So, you have cleaned up your list, crushed your content and now you are delivering emails. You are in email marketing nirvana. But a few months have gone by and engagement is dropping? Now so is my deliverability! Is this all of my effort down the drain?

Well yes and no. If you carry on doing exactly the same thing to exactly the same list all the time the results are declining, then they are not due to improve. If you think carefully about a content plan, work out some engagement segments and start retargeting your customers, things are looking on the up!

First of all, it is best to understand email churn. A report by Return Path says that 30% of your emails are dead in a year due to changing email, forgetting passwords or changing jobs. So instantly it is worth having a filter for anyone who has not opened in a year. Removing these will mean you will not include them in your general email sends and you can work separately on re-engagement campaigns for these non-engagers.

If you really want to engage these people, sending more outrageous content/offers to this group will ignite more interest without putting off your current engaged customer base or having everyone take you up on your crazy offer. You want to send to this group minimally throughout the year. Anyone who is engaging will find themselves within your normal marketing schedule; anyone who is not engaging will get the occasional offer/content. Anyone who is over 18/24 months of no engagement it would be worth your while removing them from your database.

Realising that non-engagement is more harmful than any unsubscribe that a recipient can throw at you. Opens are a good thing. An unsubscribe is a good thing. These people do not want to hear from you anymore, and you know what? That’s fine! No hard feelings Mr Customer! You just helped my engagement! Emailing your non-engaged subscribers asking for more information on how you can be more relevant to them with a preference centre or allowing them to leave your list will do nothing but help. A small list of hyper-engaged customers is much better than a massive list of people who don’t want your content.

Working out what to do next requires working out how your customers interact with you. Working out their Buying Cycle is crucial and there is no one size fits all solution. The key here is your content plan and using some basic automation to get your email working for you. Looking at key dates in that life cycle and thinking about what you could send that customer is really important; the fun part is then setting it up so it does it for you automatically.

The data you hold about your customers is really important, especially relevant dates/conversion details. Most people just think of birthday automations, but the dates most relevant to conversion are far more important. If you have a perishable item or an item with a short shelf life reminders to repurchase with a replenishment campaign are key.

If you have an item with a longer shelf life or contractual (insurance/software etc) ramping up to the purchase date with reminders and upsell and cross-sell opportunities will help increase ROI. If you are in travel, you might have a series of recommendations running up to their last booked date as people tend to book holidays at the same time every year.

Gathering up as much information as possible about your customers is important here too. Knowing what your customers are interested in, their names, preferences, and anything that is going to help you converse with your customer and keep them coming back for more. Using names and other information where appropriate in the subject line/preheader text/content is another great option to draw your audience in.

“But Jack!” I hear you cry, “I have nailed these basics, what’s next?!”

Do not worry my friend; we can get cooler than that. What happens if I am on your website right now, you know what I am looking at and I am mulling my options… But I leave! So what would happen if you send me a personalised message with the product I was looking at? Included in that message were further recommendations based on related products? Conversion Achieved! After I complete my purchase you send me another personalised message with other products I was looking at on your site but did not buy? The best part, this was all automated!

You now have these recommendations visual on your website and people are dynamically viewing recommendations tailored for them… Anyone who is viewing your items and leaving is getting retargeted with personalised content based on their own actions. Are we cooking with gas now or what?!

So now we are getting into the realms of a real customer journey, what happens if you could have every interaction pre-set up with engagement-based automated decision-making? So if your recipient opens X email it sends them email Y, but if they did not open the email send them email Z. Or if they open email X it sends them email Y or if they do not open it triggers an SMS follow-up or a direct mail campaign. The possibilities are endless…

Email still makes more ROI than any other marketing channel right now. Email is the key. For you to have social you need an email address to even sign up! If you have online banking, you need an email address.

Your quest as a marketer is to make money for your business. To find out what works for you with automations, then implement it, allows you to have one of the most profitable channels do your job for you. The more you automate your journey the more time you have to smash your other channels.