Update: email is still thriving. 3.8 million worldwide email users send 281 million daily emails in 2018, according to the Radicati Group’s latest email statistics report. Those numbers are projected to grow to 4.1 million email users and 319 million daily emails by 2021. With this continued growth, consumer inboxes are becoming increasingly viable spaces for effective marketing, and according to Econsultancy, three-quarters of companies agree that email offers “excellent” to “good” ROI. So, how do marketers maximize the opportunity?
Email marketing segmentation refers to creating specialized groups within an email list, allowing marketers to send highly targeted content to those groups. Why would anyone do such a thing, you ask? Because the results are striking: the open rate for segmented email campaigns is 14.31% higher than non-segmented campaigns, and the click-through rate surpasses non-segmented campaigns by a whopping 100.95%.
Segmented email campaigns are especially valuable to the senior living world because they allow providers to target leads throughout the senior buyer’s journey, which is often a complicated and emotionally-driven one. Here’s how you can use email marketing segmentation to help drive conversions.
Create your segments
It’s key to have a strategy as you segment your leads. Sure, they’ve all expressed interest in your organization, but what creates differentiation between them? Oftentimes, it comes down to where they are in the buyer’s journey. Regardless of your CRM’s specific classification system, all leads can be divided into at least three stages of buyer readiness: thinking, planning and action. A basic way to segment your leads would be to divide them into these three stages, but it’s far from the only way. Here are some other email marketing segmentation ideas:
- Prospective resident, spouse, or adult child: Who is it you’re speaking to?
- Demographic: Age and gender are two primary factors to consider when drafting content.
- Pre-tour or post-tour: Don’t send an email marketing campaign that encourages scheduling a tour to a lead who already toured your community earlier that week.
- Type of care: If your organization offers independent living, assisted living and memory care, segmenting leads by the type of care they’ve expressed interest in is a must.
Talk to your sales team
Highly targeted content doesn’t come from thin air — in order to create content that speaks to your segments, you need insider information. This is one of the many reasons to consistently communicate with your sales team. Ask them for a weekly update on lead behavior — what stands out? Are they noticing any trends or patterns? For example, maybe they’ve led several tours recently where two adult children were present: one who wanted to move their parent into a community ASAP, and another who expressed more resistance. Perhaps you could create an email marketing campaign for leads in the “thinking” and “planning” stages with a relevant content offer such as an e-book called “When Is It Time for Assisted Living?” Or, let’s say they’ve been meeting with prospective residents who love the community but are hesitant to put down a deposit because the idea of leaving the home they’ve lived in for 30+ years is intimidating. Book a senior move manager to lead a downsizing seminar at your community and make sure those folks receive an emailed invitation.
Tailor your content
If a chunk of your leads are veterans, send them emails promoting your community’s weekly veterans group and that upcoming presentation on Aid and Attendance. If you’re a memory care community that hosts a monthly spousal support group, email prospective residents’ spouses inviting them to join in. Think about the audiences you’re speaking to and devote time and energy to creating content, events and offers that will be valuable to those folks. Be creative and strategic — it will pay off.
Test your campaigns
Performing A/B testing on your email marketing campaigns takes little extra time and allows you to see how different factors affect open and click-through rates. By testing subject lines, from names, email content and send times, you can learn a lot about your leads and what it takes to engage them, and the results can be surprising. Keep in mind it’s important to test only one variable per campaign in order to ensure you can nail down how each one affects engagement.
Measure your results
Keep track of opens, clicks, unsubscribes, hard and soft bounces, shares, forwards and conversion rates for each email marketing campaign you send out. Most email marketing platforms, including MailChimp and Constant Contact, provide reports for each campaign where you can easily find these metrics. Create a spreadsheet where you can record KPIs for all campaigns 48 hours after they’ve deployed — this will allow you to track results cumulatively and compare campaigns more easily. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t, adjusting your campaigns accordingly.
There is delight in receiving a piece of email marketing that feels useful and relevant to you as an individual. Harness that feeling and work to deliver it to your leads through email marketing segmentation and targeted content — it may take some extra time, but it will make a difference in your bottom line.
If you’d like guidance on your senior living community’s email marketing strategy, feel free to reach out. We’d be happy to provide a free mini-assessment.