Why You’re Probably Still Email Blasting - And How To STOP
Repeat after me, "I will not send email blasts!" In the spirit of everything email - and continuing to try to improve it one business at a time, today we are going to focus on the email blast. I actually cringe when anyone (or I) have to say this phrase. So, does an email blast actually work? Well, maybe back in 2000 but in 2021? I highlight 5 reasons why email blasting could kill your email marketing plans - take a look.
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Why You’re Probably Still Email Blasting - And How To STOP
It has been a busy time. Hopefully, you will be able to get those email ideas in place and blow this one out of the water. Also, if you missed the previous episode, take a listen. If you have a business that relies heavily upon Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you will want to start your email preparation now. That episode gives you all the information so check out episode twenty.
In the spirit of everything email and continuing to try to improve it one business at a time, we are going to focus on the email blast. I cringe when anyone and I have to say this phrase. I'm going to play dumb on this episode in a way so we can get down to the bottom of this. The question that we're ultimately going to answer is, does an email blast work?
The red flags about email blasts are they're untargeted, unsegmented, unpredictable, unclear, uncalled for, and frankly, unprofitable.
Maybe back in 2000 but in 2021, email blasts had their moment. After all, they've been around since 1978 then gave their place to email campaigns, which is where we're at now. In this episode, we'll see five reasons why you shouldn't consider sending an email blast to your audience but before we get there, let's take a look at some important things first. What is an email blast anyway? We say it and we hear it all the time. Email blasts, also known as, mass emails, entail the large distribution of a single email message to an entire mailing list simultaneously, a.k.a. the one size fits all message to your full database.
An email blast usually lacks personalization features. Nevertheless, email blasts were once the power that gave Gary Thuerk, the first of the email blasters and the father of spam, 13 million in sales. Since then, marketers have signed up for tools like Mailchimp and Constant Contact, definitely known for their email blasts mentality. They use email blast software to design email newsletter templates to blast out to their audience.
The email blast, in some instances, is a mentality. When we hear the tools Mailchimp and Constant Contact, we're thinking about those one size fits all emails that come out sporadically with no rhyme or reason. Mailchimp and Constant Contact, by the way, do have plenty of ways to shift away from that one size fits all. Remember, this has nothing to do with the tool. This is about the operator.
What happens now when we blast emails out is low engagement rates, unsubscribes and spam complaints. It’s a drastic reduction in our list growth because the more disengaged folks and the more spam complaints, the worse. Email blasts, yay or nay? That's going to be up to you but let's examine why it might not be the smartest move for your brand.
At a high level, the cons of email blasting. Firstly, email blasts are cool, said no one ever. Your email marketing can be a lot more than an email blast and your recipients expected, especially as Gen Z starts to come into the consumer world. With all of the segmentation and data capabilities available in the ESPs, personalized email campaigns are the new black.
Financial viability must be sustainable, so you can gain profit from targeting it and accessibility.
Maybe a few years ago, email blasts made sense, but now we have to step it up and understand that if marketers and business owners expect to get an ROI from email, they're going to need to move to the next level. Back then, reporting was growing, but it wasn't to the level. We knew that if we sent X email, then we would get X dollars. This is how all of the marketing software has popped up. This is a mentality that's for some reason, has not gone away.
The best thing that you can do is try to move away from this. If we were to say right now, email blasts are emails thrust upon mailing lists and users, sometimes the users didn't even opt-in. To simply put the red flags about email blasts are they're untargeted, unsegmented, unpredictable, unclear, uncalled for and frankly, unprofitable. Typically, there are five big reasons why email blasts belong in the past. Let's start here. Spam traps are getting smarter. The same applies to your email recipients, who are now more capable of identifying and deleting spammy emails at first glance. If you are still skeptical about the usefulness of bulk emails, let's see why an email blast belongs in the past.
First, email blasts are unsegmented. I know I've said this before, but email blasts overlooked the number one rule of email marketing. You can't be all things to all people. I didn't say that. Michael Porter did, the Father of Marketing. With segmentation, you can identify groups with specific needs and create more focused and effective marketing messages. More specifically, you can segment your audiences using demographics, psychographics, hobbies, entertainment habits, geographical location, behavior characteristics and tons more.
Usually, all it takes to segment your email subscribers is by creating an online form and adding the correct content segment. You can't quite skip this strategy side. It's so important. Segmenting your list is expected. Everybody knows how this works. If you saw a subject line right now, for instance, that said, “Hawt,” you might immediately say, “That's misspelled. It should be hot.” Depending on your target audience, gender, age, group interests, etc. this may or may not resonate with them. What audience would the subject line with the hawt version of hot be best with? Probably teens.
