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Man writing in a notebook; computer in the background.Email marketing is a core practice integral for any business. Once a lead or a customer opts in, email is a communication opportunity rife with potential that can create a new relationship or enhance an old one. When integrated with social media and blogging platforms, email becomes an invaluable tool in your marketing toolbox.

Why, then, do most companies struggle to receive average clickthrough rates north of three percent? It’s always easiest to point a finger first at content, but it’s really not that simple. When plotting your email marketing campaigns, your modus operandi should start—like most marketing efforts—by knowing your audience.

Know your personas

When aiming to create a marketing strategy, persona development should be the first bulls-eye you aim for. It's unreasonable to consider talking about "how" to market before you know "who" to market to. Taking the care and time to develop personalities for your ideal customers is an effort that will reward your marketing efforts tenfold. Personas should be as detailed as possible, going far beyond just a name and demographics; create goals, quotes, and common objections, too. The more detail, the better.

How does this relate to email marketing? It goes right back to "who" over "how." If you’re sending out emails, it can’t just be a blanket effort. Different messaging impacts each persona differently.

The case for segmentation

Since each persona is motivated by different marketing messages, you simply must segment them into groups for your email marketing campaigns. In simpler terms, think of this concept in terms of your own customer service experiences. What has more impact, a form letter, or a personal note? That’s the way you have to think of email marketing. The more personalized the content, the more likely the clickthrough.

When communicating directly with customers and leads through email, success relies on speaking the language of your customers. If you are not speaking their, they are simply not going to understand your message. If they don’t understand it, they’re going to delete your email without ever opening it, and there’s little hope for them clicking through to your website. For email marketing, segmenting really means customizing the perfect message for a particular persona.

Content is king—but only in the correct context

Of course, content matters. While speaking the right language gets you in the door, engaging content is what gets you invited to dinner. Once again, personas should play a pivotal role in determining what kind of content lands in our audience’s inbox. That’s why the context of your content matters just as much.

As an example, manufacturers might send an email to a product end user that includes a promotional sample offer, or an exclusive shopper guide. On the other hand, if an email is being sent to R&D departments, something more technical would be in order, such as a process video or a white paper. Potential distributors might be invited to upcoming trade shows.

Obviously, these are three wildly different approaches. While there are always anomalies, it’s easy to see that if a blanket approach was utilized across all three manufacturing personas, you’d lose two-thirds of your intended audience immediately.

The beauty of email marketing campaigns is that they can be used across the spectrum of the lead generation process, for attracting, converting, and closing leads, and then for delighting those leads that have become loyal customers. With “closing the sale” as the ultimate marketing goal, identifying your perfect customer has to be the starting point, and then creating a tailor-made message for them has to be the approach. Like most marketing efforts, it often boils down to a numbers game: more clickthroughs can ultimately lead to closing more sales.

Marketing would be easy if you only had to target one bulls-eye. Unfortunately, we often have multiple bulls-eyes to hit. By establishing strong personas and segmenting your email messaging to speak their language, your quiver will have the arrows needed to hit those multiple targets.

Do you feel like you have a strategy in place to segment your email marketing efforts?

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Diona Kidd

Diona Kidd

Diona is a managing partner at Knowmad. Her areas of expertise include digital marketing strategy, project management, brand management, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing and website design.

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