Year after year, we hear that email is making a comeback, it’s consistently driving significant sales conversion, retention, and loyalty, and that it is…Definitely. Not. Dead. Yes, email has been in perpetual resurrection mode for some time now. And evidence of email’s importance keeps accumulating, the latest of which is The Forrester Wave: Email Marketing Vendors Q3 2014 report. In addition to vendor rankings, the report also paints a bright future for email as the hub of an integrated, cross-channel marketing approach that drives consumer action throughout the lifecycle.
So what does this mean for you, if you’re responsible for managing email marketing initiatives? It’s time to put that innovation into action!
Let’s start by thinking about one of the interesting data points that came out of the Forrester report. In the report, email marketers are asked how long their companies have been using a range of email marketing innovations. (A full copy of the report can be accessed here.)
Areas that have already seen a high level of adoption are triggers and personalization. This reaffirms how important contextual, real-time messages are – and that most marketers are already actively pursuing initiatives in those areas.
And when it comes to innovation not currently in use, but planned for, the top two focus areas are microsegment targeting and open-time personalization. These two areas are all about context and delivering the right message at the right time and right place.
Let’s take a look at how email marketers can tackle these new innovations to optimize their email messaging impact.
Data drives digital experiences, and microtargeting is all about the data. Marketers need to start with data discovery; those not currently focused on microsegments should audit available data that will support the goal of delivering contextual, real-time messaging. With a set of actionable data opportunities in sight, a focus on a segmentation strategy and testing top opportunities will illuminate key insights to apply to future programs.
Begin anywhere and evaluate data based on profile information, social data, purchase data, site behavior, and other data that may be used to drive context. Creating data access and testing plans is the first step.
Context is king. When an email is opened, the goal is to make it as contextually relevant to the recipient as possible at that moment. The personalization possibilities are endless. Here are just a few of the options available:
- Mobile Device Detection: Understanding whether or not a mobile device is being used to open emails and which device is being used provides many personalization opportunities. Use email to drive mobile application downloads and personalize with device-specific content for a cross-channel win.
- Timing: Use timing-oriented data to deliver custom content related to inventory counts and countdown clocks to drive a sense of urgency via email.
- Location: Leverage location data to provide local details on weather, local resources, maps, and other local information that will be valued by the recipient.
- Social Integration: Social feed integration into email delivers compelling user generated content and facilitates great cross-channel engagement.
As email marketers, let’s enjoy our day in the sun and keep our lenses focused on the new innovations that are driving contextual experiences and results. Shine on email!
Image via Shutterstock.
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