Email May Not Be Sexy – But It’s HOT!
Despite the ongoing challenges to email, it still rules as a major customer service and marketing channel. Here are some insights from an industry veteran about how to take your email campaigns to the next level.
All the buzz today is about social and mobile, but the true workhorses for direct marketers are direct mail and email. Both channels are not particularly sexy, but they certainly do work!
I’m going to focus on email. Let’s start with research from the Direct Marketing Association in late 2011:
- Email is the single marketing channel that produces the highest ROI.
- For every dollar invested in this highly profitable channel, the return on investment in 2012 is 39.40. (The second highest channel is search, pegged at $22.38.)
One major reason for email’s top position is that it is inexpensive – particularly if you use it to communicate with opt-in customers and prospects. While it is relatively easy to “batch and blast” email, savvy marketers take advantage of personalizing technology to make their efforts pay off.
Here are three concepts that will help you take your email program to the next level:
Relevance is all about making your customer feel special. Use the data you collected when they signed up, and personalize your emails. Better yet, if you can link email subscribers to your customer database, you know if they interact with you in multiple channels how much they’ve spent with you and what they buy. You can mine this data to focus on offers, products and promotions that will capture their attention.
Take it a step further and look at their behavior in terms of what truly interests them. If you have good tracking in place, you should be able to connect email activity (a click-through on a particular link) to site activity (did they view multiple pages, how much time did they spend online, what product categories did they focus on?)
Then, you can use this data to present products and offers that are truly of interest.
Dynamic personalization in email can boost relevance. The basic concept behind it is to set up if/then rules to deliver appropriate messaging. To keep this process simple, think of your email template(s). Reserve a block within the template to present relevant content. Let’s pretend it’s the dead of winter and you sell shoes. With dynamic personalization, the first item featured to those in the north are Uggs boots – and to those in the south, Birkenstock sandals. The rest of the message might be the same for all, but the primary offer will resonate more based on geography. It’s more relevant. And the latest email technology makes this easy to do.
Triggered messaging can be pure gold for marketers. These messages are also based on rules that look at user actions (or inaction) from email and your website (for example, a welcome message sent within minutes of someone signing up for your email program).
My two favorite triggered messages are:
- Cross-selling in email order confirmations
- Sending an email to someone who has started the check-out process at your website but did not complete the order
You are leaving money on the table if you don’t try these two techniques!
Today, between 50% and 75% of all Web shopping carts are abandoned. Do nothing, and you’ve lost the sale. Send one or more reminders that the customer has left something in their cart and you can re-capture between 5% and 15% of otherwise lost sales. My advice is to send more than one email and don’t start with a discount.
And, if possible, you should picture the abandoned item in the email.
It Works. Period.
Let me close with one marketer’s experience that I recently observed: Only 4.1% of their total email volume was triggered and transactional in nature. Yet a whopping 41.2% of their email trackable sales were generated from those messages! I hope that’s an eye-opener for you.
To thrive in today’s marketplace, be relevant, and use dynamic personalization and triggered email messages. You’ll be glad you did!