clipped from www.emarketingandcommerce.com
In this article Ryan Deutsch shares some tips and ideas to integrate web analytics with your email marketing efforts. Here are some of the takeaways:
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If you’re sending triggered emails in response to one-time events (for example, welcome emails, website confirmation downloads, etc.) then chances are your data is pretty good. Someone does “something” (subscribes, purchases, downloads, etc.) and you trigger an email in response to whatever that something may be.
But what about the following, more complicated, scenarios?
- The “something” event is comprised of multiple data points.
- The data lives in multiple systems.
- Your data isn’t clean.
Not so easy. Take, for example, a satisfaction survey you'd like to send 90 days before a customer is due to renew their contract, followed by a reminder email if they haven’t yet completed it, or a thank you email if they have. In theory, this would be an easy series to trigger:
- Send #1 = Renewal date – 90 days.
- Send #2 = Triggered thank you upon completion OR reminder email 7 days after survey invite sent.
- You have multiple (sometimes hundreds) subscribers stored per account in your CRM system. Not all contacts should receive the message.
- The data about what is due to renew / when it is due to renew is stored in a separate area of your CRM system, with no easy way to tie a subscriber to the renewal opportunity.
- Because you don’t delete data from our CRM system, the subscriber may no longer work at the company.
- The extensive survey is hosted by a third-part vendor, which means there is no real-time visibility into whether someone has completed the survey within our own system.
The list goes on, but suffice it to say that there is a lot of manual data cleaning that goes into pulling a satisfaction survey list and sending the series. So while this seems like an ideal campaign to trigger, it’s just not easy.
Understanding what data is needed, where it lives, and what obstacles stand in the way of easily getting that is a huge first step in the right direction. So if you’re looking to automate or optimize your triggered email marketing and have found yourself in a similar situation, understanding your data is a good place to start.
Source: Exact Target
Triggered campaigns center around website behaviors like previous purchases, abandoned carts, browse history, etc. They are becoming more and more popular due to their high subscriber relevancy and response. However, in the whirlwind to implement such high impact programs, it's easy to lose focus on the subscriber experience.
To truly optimize results, and foster your relationship with the subscriber, keep these three tips in mind:
- Be thorough in writing business rules to guide the program.
Although I'm sure the marketer had only the best of intentions, I recently received a Spring-themed email, with "personalized offers" for Christmas ornaments! If they would have considered seasonal goods in their business rules, I never would have received the odd, disjointed message - or better yet, they would have recognized my interest in seasonal holiday products and sent similarly related Spring items. A missed opportunity to wow the subscriber.
- Remember to set frequency limits.
One company recently promoted a sweepstakes through their email program. In one week, I received two regular promotional campaigns, but because I registered for the sweepstakes, also received the exact same sweepstakes email five times. Seven campaigns in seven days were overwhelming and disengaging. They could have tested to determine the ideal mix of promotional and triggered campaigns. Then, set frequency limits and prioritized campaign types to best manage the subscriber experience.
- Don't forget about recency.
The reason behavior-based campaigns work so well is due to their timeliness and relevance. One company makes it "convenient" to reorder by sending a list of every item I ever ordered from them, twice a month, regardless of whether or not I've made a purchase. This type of "shopping list" email could be helpful, if used as a gentle reorder reminder for replenishable goods, due to lapsed buying activity. However, in this case, the static content promoting items that I have often just purchased, has a negative conditioning effect on response.
Like most great email marketing ideas, the best tip of all is to start small and slow. Instead of creating a huge, complicated program that will be difficult to execute and hard to get resources for, start with a tiny piece. Figure out a common behavior that would be easy to trigger a message off of and then create just that message. Follow the tips here, measure the results then lather, rinse, repeat. Soon you'll find that you've created a response-driving, trigger-based email program with seemingly no effort.
Source: Return Path
In their whitepaper, The Retail Marketer’s Playbook: Your 180-Day Email Marketing Game Plan with Top 5 Plays, Responsys offers five “top plays” to make sure your e-mail marketing campaigns are relevant and effective:
1. Refine segmentation tactics.
Segmentation allows for more targeted e-mail messages. The white paper provides some tips on how to segment:
- Segment based on consumer behavior, not just demographic information.
