Use Data to Improve E-Mail Effectiveness

Remember the good old days? You know, six or seven years ago, when spam wasn’t running rampant and recipients actually opened a good percentage of their email? Those were simpler times. An online marketer could create mass-marketing email campaigns and actually get a decent response rate. E-mail was a marketer’s dream: cheap, easy, and effective.

Those days are behind us. Most people filter nearly all their email, reading only a few of the remaining messages. Users are exceedingly email savvy. They know what pertains specifically to them and what doesn’t. Many messages are deleted, never to be seen again. As the number of email messages skyrockets, consumers are less and less tolerant of permission-based email. As a result, even email they requested is classified as spam and deleted.

Marketers struggle to find new ideas and compelling offers to raise open rates and click-throughs. It may be time to modify your whole customer communications philosophy. Think about adjusting email campaigns to fit a customer-centric, as opposed to marketer-centric, approach. In other words, opt for an event-driven strategy. Your customers’ actions trigger the email they receive.

This can be done using several tactics:

  • Leverage each visit to your site. Engage customers after they leave your Web site, especially if they haven’t made a purchase. That way, your company is still fresh in their minds. They’re less likely to believe your email is spam. This email should take into account their recent visits to your site. Offer prospects a sweet deal on the products they looked at but didn’t buy. Or, send additional information to help them make more informed purchase decisions.

  • Cross-sell intelligently. Use business rules as well as customer intelligence to send the right offer at the right time. Instead of trying to figure out which customers can be sold a specific product, consider the whole customer life cycle and different purchases a customer might make over time. Then, automate email interactions to maximize the chance of proposing the right offer at the right time.
  • Adjust your tracking reports. Although it’s important to keep track of open rates, CTRs, purchases, and so on, put in place a system that tracks specific customer segments. That way, you’ll know how effective your customer-centric email is. You’ll be in a better position to fine-tune mailing frequency and content relevancy.

By doing all of the above, your email communications will again become highly relevant. They’ll stand above the spam and mass permission-based email that clogs your recipients’ inboxes.

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Strategies is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

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