As budgets are squeezed and PPC rates continue to climb, many marketing managers are turning to email as a means to achieve better returns. Some businesses seem able to achieve spectacular returns from their email activities while others lag well behind. So, what’s the secrets?
I've work with a number of email vendors and also seen how email technology is used by some of my most successful clients. In addition to the standard best practice of choosing the right subject line and putting the call to action at the top so that it appears in the preview window, I believe that there is one thing that makes the difference between a good and a great email campaign: Target the campaign based on web behavior.
I have seen email open rates more than double and conversion rates soar as clients go live with their email behavioral targeting projects. One client I worked with recently calculated that the additional revenue generated equated to a 6 week pay-back even when all of their internal planning and implementation costs were included.
Although running a mail merge can achieve a degree of personalisation, this is not the same as behavioral targeting. Of course you need to personally address your emails and include personal information where this is appropriate. Behavioral targeting however is much more than this. The email that a person receives should be pertinent to their needs and should contain exactly the right message if you are to maximise the resultant conversion. To do this you need to understand the recipient’s preferences and construct an email based on these. If they visited your website and searched on villa holidays in Spain but bought nothing, the next email they receive should list villa holidays and holidays in Spain. If they viewed articles on a particular subject you can infer a preference and send them an email inviting them to view similar content.
Most enterprise class web analytics systems integrate with a number of email and CRM systems and can be configured such that the Visitor ID held matches one held within the email or CRM system. In this way visitor activity information can be passed directly to the CRM system for use within the segmentation activities that are performed immediately prior to each email campaign.
Having run the campaign, the web analytics system can be used to analyse the success of each campaign and provide follow up lists of those that did and did not convert. This enables follow up campaigns to be run and provides true closed loop marketing. Once an organisation has closed the marketing loop the results can be spectacular.