B2C Email Marketing Strategies: Experts Share Their Recipes for Success
Developing a marketing strategy (no matter the medium) can be a bit like baking on the fly. You add a pinch of this and a dash of that as you continually tweak and measure your way to success.
However, the recipe for an effective B2C email marketing campaign does require some staple ingredients. And without them, the whole thing can fall flat faster than a dry souffle.
In this post, we explore the must-haves for delivering a best-in-class campaign — and mouthwatering results — before grilling email marketing experts on their favourite tips & techniques.
Core Ingredients of an Effective B2C Email Marketing Strategy
To devise a strong email marketing strategy, you need to start with (or work towards) the following elements:
- Quality Curated Email Lists - Successful B2C email marketing needs clean, regularly maintained and segmented email lists. The higher the quality of your lists, the better your open and engagement metrics.
- Tidy Databases, Primed for Personalisation - Perhaps the biggest difference between B2B and B2C emails is the potential to personalise B2C emails to the Nth degree. An up-to-date database which allows you to sort and segment based on purchase history, behaviours, demographics, or interests could drive higher conversion rates and boost ROI.
- Clear, Navigable Designs - Consumers are time-poor and inboxes are overflowing. The last thing they want is a difficult-to-digest email with no clear structure or CTA. Instead, meet expectations with a modern, mobile-friendly design, scannable copy, and eye-catching calls to action.
- Timing & Consistency - Finally, both when and how often you send emails will play a huge role in the success of your campaign. Test different send times to discover when is most effective at driving engagement and conversions. And don’t leave it too long between emails. The goal is to remain front of mind with consumers.
Strategic Advice from B2C Email Marketing Experts
Just as every good chef uses the recipe as a guideline, the best freelance email marketing experts take the above best-practice and add their own tried-and-tested flourishes in search of marginal gains.
Here are 4 top tips from established experts, hailing from email marketing platforms to D2C consumer brands on their top email marketing strategies.
1. Experiment, split-test and get creative
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in email marketing is forgetting that you are not your customer. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you like the copy, design, or offer in your newsletter — if it doesn’t resonate with your customers, it’s not going to deliver results.
What does Karolina Cala of Calla Shoes suggest?
That’s why Karolina Cala of Calla Shoes suggests experimenting and split-testing.
“It’s vital that you keep testing every aspect of your email campaign. For example, there's a very common assumption in email marketing that using emojis in titles makes your email stand out in the inbox, therefore providing higher open rates,” she explains.
“A lot of business owners latched onto this trend, but if you run a simple A/B test, you may find that your audience isn’t reacting.”
Instead of succumbing to assumptions, you should use split-testing to your advantage and take the opportunity to get creative with your subject lines.
“We all get insane amounts of promotional emails in our inboxes,” says Karolina, “and you want to make sure that yours stands out. My favourite title I ever sent out was 'I blame Julia Roberts'.”
Why should you focus on your email’s subject line?
Nigel Temple from MailChimp Training agrees – "The human eye reads in chunks," he explained. "You read two or three words at time, i.e. the first few words of an email subject line. The email recipient makes decisions very quickly. If the start of the email subject line doesn’t appeal to the consumer, then it is all too easy to delete it.
"In order to find out which Subject lines work best," Temple continued, "test your subject lines on a continual basis. This will help to increase those all important email open rates."
So, what works for your audience? Emojis? Intrigue? Humour? Controversy?
Test, test, and test again to find out.
- Read HubSpot’s guide to A/B testing for more information.
- And for tips on writing the perfect subject line, Megan Marrs from Wordstream has you covered.
2. Remember: bigger is not always better
Many companies see email marketing as a numbers game. Send as many as possible to a huge list and see what sticks. But, as Maret Reutelingsperger of Mobe Digital highlights, the age of buying email lists and spamming inboxes has been and gone.
“Besides not being GDPR compliant, there’s evidence that indiscriminately blasting emails to anyone and everyone results in lower engagement rates and higher spam reports,” says Maret.
“Selling to an engaged audience is much easier, and nets you higher conversion rates. Talk to your 100 biggest fans, rather than 100,000 strangers.”
How can you focus on community building?
And to do this, you need to focus on community building. Maret suggests using the information you have in your database to further segment and personalise your messaging. “As you become more familiar with each other, you can ditch the formalities and really let your brand voice shine.”
- For advice on organically growing an email list, look no further than this selection of 29 Creative List Building Techniques by Andy Pitre.
- And if you want to learn more about communicating with your audience, this conversation between Kerry O’Shea Gorgone and Ann Handley is worth a listen.
3. Use open-time content to deliver up-to-date offers
We lead busy lives, and our inboxes are often neglected. We don’t always open emails the minute they land — and, according to Jordan Sawyer, that’s something email content has to take into consideration.
“Most email content is designed to be opened there and then,” says Jordan. “If I open 12 hours later, the content of the email can be completely out-of-date. It’s frustrating opening a sales email with an enticing subject line only to discover that you’ve missed the sale.”
So, what’s the answer?
Jordan’s advice is to use open-time content to ensure that your content is always up-to-date. Live email content detects the time of open and can seamlessly swap the sale content to a win-back message if the sale is over.
“This is a great way for B2C marketers to increase email performance and enhance customer satisfaction,” explains Jordan.
Learn how to use live email content to create contextual campaigns in this guide by Lauren Smith.
4. Ask subscribers what they want to see next
Brainstorming B2C email content can be a huge drain on time and resources — and there’s often no guarantee that what you come up with will engage your audience.
With this in mind, Jordan’s next recommendation is simple yet effective: Ask!
“Asking your subscribers what they want to see in the next email is a great way to connect with your audience,” he explains. “The inclusion of a live poll/vote in your email will see click-through rates soar.”
Customers like to feel heard, says Jordan, and if they’ve told you what they’re interested in or what they’re searching for, you can use this data to personalise the next email – thereby increasing email performance in the process.
How can you send relevant emails?
This is backed by Eman Ismail of Inkhouse, who says “the key to getting better results from email is to send the right email to the right people at the right time. That means knowing your audience, paying attention to their past behaviours, and trying to predict their future needs and behaviours, too.”
“Once you’re able to send emails that are relevant (yay to segmenting!),” she says, “and emails that subscribers find valuable, beneficial and (of course) interesting, your open rates, click rates and conversion rates will inevitably improve.”
For more email quick-win ideas, Kickdynamics has a very useful guide, which you can download here.
In Summary: Mixing It All Together for B2C Email Marketing
Returning to the recipe metaphor one last time, they say that baking is both a science and an art. The same can be said for B2C email marketing.
It requires a mix of daring creativity and meticulous planning and measurement to produce results.
So, to serve up a winning strategy, you should heed the advice of our email marketing experts: test everything, focus on your audience, deliver “live” content where possible — and don’t forget to ask what your customers want next.
A huge thank you to our experts for taking the time to share their insight and expertise:
- Karolina Cala, Marketing Manager at Calla Shoes
- Maret Reutelingsperger, Founder of inbound marketing specialists Mobe Digital
- Jordan Sawyer, Head of Account Management at email marketing platform Kickdynamic
- Eman Ismail, email conversion strategist at InkHouse
- Nigel Temple from MailChimp Training
If you’d like to connect with an experienced B2C email marketing expert, Traktion can match you to top pre-vetted talent within 24 hours. Get started for free here.