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The shift is here.

If you’re like most professional organizations, you put on your professional hat when you get to the office every day. You’re in the trenches, focused on finding new members, boosting attendance numbers, growing your prospect list, and analyzing the data. You’re up to your elbows in opens, clicks, and conversions.

When the numbers aren’t what you want, you try new messages and offers—you send more and more emails. Despite all your efforts, your numbers still disappoint.

So what’s the deal? There is a disconnect.

Talking to your members and prospects as if they are data points or retention numbers is cold and creates detachment. Communications that are purely professional don’t inspire people. They don’t empathize with pain points or let people get to know you. What’s missing is the human element. You must cross over—shift from professional to personable to engage people and build lasting loyalty.

“Forward movement is not helpful if what is needed is a change of direction.”

This shift is more than just the way you talk to people. It involves being mindful of your members—even when you don’t immediately profit from doing so. It means taking a holistic approach that considers the bigger picture and meets people where they are.

The great news is that once you make this shift, all your numbers will dramatically improve. People will feel valued. They will feel accountable to you, another human. As a result, they will join, renew, attend, volunteer, and engage. They will bring others into your fold. They’ll roll up their sleeves and rally around your initiatives.

You must be real and transparent if you want people to engage on a meaningful level. If you can’t shift your thinking to forge authentic human relationships— nothing else you do will matter.

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6 Email Performance Issues and How You Can Solve Them

Once you establish your holistic email marketing strategy and set your campaigns in motion, you will need to monitor performance to see if all your hard work pays off. Common email metrics such as deliverability, opens, clicks, and unsubscribe rates are good starting points to measure performance. But these metrics only tell part of the story. Also consider your specific goals, such as growing your subscriber list, increasing event attendance, or converting prospects into members. If your email campaigns aren’t performing to expectations, examine individual metrics as well as the big picture to see where you can improve.

Here are six common email issues and what you can do to boost your results using a holistic approach.


Poor Deliverability

If your deliverability rates are low, chances are your list is outdated or it was purchased from a less-than-reputable source. The highest quality list is one you create organically by asking people to opt-in—through in-person events, digital advertising, or other marketing efforts. It’s virtually impossible to have successful holistic email marketing without a clean list of interested members and prospects.


Too Few Clicks to Landing Page

If your landing page didn’t get as many views as you would like, you may need to work harder to drive more traffic there. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to send more emails. Research from Informz suggests relevancy, rather than frequency, has a greater impact on click rates. Examine your message to make sure it resonates with your audience and aligns with the customer journey.

Other factors such as time of day and day of the week also affect open and click rates. Experiment or A/B test to maximize your results once you have your messaging dialed in. Some marketing automation platforms have an optimization tool that automatically sends emails based on a subscriber’s past behavior.


High Unsubscribe Rate

Generally speaking, your unsubscribe rate for each campaign should be less than 1%. Any more than that could indicate that the people on your list did not formally subscribe—or that they subscribed with certain expectations that aren’t being met. Revisit the criteria for placing someone on your list. Set clearer expectations by revising any communications that encourage people to opt-in.


Low Conversions

If people were moved to click on your email but didn’t convert on your landing page, it could mean your offer was not compelling enough. Ask yourself: Is this offer relevant to the target segment? Does it enable their goals or solve a pain point? Is it aligned with the buying cycle? Is the timing right? Keep in mind your offers might vary depending on the segment. Determine what matters most to each segment, and tailor your offers accordingly. Feature only one call to action in each email to avoid confusing your audience or losing people along the way.


Few New Leads

If your email campaign didn’t generate as many new leads as you would like, give people a reason to share your content. Consider providing a link to a free download that’s worth forwarding on. You might also incentivize your message. For example, offer a two-for-one registration special if a member attends your event with a colleague.


Disappointing Membership or Attendance Numbers

If your email campaign didn’t generate enough members or event attendees, you may need to revise your automated workflows. Consider adjusting your offers, timing, frequency, or other factors. Examine lead scores and segments to help you optimize your message and formats.

Keep in mind that email is only part of your overall holistic marketing strategy. The success of your email campaigns is linked to the rest of your branding efforts—including your digital advertising, collateral, direct mail pieces, and in-person events. You might need to tweak your other efforts to maximize results from your email campaigns.