Now, if you tried sending the subject line to every subscriber, it would not resonate especially when you tapped into those Baby Boomer generations. They would be appalled that grammar was not taken in. There was a typo. Your subject lines will determine the success of your marketing email and affect your open and click-through rate at the end of the day. The same applies here pre-header and email copy. Therefore, segmenting your audience will increase the effectiveness of your marketing emails and give you more conversions.
Email blasts are untargeted. Email blasts do not get as far as segmentation, let alone targeting. While segmentation and targeting appear similar, targeting picks up right where segmentation left off. Targeting occurs within the particular way in which we evaluate how inviting a segment is or in other words, how likely is this segment going to perform to meet my end goals? Targeting should be achieved by looking at the size. It must be large enough to be worth targeting one's marketing actions.
Could you take this same segment and do Facebook targeted ads? Would you draw in enough people? The size matters. If you were to put this on Facebook, would it tell you that there are not even enough users out there that pertain to this segmentation criteria? You need to be looking at differentiation. It must be clearly differentiated by the rest to prevent overlapping. If you have four segments and everybody's in all of them, it’s pointless.
Financial viability must be sustainable, so you can gain profit from targeting it and accessibility. It must be accessible so you can run all marketing actions properly. With those in mind, targeted email marketing can work miracles for your email marketing efforts. Through segmentation, you'll manage to create content that will be tailored to your recipients’ needs. This way, your subscribers will feel valued and buy your products or services more easily.
To get your hands on targeted email marketing, select the exact percentage of users you want your segment to be matched to. You can choose whether you want your segment to consist of people who satisfy all criteria at once or any of the criteria and so on. The brand has a simple email campaign to target cart abandoners, for instance, and lead them towards conversion. Does this type of email work? Yes. Based on my experience, as a buyer, a clever cart abandonment email campaign that is the right level of personalization is better than a random email blast. This is a good example of a targeted approach.
That's segmentation and targeting. Third, email blasts are unpredictable. Email blasts are not I-ran-into-LeBron-James predictable. They're unpredictable like, “Why is there water all over the bathroom floor again? I thought we had fixed this,” kind of way. Due to the lack of scheduling and planning, an email blast is neither consistent nor frequent. As a result, despite all the hard work on your behalf, the impact is zero. “Why,” you're thinking.
Failing to personalize your emails will prevent you from building connections with your list.
The reasons are pretty simple. Your users don't get to know you through one unexpected email once in a blue moon. Recipients do not connect with you on that level either. In fact, you elicit more negative feelings rather than positive ones, consistency in sending shows reliability. Your users do not wonder whether you are still in business, they know it. Maintaining a regular thought-through and well-planned sending schedule is key.
There are no spikes, highs, or lows in email campaign frequency. Experienced email marketers are weeks ahead in their content. Planning ahead is the best way to engage your audience in a timely manner, establish connections and pass as a reliable sender. A consistent schedule, though isn't only important for your recipients but also for your email deliverability. Getting flagged as spam will harm your sender's reputation. This means that your future emails won't even stand a chance against the spam folder.
Also, don't forget that there are laws in place in the CAN-SPAM Act that impose strict commercial message rules. It’s allowing recipients to stop you from emailing them. To avoid turning into a spammer, schedule your emails to establish bonds and avoid harming your reputation. Sending bulk emails won't build a brand, building bonds though, will and you do that through targeting segmentation and thoughtful content.
Number four, email blasts are so unclear. Since it is hardly ever scheduled, an email blast has no clear content. Never. It usually includes a little bit of everything as it isn't targeted either, so this means a multitude of messages and CTA buttons to go with these. Can you imagine the design that also goes into this? It's usually cluttered and noisy, with every piece of information competing against each other for the subscribers' attention.
The real-life equivalent of this would be stepping out of your house and having a random salesman in your face trying to sell you an inflatable mini-sized pool for your kids, a garden gnome, a Borat-inspired mankini, and so on. It’s scary. If your recipients don't understand the point of your campaign, it is an instant waste of time and resources. Instead of e-blasting them with the digital version of Borat’s mankini, try to show them exactly what they need the moment they need it.
Every email campaign is built around a single thing like a secret sale, a welcome message, or recent news. For instance, if you ever look at Kate Spade, usually the brand creates email campaigns around specific products and they tie the whole theme to that product. The other lovely thing about email campaigns, the next email will take care of the rest, either in the form of an extended sale, an upsell or a cross-sell. Email campaigns will give your subscribers a sense of continuity. This continuity will ultimately lead them to open your next best email campaign and ensure a steady click rate. Nevertheless, email campaign awesomeness does not stop at scheduling and planning content. It goes on to ensure that marketing messages won't take subscribers by storm by losing them with overlapping scheduling of emails.
