails that get to the good stuff fast. Keep emails short and concise and optimize graphics and videos so they don’t slow down the load time.

These are some tools you can use to test how your email will appear on smaller smartphone screens:

Mail Chimp Inbox Inspector – Automatically selects your readers 10 most used email clients – With $15 per month plan

*2/10/16 Mail Chimp sent out their own email campaign introducing Inbox Preview with 10 free tokens to try this feature

Preview My Email – Get real screenshots of your email on applications and devices – Starting at $49 per month

Email on Acid – Preview email in 45 email clients and mobile devices – Starting at $45 per month

Litmus – Instant previews for email testing among other features – Starting at $69 per month

mobile email turnoffsPersonalization Beyond Dear <First Name>

We all know that you didn’t personally write each individual email sent to your 4,000+ email list so you start with “Dear Zach”. You didn’t trick anyone into thinking you know them personally. Personalization is important for delivering emails people want to open. But putting their name in a salutation isn’t what marketers mean by personalization. The downside to this one tactic is you are using up valuable preview space with this salutation and separating blank line on smaller screens. What would be really cool is if you fit their name APPROPRIATELY inside the email. That would be unique and still personal. Plus, their name would pop out in a sea of text, making them read deeper into the email.

Your customers are overloaded with messages from everywhere, all day, every day. They are only going to focus on the things that mean the most to them, so clearly some personalization is important. Beyond providing true value, you will want to send emails that are engaging, timely and above all relevant. Email automation allows you to craft and send personalized messages to your customers based on their behavior.

Trigger based campaigns let you send completely customized targeted messages to your list subscribers based on details like how long ago they opted in, cart abandonment or if they have ever clicked through to your website. These behavior-triggered emails mean the right person, gets the right message, at the right time.

Provide Valuable & Relevant Content

When an email from your business shows up in an inbox people you want the reader’s reaction to be “Yeah. What do they have for me today?” If people are not opening your emails, clicking on your links, or even worse opting out then they are probably having less happy thoughts about what you are sending.

A mistake a lot of business owners make when sending emails is deciding what they want to sell or promote and then composing the email or creating a campaign. Your business won’t survive without sales, so it’s a logical starting point. But if you want high-converting and successful email campaigns you need to start with one idea: What does the customer want? If you do not have a very detailed answer to this question you are wasting time building an email list.

When you know what your audience wants, you can give it to them while finding a way to position your offer or call-to-action as a way to give them even more of what they want. Your content should stay focused on providing value to the customer first, and highlight the benefits of your working with your business second (if at all). One clear call-to-action is all you need to let them know what they should do next. Link to quality content if you have a lot to say or sell, and use the body of the email to give the reader something that makes their life better.

As online marketing changes, so will you how you reach your customers with new email marketing techniques.  If you are doing the same thing you were doing five years ago modernize your email marketing for you and for your customer. They will open your emails more, click your links and you’ll see more visits your website.

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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.