Nissan’s newsletters weren’t performing as well as they should have been, with opens and click-throughs lagging, according to Jeremy Meadows, the brand’s marketing communications manager. To remedy the problem, Nissan launched a year-and-a-half-long testing process where it explored all possible problems.
“When we restructured our monthly newsletter, we knew based on engagement that the format that we were starting with wasn’t driving engagement. Rather than have all these variants to test at the same time, we tested different things monthly. For example, one month we would test the subject line and evaluate whether version A works or version B? And we would be very specific about which KPI we were measuring to say whether that was a success or not,” Meadows says.
“Then we would move onto the length of the email and then to day of the week, time of the day, how many images, and we would systematically go through a whole testing plan over a year and a half. It did seem like it took a while but we had solid data to back up our decisions,” he adds.
The brand keeps its segmentation strategy as streamlined as its testing, dividing its list based on where subscribers are in their journey with brand. Meadow notes that Nissan works with two main types of lists: the first includes owners of the car model; and the second are customers who have expressed interest in learning more about a Nissan product, or “hand raisers,” as Meadows puts it.
“For the first group, our database goes back a number of years, so even if a subscriber doesn’t own a Nissan anymore we still have their information. For the second group, they may be hearing about the new Altima coming out and we have that information about that because they’ve asked us to send more information about a vehicle,” explains Meadows.
The types of emails subscribers receive and the frequency of sends depends on where they fall in the list, and how long they’ve owned their vehicles. When a customer that’s a hand raiser comes into the Nissan site and fills in information and pushes “submit,” they get an email response within a minute, according to Meadow. But the company also measures engagement over the life cycle of a car.
“In the first 90 days of buying a car, owners really want to be engaged because it’s a brand-new vehicle. So we send those emails at a higher frequency. When they move past that and have owned a vehicle for one or two years, we lessen the pace of how often we send communication to them. Then when a consumer is likely to be back at market, we start targeting them with a different cadence and a different type of communication that asks ‘How can we help guide you [in the new car buying] process,'” says Meadows.
Nissan also makes sure subscribers only get information that’s relevant to them. For example, customers who have signed on for information about an Altima will never get information about a Titan pick-up truck and vice versa. It’s also important for the brand to offer users exclusive content based on their interests.
“We like to make sure our customers that have shown interest in our vehicles are the first to know about it,” Meadows says. “So if we’re getting ready to unveil an all new Titan, we contact users who have owned a Titan or they currently own one. We let them know first. We don’t send that communication out to everybody. We try to be very targeted to a consumer based on their interest.”
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