Reports of the death of email marketing are premature. In fact it’s very much alive, kicking and delivering spectacular ROI for those businesses who know how to use it properly
While email marketing is ubiquitous across most industries, making it work requires specialist knowledge and access to a number of data analytics and automation tools.
Game publishers like to think of themselves as having a “digital first” mindset, but it’s often the case that although they hold a wealth of data which is being enriched 24/7 just by the very nature of their product, they don’t think of the marketing possibilities in that data. Especially when it comes to communicating directly with their player base. And anyway gamers are too busy gaming to read emails, aren’t they?
In this blog we explore the main benefits of adopting an email marketing strategy for game publishers.
Nobody uses email marketing anymore
Actually, yes they do. In the right hands, email marketing can deliver ROIs between three thousand and four thousand percent, making it one of the most cost-effective marketing channels out there. Recent research gathered by Hubspot shows that 59% of marketers say that email is their biggest source of ROI.
And while it’s true gamers use social media a lot, when it comes to getting their attention with personalised offers, nothing beats a well-crafted email. Especially since email is a “complementary activity”, with 69% of people perusing their emails while watching TV, 57% while in bed, and 79% while on vacation.
The gaming industry appeals to a broad demographic, across all genders and with an average age of 34 – exactly the kind of people who are used to seeing emails from brands and want to see messages from companies they already know. 99% of them check their emails every day, with over 50% saying they check their personal email accounts more than 10 times a day, and with 73% of “millennials” preferring to get their permission-based brand updates via email.
Add to this the fact that email subscribers are nearly four times more likely to share content on social media than customers who came through another channel, and you have an obvious path to growth and profit.
So do you still think your gamers are too busy playing your game to pay attention to your emails?
Email is your best marketing channel for player retention, cross-promotion and growth
Email has a longer reach than most other marketing channels and delivers your message right to your desired audience. Your product is collecting a massive wealth of data on your players day in, day out. You have the best opportunity of any industry to make email marketing really deliver for you.
But email marketing is evolving at a tremendous pace, and with new trends emerging such as automation and personalisation you really need to be on top of your own game to reap the potential returns.
Here are our five key reasons why email marketing is more important than ever in the gaming industry.
1. GDPR means you have permission and an active and engaged base
Far from being the bureaucratic hindrance it was feared to be, the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations in 2018 changed the way that companies communicate for the better. It may have reduced your addressable base but quality beats quantity every time, and what’s left is an incredibly active and connected customer base. Opted in players have given you their express permission to contact them with promotions and offers, so the resulting engagement metrics will be better than ever.
2. It keeps your brand top of mind
People pay more attention to marketing messages from brands they know and trust. They are more likely to buy upgrades, try new things and refer their friends. Use email marketing to nurture your player base and make them feel valued. A continuing cycle of direct communications will give you the opportunity to stay in touch, get to know them better (see below) and find out what keeps them playing. Regular emails from you in their in-boxes will help them feel part of the community.
3. You have the data to personalise email content
You are in a fortunate position that your customers are engaging directly with your product online so you are gathering a wealth of data that other industries would love. From the very moment they sign up you should start segmenting and adding tags to create individual player personas. You then use their history and behaviour to create segmented and targeted email campaigns throughout the player lifecycle.
You should make use of this data to personalise each and every email, starting with using the customer’s gamertag in the subject line - which is guaranteed to drive higher open and click-through rates.
Personalisation means putting the right content in front of the right customers and using it in a very deliberate way. Use what you know about your players behaviour and reactions in the game to inform the content of your emails. Dynamic email content – adapting it to fit the player’s persona or tag – makes it relevant, gives the impression that you’re paying attention and thinking up creative ways to enhance the player experience.
4. Its low cost – and delivers the best ROI of any marketing channel
When you create a strategy that works, the sky’s almost the limit when it comes to returns. And since email is one of the lowest cost marketing channels around, getting a decent ROI should be relatively easy. You should consider investing in specialist software to automate, track and evaluate your email campaigns, and there may be some overheads depending on the email service platform you use but these are far lower than most other mainstream marketing channels. The only other costs involved are in the design and creation of the email content.
5. It can be automated to player lifecycles and behaviours
One of the key emerging trends in email marketing is automation. This is where a customer’s activity triggers an automatic email from you. Automation works because the emails are timely, personalised and hyper-relevant to the recipient. As a result, they are opened and clicked more frequently. This can be a series of welcome messages, congratulations on levelling up, or getting them back into the game if they’ve not logged on as frequently as they used to.
The beauty of automation is that once you’ve set the emails up they fire off at exactly the right moment with no need for manual intervention from you. All you need to do is track the response and make adjustments where necessary.
The value of email marketing in the gaming industry is undeniable. But if you’re going to be successful you need a well-planned marketing strategy in place.
For help in making email part of your marketing game plan, contact us for a free initial consultation.