One of the most frustrating things in entrepreneurship is when you have too much of a good thing. We've seen it time and time again.
Start-up executives know that the only way to scale their business to meet its potential is to develop a huge network of leads. With that thought in mind, they diligently go about building a huge volume of solid prospects through excellent content marketing. As they start to see the number of newsletter recipients that they have grow, they feel a huge sense of accomplishment.
And why shouldn't they? According to conventional wisdom, having such a huge network of interested prospects means that success is just around the corner.
Which is exactly why what happens next is so frustrating!
Without a solid plan for how to properly organize, manage, and leverage their growing list of interested prospects it doesn't take long for them to realize that they're not getting ROI they thought they would. Adding to the frustration is that they know they need to be doing some kind of email list segmentation in order to fix the problem, but they aren't quite sure what that should really look like.
Unfortunately, it's a lot easier to get leads then it is to know what to do with them. But it’s a problem that can't be ignored. Every day that a start up doesn't maximize its email list segmentation is another day that they are either alienating good leads or wasting time chasing after bad ones.
An Organized Approach To Email Marketing Segmentation
The only way for start-ups to break this cycle is to develop an organized plan for how to divide their prospects list. Every company is different, but there are still some general principles that can and should be applied by all companies.
Regardless of their size or specific industry, all companies should be striving to have an email marketing segmentation process that provides the right kind of follow-up to the right kind of lead in an easy and iterative process.
Doing this requires marketing departments and executives to take a deep dive into what their sales and marketing funnel looks like. In many ways, the goal should be to reverse engineer the customer journey in an effort to understand what common threads can be found across prospects, and what the best strategy for getting ROI out of those threads is.
5 Email Marketing Best Practices
Of course, reverse engineering is a difficult process that requires coming at the problem of several different angles. Here are five of the most important email marketing best practices that start-ups can use to make sure they get the most out of their efforts.
Understand Customer Personas
It all starts with making sure that you understand who your customers are. The concept of building ‘personas’ is well known, but still often very misunderstood.
Too many start-ups think that building their personas list is descriptive and focused on what the customer can offer to the business (i.e.: this persona has x,y,z characteristics that mean it will want to buy this product). In reality, the opposite is true.
Once you are able to classify leads by pain point, it becomes much easier to group like-minded clients into lists based around the value your business can provide.
Providing value is always the name of the game, and organizing your email marketing in this way will create effective email marketing that increases engagement across all of your campaigns.
Understand Your Business’s Touch Points
Understanding the pain points that your personas have is only the beginning. Think of it this way — the entire point of being able to group personas and leads by the pain points they have is so that you can offer solutions to those pain points.
To do that, you need to understand where those pain points fit into your sales pipeline, and what content will be relevant to the persona suffering from them. This is critical using your email as segmentation to get the right message into the hands of the right person at the right time.
For example, if you know that personas with X pain-point usually enter the funnel at X stage, you'll be able to cross reference that with the content you know works at that stage of the funnel in order to create a email campaign that will showcase the relevant content.
Understand The Touch Points Your Leads Have
In addition to the persona’s pain points and the stage for the funnel that they are in, it's also important to consider how the lead will interact with the physical email that you send.
For example, different types of personas will check their emails at different times of the day, or may be more likely to check them on mobile or desktop, or may even have a time of year when they're more or less likely to engage with certain parts of the sales funnel.
All these things will change the way that your email segmentation should be done. For example, you don't want to be sending an executive at a retail e-commerce business top of funnel content during the holiday season — it's the busiest time of year and you’re almost guaranteed to not have their attention.
In contrast, if you get in contact with them in February with relevant content offering to solve pain points they had in December, the odds are that they'll be listening.
Have A Plan In Place For How To Iterate
Proper email segmentation is not only about delivering the right content to the right person at the right time. It's also about being able to do that over and over and over again in a way that is both quick and easy.
To that end, you want to make sure that you're able to properly tag new leads with the right classification.
There're a lot of different ways to do this and it's very business independent, but some good ideas are you create predictable categories via prospects surveys, grouping leads by size metrics (such as sales volume), pain point, or even by geographic area (such as country or language).
Email segmentation categories should be so refined, and the process to fill them so effortless, as to be near instantaneous.
Don’t Neglect Post Sale Efforts
Just like all other forms of inbound marketing, the value of email list segmentation doesn't end when the customer is finished moving through the pipeline. That’s just the beginning, and it opens up an entire new way to refine the persona and segmentation process.
Data about the journey of the leads who were converted into customers can be combined with the data about journeys of the leads who abandoned the pipeline at some point in order to get a complete picture of what trends can be spotted.
This insight does more for start-ups than simply refine their email segmentation for leads within the pipeline. It also allows them to develop email list management services for other purposes including driving repeat business, increasing customer advocacy, and even reaching out to people who didn't convert to try and reconnect in the future.
Bottom line, email marketing is a powerful tool — but only because it lets you target relevant leads with relevant content. Using the right techniques to classify and build excellent content will get the most out of your efforts for all leads and at all stages of the pipeline.
If you have any more questions regarding email marketing, contact Roketto today.