Demographics: Certain demographics like age, gender, job title, and other information that informs your buyer personas can be a good way to segment customers and customize messages. For example, a financial company may want to send retirement-themed emails to customers seeking information on offering their employees benefits and emails about college loans to university-based customers.
That isn’t to say that sales-y promotions couldn’t ever create results—as marketing “gurus” have proved. The results just aren’t as good as they could be. Take the biggest gurus’ results—the ones they boast about—and calculate their conversion rates. Often their marketing is comparatively ineffective. They just have massive volume, so the sales numbers are impressive.

When people talk about email marketing, lots of them forget to mention transactional emails. These are the automated emails you get in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This could be anything from filling out a form, to purchasing a product, to updating you on the progress of your order. Often, these are plain text emails that marketers set and forget.

When you share your opinions, avoid dipping into politics, religion, sexuality, and other topics where many people have almost fundamentalist views. If, however, you know that most of your audience shares your opinion on a topic that’s important to them, you can instantly seem more trustworthy by pointing it out because people trust people who are similar to them.
For example, you may analyse the journeys on your website and identify that people who visit a page is more likely to purchase than those who do not visit that page. With behavioural data pointing towards the potential for this page, it would be worth testing whether offering a bespoke content message or discount offer to users when they arrive at that page drives conversions. It could be that your customers have left items in their baskets and not completed their purchase, like this example here from Nordstrom:
You can also voice opinions that repel people you don’t want to work with. For example, I’ve shared that I don’t like working with people who don’t take responsibility for their own life. If someone’s more likely to blame outside factors for their misfortunes than look for things they could do to change the situation, I won’t have a good time working with them.
Are you willing to alienate people who disagree with your opinion? Sure, not everyone who disagrees with you will unsubscribe. But if you can’t take the risk of alienating a large portion of them, it’s better to avoid the topic. The only exception are friendly disagreements. For example, it can be a good idea to show your support for a specific sport team, even if you know many in your audience like another team. As long as they don’t take the sport very seriously, it can be just a fun thing to talk about. I could, for example, tell that I’m more of a dog person (we have two dogs) than a cat person. I have nothing against cats, but I like walking with dogs. I doubt almost any cat person will hold that against me.
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Take the email below from Paperless Post, for example. I love the header of this email: It provides a clear CTA that includes a sense of urgency. Then, the subheader asks a question that forces recipients to think to themselves, "Wait, when is Mother's Day again? Did I buy Mom a card?" Below this copy, the simple grid design is both easy to scan and quite visually appealing. Each card picture is a CTA in and of itself -- click on any one of them, and you'll be taken to a purchase page.
Advocacy: The old adage of “word of mouth is your best marketing” is still true today. When a customer loves your company or products, they tell others about it. Social media and online reviews are some of the strongest purchase influencers. To capitalize on the advocacy stage, identify your happiest customers and see if they’ll spread the word with a review or testimonial. If you have a referral program where you offer discounts or other rewards for bringing in new business, make sure this program is a big part of your email marketing strategy for devoted customers.

Now, work out the kinds of email communications which are appropriate and manageable for your brand. Newsletters? Generalised product promotions? Targeted product promotions? Order confirmation emails? Product reminders? All or a combination of the above? Work out what’s appropriate for you, and work out what’s appropriate for your personified customers, at each stage of their journey.


That isn’t to say that sales-y promotions couldn’t ever create results—as marketing “gurus” have proved. The results just aren’t as good as they could be. Take the biggest gurus’ results—the ones they boast about—and calculate their conversion rates. Often their marketing is comparatively ineffective. They just have massive volume, so the sales numbers are impressive.
Open and click-through rates (CTRs): Knowing who are engaged customers (those who open most emails and end up making purchases) versus inactive customers (who haven’t opened any emails in months) can be invaluable. Marketing campaigns announcing a new product should absolutely include those engaged customers, while re-engagement campaigns can be created to try and entice the inactive customers.
Social media may be the young whippersnapper nipping at email’s heels, but the content king of the inbox still holds sway in social influence, according to a study by SocialTwist. Over an 18-month period, SocialTwist monitored 119 referral campaigns from leading brands and companies. The results showed a significant advantage to email’s ability to convert new customers compared to Facebook and Twitter.
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