30 Aug 2019
With an estimation of 4.1 billion email users by 2021, it’s safe to say that we won’t abandon our email marketing campaigns in the arts anytime soon. This week our team look at email campaigns as we pull together some points to help strategise our content to reflect the various segments of our audiences.
In the arts and cultural sector, email marketing is one of the most cost-efficient methods to increase brand awareness and build loyalty to a wider and larger audience base. 28th May 2019 saw the introduction of GDPR to the UK and Ireland. For some organisations, this created a sense of concern that soon, email marketing would become more difficult to implement and create a less meaningful impact on our audiences. The good news is that email marketing makes more of an impact now than ever with more refined lists, more meaningful communication, and better engagement rates. In our opinion, it’s more possible than ever to exceed our expectations for engagement through email campaigns.
Email campaigns and your weekly or monthly newsletters should still be an incredibly important part of your organisation’s marketing no matter how you choose the correct marketing mix for your organisation. In other words, don’t neglect your newsletters. Their potential impact is greater than you might think and we’re going to show you some simple and easy tips to take one newsletter and tweak it to engage better with your various audience segments and lists within MailChimp.
If you know our team, then you know that we encompass a Fail-Fast approach to our campaigns through a data-driven mentality. Data has the power to teach us important insights into our audience members and very importantly, it will show us how we can alter our content to connect in a more meaningful manner with our audiences.
If your team are currently engaged with email marketing such as automation, newsletters, and promotions, then now might be the opportune time to take a look at your data and check-in with industry standards through benchmarking. The more we know about our audiences, the easier it becomes for us to refine our email-marketing strategy to increase overall engagement with our recipients. Luckily for us, MailChimp has put together a series of benchmarking data surrounding email marketing. MailChimp send billions of emails a month to millions of users, so they track and collect a lot of data. Here’s what we’ve learned;
- Open Rate: 20.41% - Open rates will highlight if your subject lines are resonating with your audience segments.
- CTR: 2.19% - Click through will show your team if your audience found the content relevant enough to click through your email.
- Bounce Rate: 0.48% - High bounce rates will tell your team if you are working from an old or outdated lists.
Once you’re conscious of your data and how your newsletters compare to the industry benchmarks, it’s time to get started on the Ticketsolve Campaign Considerations for Email Marketing
1. Segmenting your audience
The information we collect from our emails through MailChimp is vital to understand how our audience members engage with our brand, our programming, and our organisation as a whole. Of course, to understand these considerations accurately, it’s vital that we don’t blast our email to the same segments of our audience. For more information on segmenting lists on MailChimp, take a read of how reducing MailChimp Subscribers means reducing your costs.
By segmenting your audience members into various lists such as members, frequent attendees, and lapsed customers, you will notice a significant change in the data pulled in your reports on MailChimp. One example is that your overall bounce rates might decrease on your members' segment and your frequent attendees' segment but your bounce rate is still high on your lapsed customers’ list. This is an indication that your working off a list that is outdated and perhaps these audience members have since updated their emails- it’s time you update your list or segment!
2. Reschedule your Schedule
How many times has your Front of House Manager told your team to mirror audience members’ body language when greeting them at your venue? Now it’s time to utilise this approach and mirror their interaction across our email communications. Once your lists and segments are created in MailChimp, it will be a lot easier to engage with your audiences to their own schedule.
A great example is our Panto Audience members. What we usually experience with this particular niche segment is that audiences who attend the Christmas panto, aren’t always enticed by family programming at other times of the year. That said, they have still attended the panto for the last 5 years in a row and bring their extended family with them. Some might even attend the panto twice over one Christmas season. This is certainly strong customer loyalty even though they don’t necessarily fit into the norm definition of your loyal customer segment ( for example, an audience member who attends one every three months).
If we look at our communication to our panto segment, can we really say that a newsletter to them in July is meaningful for them? If they engage with us better around the panto season then this is the perfect time to schedule relevant content to them and entice them to come back again in Spring.
3. The Eye of Email Design
The look and feel to your email marketing campaigns is an exceedingly important aspect for brand awareness, brand positioning, and customers expectations. This is a process which is going to be individual to each organisation but our team have pulled together three important considerations within email design which all organisations need to consider. These are visuals, mobile formatting, and the forever daunting- subject lines!
We all know the power of visuals and images on audiences but it’s important to ensure that we are getting the most from them within our marketing strategies. At the very beginning of our campaign, we looked at how text and subtitles on visual graphics have been trending and how you can make the most of visual text in your marketing campaigns. If you’re included promo videos in your emails, have you thought about including subtitles on your videos? After all, do you read your emails with the sound on your desktop on?
Now, more than ever we need to consider how our emails look on mobile. If mobile sales are encompassing 60% of our total online sales, we need to consider how our audiences view our content on this platform. These considerations can be as simple as the configuration of our blocks. MailChimp has conducted significant research on email interaction on mobile to date. Already we know if audience members are opening our content on mobile, then they’re engagement rate drops. For more insight into email on mobile, follow the Impact of Mobile Use On Email Engagement.
Finally, we need to consider our subject lines and the importance they have when it comes to encouraging your audience members to open your email. This is certainly not a new topic and we could write a whole blog on the frustration around subject lines within the arts. The good news is that MailChimp has done the hard work for us. They’ve even provided examples of Catchy Email Subject Lines.
4. Make it Social
It’s time now to examine the opportunities we offer to our audience members for them to engage with our email content (and most importantly, to increase our CTR). One example which our team use ourselves to encourage engagement is introducing social media into all our emails. After all, social media demands a lot of content and time, we may as well utilise it to its full advantage and bring it into our email campaigns. DotDigital has a great post on how to get started with 4 ways to use social media with email.
Let’s take for example our new subscribers list or segment on MailChimp. Social media is an integral part of instilling brand awareness and it should be an important aspect of your welcome program to new audience members. Direct them to all social platforms as soon as possible once they have signed up to your list. They are already engaged with your brand and are more than likely, they are curious to learn a little more.
Tempting audience members to follow your organisation on Twitter or Instagram or enticing them to share different shows and events is a great way to ensure that you are working hard to get each member to click at least once onto your content. Something as simple as including a subtle sharing banner on the bottom of each block might just increase your CTR so they compare to the industry benchmark. Once you begin to see an increase in clicks, make sure you follow the heatmap on MailChimp to clearly identify which aspects of your content are encouraging the most clicks.