The last thing we want to talk about here is, email blasts are uncalled for. There it is. I said it. Users hate spam. It’s not an a-ha moment here. Email blasts have content delivered to a list of people who have not requested to receive your news or offers or might not even like what you're pushing. As a user, what would you do with an email blast? You know it. You’ll probably unsubscribe or complain to a friend. Instead of going on the wrong tactics, here's what you can do to turn things around.
First, step up your overall design game. Your email design is basically what your users will see once they open your campaign. It's imperative to use a design that's consistent with your existing website and brand, email design matters. Next, you've got to find the best time to send your emails. You can imagine the amount of emails piling up in your subscribers' inboxes. You've got to make sure you understand the data of your own recipients.
You might read on a blog, “Thursday at 8:30 AM is the optimal time for the average sender.” You could test it and see that 6:00 PM is the optimal time. This is only what works for you and your audience. For example, if you have a restaurant with a key takeaway, sending an email campaign early in the morning will probably not have the desired result. If we are pushing something about dinner, maybe we should get it out at a different time of day, so we can hit people at the right time, maybe say 3:00 PM so they are in that mentality of like, “What am I going to eat for dinner?” You've got to understand what time to send your emails.
You also want to create consistent email copy. Your email campaigns should feature consistent copy, a universal writing style and a clear message. I know that in the Email Growth Society, for our clients, once we have a writer that has mastered a brand's voice and tone, that writer is assigned to that client. You'll never believe how unnerving it can be to look at email over time and see that the writing style overall has changed. It can be confusing for your recipients.
We analyzed the main factors that affect email performance and as expected, the content of your email campaigns is key. This affects your click-to-open rate, which is a huge metric that you should be watching. Therefore, you need an email copy that reflects your brand personality. If you're struggling with branding matters at the moment and since branding matters, no pun intended, do a quick research online. When figuring out branding with clients, I always ask the question which sums up brand personality. If Insert Your Brand was a person, what would they be like? The brand uses the same tone in every email they deliver.
Also, killer subject lines like, “Bundle up babe,” give off a certain vibe. This entertains their subscribers and it makes you feel closer to the brand. You've got to go through these workshops. You’ve got to understand, if my brand was a person, what would they like? We find out that they're a witty type of brand, then they use the same tone. They do need to serve up subject lines like, “Bundle up babe,” and things like that. Remember that you do need to know how to write your email content and it should be consistent with your website. It should not be a different experience.
Getting smarter with your promo messages is a necessity to win your recipients' hearts and wallets.
Next, make sure you define your audience. Instead of sending an email blast to your entire list, break it down into the segments that matter most to you. Match every segment to their specific needs and send out relevant email campaigns. Also, don't forget to customize content based on the characteristics of the group. For instance, if you own an optical store, the competition is fierce in your field. To stand out, you must get to your customers before your competitors do. Your competitive advantage is the relationship you've built with them and your subscribers' valuable emails.
Subscribers' needs can and, in certain cases, be estimated by the age group they belong to, and optical stores are one such case. An optical expert can estimate that subscribers over a certain age might manifest long-sightedness. Therefore, they can segment their email list to create relevant content with special lenses, special offers, and so on. Similarly, at the beginning of every school year, they could contact subscribers who have viewed or shopped kids' eyewear. In this case, emails about new products and items would bring in more traffic.
Lastly, don't forget about the power of personalization. Email marketing is the primary strategy for marketers to reach out to their audience in a personable way. The strategies and techniques behind email marketing campaigns can get as sophisticated as you want. For that reason, getting smarter with your promo messages is a necessity to win your recipients' hearts and wallets. Targeted emails are more effective than impersonal email blasts, hands down, period.
The personalized email subject line is all your new email subscribers want to see to establish a relationship with you. Failing to personalize your emails will prevent you from building connections with your list and at the end of the day, they're going to lead to lower open and click-through rates. One other thing to keep in mind is to keep an eye on your metrics and performance. I haven’t talked enough about the importance of email tracking but email campaigns give you access to valuable information so monitoring and tracking should be your new best friend from now on.
Through open and click rates, we can assess and evaluate data to improve our future campaigns. Through bounces, we can decide whether we need to adjust our opt-in methods or check sender reputation. Don't forget about deliverability either. To make the most out of your metrics, make sure your ESP has some advanced reporting elements. In addition to that, make sure that at a minimum, you’re pulling metrics out into an Excel spreadsheet and looking at them month over month to make sure that you have not taken any unnecessary dips.
Now it's the moment you've all been waiting for. We can come to the conclusion that email blasts are definitely a thing of the past, time to stop email blasting, both doing it and saying the phrase. Let's step up your email game, move towards email campaigns and get planning. Let me know if you have any questions at all by emailing me at Conversations@EmailGrowthSociety.com. Until next time, say no to email blasting. Bye guys.