Consumers Want Email from Brands — Here’s How to Do It Well

Consumers Want Email from Brands — Here’s How to Do It Well
New research found that consumers like to get email offers from brands over direct mail, mobile apps, and social media.
by Maya Rollings Mar 21, 2023 — 5 min read
Consumers Want Email from Brands — Here’s How to Do It Well

Communicating with your customers is a key component to encouraging loyalty. Updating them on upcoming events, sales, or item launches keeps your business top of mind, brings consumers in stores, and most importantly, satisfies the fact that they want to hear from you. According to the 2023 Square Future of Commerce report, 86% of consumers stated that they want to hear from businesses that they frequent, and 60% listed email as their preferred method. 

But it’s no secret that the average shopper’s email address is probably flooded. Statista estimates that 347 billion emails are sent per day worldwide, and this number is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. With a constant influx of emails, it’s important to make your email marketing count and use each send as a strategic opportunity for your business. 

Here are ten ways you can make your emails stand out and better reach your customers:

1. Personalize your messaging.

Personalizing your emails can go a long way to ensuring your customers feel valued and go even further when getting them to open them. Forbes cites that 90% of U.S. consumers find marketing personalization very or somewhat appealing, and 72% of consumers only engage with personalized messaging. Using a template that lets you input the customer’s name in the subject line or in the body of the email is an easy way to personalize your emails.

Trigger campaigns — marketing messages that are sent as the result of an action of a customer — can also be effective. These campaigns recommend products or discounts to customers based on their behavior on your website. 

2. Make you message as clear as possible.

Making your messaging sound casual and conversational is the best way to engage an audience. Because most people tend to skim through their emails, keep your subject line and preview text short and sweet so readers can grasp the point of the email without having to do too much thinking. In addition, always remember to make the “from” name clear. Making readers guess who sent the message will only make them less likely to open the email and consider it spam.

And most importantly, always remember to have a clear call to action.

3. Segment your emails.

Segmenting your emails by purchase history, geographic location, and other demographics can help make your messaging more relevant and stick out to your targeted audience. Square Marketing has a built-in customer directory that gives you insight into how your customers interact with your business. From abandoned carts to lapsed customers, make your marketing more effective by reaching them where they are — or where they left off — with your business and encouraging them to shop.

Segmenting your emails is not only helpful for retaining your audience, but it’s also helpful for getting them engaged to begin with. According to MailChimp, segmented email campaigns have an average click performance that’s 100% higher than non-segmented campaigns.

With this return on investment in mind, take time to define your specific audiences, and don’t be afraid to get creative with your messaging.

4. Make your messaging informative.

It’s not just offers that consumers want via email, it’s informative content. Leverage your expertise to send emails (you can link to blog posts) about relevant topics in your industry. If you’re stuck on what to write about, look to the seasons — you can always use a change in the weather or a holiday as a hook. In addition to informative content, let customers know what’s going on with your business. Are you extending or changing your hours? Was an item of yours recognized as the best in the industry or featured in a magazine? Let customers know so they can keep up with you, celebrate your success, and maybe even help spread the word.

5. Don’t go overboard with your sends. 

Constantly blasting your customers with emails is the quickest way to land a bunch of unsubscribes. Stay on your customers’ good side by only sending emails when you have something juicy, like a killer (personalized) promotion or a rich, informative piece of relevant content. Not only will that combat brand fatigue, it’ll make your email more effective.

6. Remember to make your designs mobile-friendly. 

Forty-one percent of emails are viewed on a mobile device and 19% are viewed on a tablet. Tailoring your email design to a mobile experience can have a tangible impact on your open rate and the overall success of your email. Be especially thoughtful about the number of images or animations you include to ensure your message doesn’t take too long to load. Messages that take too long to load or load with an off-putting format run the risk of being closed and never thought about again, making it easy for customers to miss out on what you have to say. Make every interaction count and consider all the possibilities that can occur on the receiving end.

7. Find a time and day that works best for your audience. 

Experiment with sending campaigns at different times of day, including during work hours, to see which gets the most engagement. Square makes it easy to examine your messaging analytics so that you can determine which days and times work best for your target audience. Fifty-eight percent of consumers check their email first thing in the morning and 37.9% check their email two to five times a day. Identify a few times that have consistently high engagement and keep them in mind when you prepare to send emails. Consumer habits can shift depending on the time of year (holidays) or the season (summer), so keep an eye out for any prolonged changes and adjust accordingly.

8. Test out your messaging.

Try different email designs to determine which one gauges the most interest. A/B testing different subject lines, content formats, or CTAs can help you understand if your audience prefers highly visual emails, for instance, or if they prefer more straightforward messaging. This is crucial because it allows you to explore different ways to reach your audience and grow the relationship by making the messaging all the more impactful and increasing the return on investment (ROI) on your marketing campaigns.

9. Maximize your deliverability.

It’s easy to assume that once Send is pressed on a message, it automatically reaches a customer’s inbox, but sometimes that’s not always the case. Optimizing your email marketing for email deliverability is an important step in ensuring your messages reach the desired audience. Keeping your email lists clean and current is a simple way to ensure your business isn’t branded as a spam account. 

Internet service providers rely on active (not total) subscribers to assess the validity of an email account, so doing regular sweeps can help keep your account in good standing. Other methods, such as only sending messaging to opt-in subscribers, asking subscribers to add you to their contacts, and ensuring your messages aren’t overly promotional, can also help increase the deliverability of your email.

10. Measure your output.

Email marketing is just another task on your to-do list if you aren’t measuring how you’re performing. Analyzing your open rates, click-through rates, bounce rate, and unsubscribe rates can help you see how your audience is responding to your messaging. While each rate serves its own purpose and comes with its own level of importance, pay special attention to your click-through rates (CTR). Your CTR represents how many people clicked on a link in your email and fulfilled a call to action. 

MailChimp notes that the average CTR is 2.91%, however, each business has its own yardstick for success. Determine what success means to you and test out different ways you can improve.

It’s important to remember that there are many definitions of success when it comes to email marketing. For example, the open rate for one business may not be the open rate for another, and that’s okay. The most important factors are reaching customers and seeing a sizable return on your marketing investment. Identify opportunities for improvement and experiment with several or all of the components above to see what works best for your business.

Maya Rollings
Maya Rollings is an editor at Square where she writes about all things customer experience, from building a solid customer base to leveraging tools and technology that meets them where they are in their journey.

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