Time and again email marketing has proven to be the leading source of ROI among all outbound marketing outreach. It is the fastest and most effective way to reach the widest audience in a targeted manner.
Often, however, it is believed that email marketing best practices are designed predominantly for small and medium businesses (SMBs), when in fact they could be significant assets for enterprise marketers as well. The big difference lies within the "how" and "why."
SMBs typically focus more on email marketing because it's easy to manage, requiring low overhead and little expertise. Further, since SMBs tend to have smaller list sizes, they have a greater ability to personalize and target email strategies to yield better results. Among enterprises, contact lists can reach into the millions or even multi-millions, and the personalized, targeted approach becomes increasingly more difficult to achieve. Despite this personalization challenge, enterprise email marketers have the powerful advantage of data.
The Personalization Challenge
The key to any successful email campaign is for marketers to add an individual touch that entices contacts to open their brand's email and click-through toward the path-to-purchase. Blanket emails using the "spray-and-pray" method are not effective with modern consumers.
What is effective is proving value to contacts; knowing who they are, what they need, and moreover, what they want to see in their inbox. For corporate marketers, it's important to personalize email content and subject lines in order to establish an intimate relationship with recipients and ultimately build brand and customer loyalty.
Personalization is where small businesses have the clear advantage. With a smaller set of contacts in their database, SMBs have closer access to each individual user so they're able to hone in on preferences and execute personalized campaigns.
Enterprises, on the other hand, often have multiple lists consisting of millions of contacts (if not more), making the ability to establish personalization significantly harder. For this reason, enterprise marketers tend to leverage email strategies for a consistent brand image across marketing channels. However, if enterprise email marketers can add even small aspects of personalization to their campaigns, they will reap the benefits of customer loyalty coupled with widespread outreach, ultimately increasing ROI. And, the good news is that enterprise marketers can do this by leveraging a lucrative asset that's already in their arsenal: data.
The Data Advantage
Data plays a central role in any email campaign by offering key insights to execute a targeted strategy. By providing a look into previous user behavior such as open times and email interaction, marketers can leverage data to tweak existing campaigns and meet personalized preferences.
This is where enterprise marketers can shine: as the list of contact targets increases, the amount of data automatically stored and available increases as well, meaning that enterprise marketers have a significantly large amount of data to leverage for targeted campaigns.
Small businesses typically analyze data around individual contacts in order to personalize messages. However, for an enterprise with millions of contacts, this task could be incredibly daunting. Instead, enterprise marketers should invest more time analyzing their data to identify user and industry trends. Are overall clicks increasing or declining? Are users generally opening more in the morning or afternoon? By monitoring the pulse of these trends, enterprise marketers can implement small improvements in open rates or click-through rates that truly affect their bottom lines.
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Integrate for an Added Advantage
Enterprises are much more likely to have multiple systems that are fully integrated, which provides an opportunity to collect even more data and increase levels of personalization. By integrating email marketing with services like Magento, Salesforce, and other software or solutions, enterprise marketers can directly analyze data from website interaction, path-to-purchase and inventory patterns. This insight can then be used to better alter a campaign and encourage user interaction.
Email marketing can be a significant source of ROI for businesses of all sizes. Though email marketing best practices have often been associated with small business tactics, the tides are shifting. Enterprise marketers cannot afford to ignore the ocean of data at their disposal.
EJ McGowan, VP of Engineering for Glance Networks and Founder of Carpe Diem Software, is a highly experienced software professional with a career spanning over three decades. With a background in mini-computing and experience building major applications for microcomputers, EJ has a unique perspective on the evolution of technology. He was the architect for one of the first SaaS applications and now focuses on creating scalable and highly available applications for the on-demand marketplace. With a successful track record in building and leading development organizations and sales and marketing teams, EJ is a valuable asset in the software industry.