4 Ways to Use Email to Improve Website Conversions

  |  April 10, 2012   |  Comments

Make the most of every email campaign by increasing your relevance to customers.

Email marketing is still one of the most effective sales channels, but many marketers overlook simple ways to optimize the performance of their email campaigns.

According to Forrester Research, email marketing spending will reach $2.5 billion by 2016, up 63 percent from 2011. Clearly email marketing represents a key way to reach customers, but even if you succeed in getting someone to click a link from within an email, it doesn't mean you're guaranteed to get the all-important conversion.

Here are four ways that marketers can make the most of every email campaign by increasing their relevance to customers.

1. The science of segmentation. Marketers are already slicing and dicing their user data to come up with accurate profiles of customers. So why not use that knowledge to improve your site experience? By creating different website experiences for active customers - segmented even further to customers who have made a purchase in the past six months - versus inactive customers, marketers will likely see an increase in their conversion rates.

For example, an email sent to an inactive customer may include a promotion code or contain a badge on a particular item that emphasizes its status as a best-selling or top-rated product. With that insight, you can create a reacquisition session highlighting the promo code, products, or relevant content that will bring that customer back into your active file. Look to highlight new products, new features, and anything that has changed since the last time they visited your website. The key is to keep them coming back for more.

2. Maintaining messaging from the email to the landing page. Ensuring consistency between products featured in email promotions and those highlighted on the landing page is key to increasing your relevance to customers, and improving their likelihood to convert.

For example, if an email highlights rain gear or dresses, the website should also emphasize those products. When customers click on polo shirts in an email, consider taking them to the polo shirt section of the website where they can see other polo shirts or related products. The key is to know what your customer is looking for and give it to them. Practicing sound consistency in your email program will help boost conversion rates and will improve the overall customer experience.

My company has a case study on maintaining messaging from email to the landing page, what we often refer to as "Email Echo."

3. Badging pays off. In order to maximize ROI from your email program, you should remind the user of what triggered them to click through from the email in the first place. A great way to achieve this is by highlighting popular or best-selling products on the landing page with badges that reinforce the messages included in the email.

For example, a pair of hiking boots that were featured in an email may have a badge on the website that says "Featured Email Product" or "Email Exclusive." Badges emphasize value and reinforce products featured in the email promotion, which encourages higher click-through rates and average order values.

4. My device, my message. Targeting users based on technographic elements like the device on which they are viewing the website provides you with a much broader perspective of the customer and allows you to optimize content and messaging on the landing page based on screen size limitations and other device-specific factors such as finger-swiping, pinching, or double-tapping on iPads.

If you know your customer is visiting the website from a Droid or iPhone, make sure they can very easily get to the part of the site that's being promoted rather than have the customer micro-navigate from the small screen.

Different devices also call for different navigational experiences. On mobile devices with less screen real estate, promotions may need to be called out in a more overt way than on the desktop version of the website. Finding ways to make the website easier to navigate from different devices will win over customers and keep them coming back.

Improve the Customer Experience by Increasing Relevance

Many brands aren't using the knowledge they already have about their customers from their email marketing campaigns to deliver a more relevant website experience that speaks to different segments of customers. By expanding your segmentation focus beyond the email to your website, you can dramatically improve the customer experience. Using these simple actions that leverage the knowledge you already have about your customers will help you improve conversion rates and turn email browsers into buyers.

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Nathan Richter

Nathan Richter advises top enterprise clients including Best Buy, QVC, Urban Outfitters, Sports Authority, and PETCO on website optimization. A veteran of digital marketing and online retailing, Richter has extensive hands-on experience helping enterprise clients implement successful multichannel marketing campaigns. Richter has directed online marketing and site optimization programs for David’s Bridal, QVC, The Franklin Mint, and dELiA's.

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