The Big Picture

Analyzing individual metrics is essential to optimizing your email marketing performance. But don’t forget to look at the big picture as well. Segmentation, personalization, and automation improve email results across the board but only when they’re well informed and well executed. Spend some time getting to know your audience and their behaviors. Based on the data, ask yourself if your segments are meaningful categories that help you focus your efforts. Verify that your campaign themes are relevant and inspiring. Consider whether you communicate the measurable ROI of your events and offers. Determine your timing in light of the customer journey as well as other industry events.

Examining these global considerations—and making adjustments based on your analysis—will not only improve your holistic email marketing. It will improve all your marketing and engagement efforts. When all your initiatives are integrated to present a seamless brand experience, it’s easier to rally your base into action—to attend your events, volunteer for committees, or achieve breakthroughs in your industry. Your goal with email and other channels should always be thoughtful communications that show your value while enabling your audience’s goals.

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3 Components of Holistic Email Marketing

In a perfect world, every marketing email you send would be a personalized, one-to-one communication based on everything you know about your recipient. It would provide meaningful information and just the right offer to meet their current needs. While it’s not practical to send everyone on your list a personal email at every step of their customer journey, holistic email marketing is the next best thing.

Holistic email marketing puts the customer first. It lets the member or prospect tell you what they need when they need it so you can deliver a seamless brand experience. This customer-first approach also benefits your organization and your industry. It can dramatically improve your email campaign results while fueling engagement, event attendance, membership, and retention. Getting started with holistic email marketing requires three components: segmentation, personalization, and automation.


Segmented Audience Targeting

To provide the most relevant, timely email messages and offers, you will first need to look at your audience and group them into meaningful categories, called segments. Research shows that segmented email campaigns achieve better results than mass emails.

Consider dividing your list based on a contact’s defining characteristics, such as industry, job title, geographic location, or lead score. You can also segment based on an existing list, such as past event attendees. Another approach would be to segment by actions taken, for example, a form submission or purchase made. You will also need to determine where individuals are in their customer journey: Are they new to your organization? Are they first timers or veteran event attendees? Has their membership lapsed? Is it time to renew?


6 Types of Personalized Communications

Once you establish your audience segments, the next step is to personalize messages for each group. Personalized emails are immediately more relevant to your audience. They reduce perceived information overload, and they boost engagement. Depending on your audience segments, you might send one of these six emails tailored to the customer journey.

  1. Welcome emails—provide background information for those new to your organization; include offers that reassure their intent and encourage them to engage
  2. Lead nurturing—help people move through the buying cycle by sending regular messages that show your organization’s value and promote year-round engagement
  3. Event promotion—send registration emails, special promotions, and post-event follow-up to drive attendance and encourage repeat attendance
  4. Inactive subscriber campaigns—target individuals on your list who haven’t opened or clicked in a while with messages and offers that compel them to re-engage
  5. Membership renewal messages—send emails based on when individual memberships expire to fuel your retention efforts
  6. Lapsed member campaigns—schedule a drip campaign to invite lapsed members to rejoin your organization, attend an event, and engage with peers again

To achieve the greatest results, you should pair each email with a custom landing page that has the same look and feel, messaging, and offer as your email. The landing page should also present an easy way for your audience to take action. For example, include an obvious button to click or form to fill out. Make only one offer to avoid overwhelming people or losing them along the way. Also ensure that your landing page is mobile optimized for efficient navigation.


Marketing Automation

The third component in holistic email marketing is automation. Holistic email marketing takes cues from your audience members’ actual behaviors to determine next steps—such as a phone call, direct mail piece, or another email message. To streamline this process without draining your staff resources and budget, you can use a marketing automation platform, such as Informz.

Using marketing automation, you can set up custom workflows, schedule emails, and score leads as they come in. Once you establish the workflows, the platform takes care of the next steps automatically. You monitor performance as you go and make adjustments to headlines, copy, offers, and visuals as needed.


Why Holistic Email Marketing?

Simply put, people are more likely to engage in issues that matter to them personally. Before you launch another email campaign, ask yourself, “How can we help our members and prospects achieve their objectives?” Quite often, the answer to this question will vary based on your individual audience members. Some need to become aware of your organization and its benefits. Others seek specific tools to advance their careers. Perhaps others need a little nudge to re-engage with your organization.

Holistic email marketing helps you reach all these individuals with relevant, personalized messages no matter where they are in their customer journey. The result is eager, engaged members and attendees that work hard for your organization year after year.

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