The Best Marketing Channel for B2C ROI? Email.


Like us, you know that email has the potential to be your most effective, profitable marketing channel. And if you ever needed any more proof, the latest research affirms what email marketers have known for years: it beats print, direct mail, TV, search, programmatic ads, display/video messages, and audio experiences in terms of ROI for every department dollar you spend according to 62% of B2C marketers.

But email’s benefits don’t stop at B2C ROI—because this proven communication path also leads both digital and offline channels for acquiring new customers and for driving fast sales gains, coming in second only to paid search for ease in tracking and measuring results. 

If you need further confirmation that email rules in customer engagement (in addition to ROI as we just mentioned), look no further than the massive Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp Outage of 2021 that just took place—and where email was a lifesaver in a nearly 6-hour sea of frustrations caused by offline platform alerts and configuration errors.

So, make this moment matter and jump on your opportunity to create catchy, engaging email campaigns that remind customers you’re never more than a click in their inbox away. And—more importantly—deliver maximum B2C ROI to keep your boss(es) smiling, too.

Make advanced personalization a priority

In the intro above, we addressed email’s value in general. But we’re well-aware that not all campaigns drive the same value. Or are even intended to/used to do so.

A broadcast email campaign will go out to major segments of your audience. But with little to no personalization or offer targeting their specific needs, your message will ultimately go ignored by most—obviously failing to generate anywhere near the level of ROI as a personalized campaign using collected customer data to create unique content for each recipient. And with automation added into the mix, the possibilities are endless.

5 email marketing best practices that maximize B2C ROI, revenue, and engagement

With the holidays bearing down on email marketers everywhere, retail and ecommerce teams are looking for last-minute campaign ideas that come with the promise of producing high-value interactions and building loyal, engaged buyers that visit your store more than once a year.

So, here are five best practices we recommend to reduce the stress—and increase results—this season and beyond:

1. Forget welcome emails. It’s all about the onboarding experience now.

The first email you send after someone opts in is the most important one your email marketing program will ever send. It does more than just say “Thanks for joining us.” It’s your first opportunity to sell directly to your new customers through email—and to learn more about their personal buying habits, shopping behaviors, product preferences, and more from your first interaction.

Opt-in is the point at which any subscriber’s interest in your brand peaks, so strike while the interest is high and sprinkle opportunities to go back to your website and shop later to drive engagement through personalization and the data insights you collect..

A few suggestions: 

  • Deliver opt-in discounts, incentives, and other promotions into a follow-up message after you confirm someone’s email address. This lets you strategically increase the number you send to new customers while managing cadence and maintaining relevance
  • Include shoppable merchandise recommendations in every onboarding email you send, whether based on current promotions or clickstream and preference data
  • Follow up several days later with a reminder to use the subscription incentive you sent
  • Begin collecting data now through preference requests, simple surveys, or polls and then use these insights later to segment and personalize future messages

2. Build repeat purchases with dynamic triggered content

During the holiday season, you’ll have hordes of new customers visiting your site and buying in-store for the very first time. That first purchase is the easy one, though. Second and third purchases upgrade one-time buyers into long-time customers. And isn’t that really what your job is all about?

Fortunately, triggered and targeted messages can bring first-time customers back to buy again. But you need to offer more than the basic 20%-off discount to rise above the noise of all the other brands in your buyers’ inboxes. Because they too are trying to woo your customers into coming back!

Messages featuring product recommendations or displays that reflect customer preferences, purchases, and browsing sessions can make all the difference here. And you don’t need to call them out as “Suggested for You” buys, either. Instead, incorporate them in message images—a pair of skinny jeans by a brand your customer browses regularly on a model looks more interesting than a straight product shot with no context.

But who has time when you’re deep in December to create 50 versions of one email, each with a different hero product image? Nobody—that’s why dynamic content is your co-savior here.

With a little upfront rule-writing work, you can leave it to automation to choose the right product for each customer group, and you can think about other things—such as keeping your loyalty program members, well,  loyal.

3. Reward your recipients with mystery 

Persuading customers to join your loyalty program is one thing. Keeping them active, buying products, and generating streams of first-party data you can use to make your emails even more relevant? That’s an entirely different challenge.

Suppose your marketing budget doesn’t have enough room in it by the end of the year for anything bigger than a variable-size discount. No problem! Wrap it up in a fun, interactive mystery reveal-the-deal message that begs customers to click on it and find out what their special deal is. It’s not quite the same as unwrapping a present, but it’s the best digital alternative out there—and brands like NASCAR prove why.

Share this irresistible mystery deal with new VIPs or with loyalty program members who show signs of churning soon. Or, dangle it in front of members who need just a few more points or purchases to move to the next tier in your program. Mystery deals are flexible enough to accommodate every customer group from newbies to inactives—and effective enough to raise your B2C ROI simultaneously, too.

4. Make your customer experience more friendly and flexible

Credit cards did away with layaway at many big-box retailers, but multiple delayed payments are back in a big way. Because ecommerce has brought traditional retail tactics and technology together for a blended payment option known as Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL).

BNPL programs like Affirm and Klarna encourage customers to buy more often, increase orders, and more frequently buy premium products without loading up their credit cards all at once. Customers can enjoy their purchases right away, and you get the revenue right away. Everybody wins.

Promoting BNPL can increase email marketing performance KPIs like revenue per email (probably the best measure of campaign success) or average order value, to say the least. So, encourage customers to use BNPL within your emails. Send a stand-alone message that promotes your BNPL services,and features their logos and copy in every place where they’re relevant and stand a chance to increase intent to purchase.

5. Thank shoppers after the holiday season with special offers

When the holiday season is over, many brands simply move on to the next major calendar event. But this year is unprecedented, so why not shake things up a little bit by pausing to thank the customers who shopped with you all year instead of just one season? How you choose to express your thanks can depend on what you want your customers to do next. Here are some options:

  • Include a bounce-back offer to bring loyal shoppers back to your site in Q1
  • Segment out buyers who are not in your loyalty program and invite them to join
  • Create a series of emails that show customers how to care for their new products. While this might not directly drive sales, you can extend the series into January or February when buyers might be ready to purchase again.

Want more tips? We have them!

Our new guide, The Smart Marketer’s Guide to 2021 Holiday Success, has tips and tactics from cover to cover, and all geared to help you achieve all your marketing goals and increase your ROI this season and beyond. Download it for free today!


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