The average attention span today is eight seconds, down from 12 seconds just five years ago. Now more than ever, email marketers must grab customers’ hearts and minds, said Karen Talavera, president and founder of Synchronicity Marketing at online workshop, Blueprint for Email Marketing Success.
Talavera, speaker at the American Marketing Association Chicago workshop, said most marketers don’t realize how the email landscape has evolved, and there are now five tiers of email marketing that need to be utilized for maximum conversion.
Like other marketing facets, email has been evolving rapidly as customers find other outlets for their time.
No longer are batch-processed, one-size-fits-all emails going to work, she said. Rather varying the email types is the key to success. Now the primary intent is to serve first, then sell.
Talavera described the email marketing blueprint as a pyramid with five tiers. The tiers at the top focus on higher segmentation and lower sent volume, producing the best chance at conversions.
These top levels are underutilized and represent the greatest opportunity to grow engagement, she said.
“I can’t stress this enough that mindset is more important than skillset,” Talavera said. “If you walk away with nothing else other than this key point, remember understanding the why behind email and why you are doing what you are doing is more important than exactly what you’re doing. Where is it highly effective and where it isn’t effective – knowing the rationale behind it.”
Level 1 – Foundational
At the bottom of the email marketing pyramid is the foundational email with the broadest implications and the lowest level of segmentation. It’s the most common type of email that most marketers know.
Its content is broad and focused on topical content, and it’s sent daily or weekly at regular intervals, Talavera said.
Examples of this type of email are newsletters, bulletins, announcements, holiday greetings and community news.
“The purpose of the foundational level is to maintain a baseline of communication in email, which creates continuity,” Talavera said. “The fact of the matter is there are certain segments of your audience that might not qualify for some of the other types of messaging at different levels, but you still want to have some kind of touch on a regular basis.”
Level 2 – Promotional
After sending out foundational emails, the next type that is slightly more segmented is the promotional email.
Its purpose is to directly generate revenue and raise awareness about merchandise and products. It’s segmented by customer purchase history, and it is characterized as urgent and brief and is often seasonally-themed.
Examples include direct selling, sales, discounts, closeouts and limited-time offers.
“The purpose is to directly or indirectly generate revenue and sales,” Talavera said. “That can mean raising awareness of merchandise, products, services available, encouraging use or trial and awareness of a system that may be free…The bottom line is to give us more of their business.”
Level 3 – Informational
While most email marketers are familiar with the first two levels, the next level begins the email marketing blueprint that is often underutilized, she said.
The informational email is designed to build relationships over time by educating and entertaining. These emails leverage content that’s often made on other channels.
These emails are fun for the audience and designed to attract and engage customers. It may include requests to engage in other channels such as YouTube or social media or helpful tips, downloads or how-tos.
Examples include interesting content like videos that the target audience finds interesting. It often employees a drip campaign but doesn’t ask for purchase but rather employs lower commitment calls to action.
Level 4 – Engagers
“This level of campaigns attempts to entertain, amuse and involve people or collect their feedback and input,” Talavera said. “The whole purpose being, if they are engaged, to develop in them a conditioned pattern of favorable response to us.”
She said that these emails at this level are highly audience-focused and are designed to boost engagement. These emails are mainly educational, entertaining, feedback-oriented through surveys, ratings and review requests and many are reward-driven through contests.
Level 5 – Personal
These emails are focused on specific subscriber behavior and based on consumer behavior. It’s all about reaching the right person at the right time, Talavera said.
They are highly personal, recognizing customers’ anniversary, birthdays and expire and renew dates.
These emails deploy automation and AI. They are sent in the lowest volume but receive the highest response rates. These emails may be only five to 20 percent of email volume but can account for 80 percent of conversions, she said.
Examples include welcome and onboarding, preference center and opt-in requests, abandonment recovery and next purchase recommendation.
Stay current with AMA Chicago
Also, read more AMA Chicago articles that focus on career advice, mentoring and marketing principles.