- Use whatever data you have available, and send more relevant content to subsets of subscribers.
- Create different versions of your messages.
- Perform continual testing.
2. Improve transactional messaging.
Transactional e-mails are highly relevant and very likely to be opened and read. Therefore, they should offer the customer something, furthering his or her relationship with you. Recommend additional products or services the customer might want or need; offer a subscription to your newsletter; and send transactional messages in HTML format to reinforce your brand.
3. Strengthen welcome messaging.
In e-mail, it’s imperative to make a good first impression: “The moment you acquire a consumer’s e-mail address is a key point of engagement—quite possibly the most relevant and defining moment in the relationship.” Suggestion: send new subscribers a series of well-timed and well-designed HTML e-mails that grab attention.
4. Reengage customers with a win-back program.
With the cost of attracting new customers so high, it’s important to keep existing customers coming back. Every e-mail marketing team should implement an automated win-back program. Let customers know you’ve noticed that they haven’t made a purchase in a while; send surveys to solicit feedback, and make an exclusive offer that’s too good to pass up. The more you engage your customers in a positive way, the more likely they’ll stick around.
5. Recover revenue with a cart abandonment program.
Shopping carts are great tools for e-mail marketers, but just because people put items in their cart doesn’t mean they’ll buy them. However, the interest is there, so Responsys suggests you help nudge these would-be consumers along with these tips:
- Trigger the timely delivery of e-mail messages to potential purchaser who abandoned their shopping carts;
- provide easy access to saved shopping carts;
- include quick links to more information about shipping and return policies or alternative methods of ordering; and
- offer a special discount to accelerate the buying cycle.
You can download this whitepaper here.
Source: Target Marketing
Increasingly, marketers are turning to triggered campaigns to achieve the level of relevancy needed to compete in today’s marketplace. Part timing and part content, trigger campaigns aim to deliver the information and offers customers want at the precise time in the buying cycle.
To produce quick wins when implementing a trigger program, consider the following ideas:
- Welcome programs. Companies can get more bang for their buck with dynamic, multistage and multichannel messaging.
- Abandonment programs. Trigger campaigns work for both shopping cart and application abandonment activities. And it’s still viable if the company has a small audience size but high-value sale value.
- Winback program. If customers will buy replenishments or second purchases within a specific time frame, then triggered efforts can drive this action and reduce attrition.
- Transactional-based contact. Any kind of contact that can be automated but still offer additional sales or customer relationship opportunities works on a triggered basis.
Source: Target Marketing
I was resistant. I kept saying no. I refused. We were not getting Xbox Live.
The beloved Xbox 360 had to be sent in for a warranty repair. The fine folks at Microsoft tried and tried and after about six weeks, admitted defeat and sent a brand new Xbox 360 to my house. Because the machine was gone for the bulk of the summer (pure torture for my ten year old “gamer”) we received a one month complimentary subscription to Xbox Live.
I gave in.
There is a lot to Xbox Live. In an effort to inform new subscribers about all of the features, Xbox Live sent me three emails over the course 12 days.
I assume this is an automated campaign that rolls the messages out on a predetermined schedule. Using a recurring messaging feature as a way to welcome new subscribers by showing them the ins and the outs of all you have to offer is a great way start the relationship.
Trigger-based emails can be generated when a recipient takes an action such as opening an email, clicking on a link or submitting a form. Additionally an email can be triggered if a customer or subscriber's profile changes or matches a particular demographic. Triggers can be used for a variety of scenarios such as to automate sales lead notifications, confirmation emails, send thank you messages for completing a survey or to send a follow-up offer to a recipient that clicks on a specific link. (source: EmailLabs)
The Palmer Web Marketing Blog talks about 2 great ways to increase conversions on your website through automated trigger based email messages:
1. Email Customers Who Abandon Their Shopping Carts
An extremely smart tactic to bring back lost sales is to checkup on those people who never complete the checkout process. If you have already captured the customers' email address, you can easily send them a friendly message informing them that you're currently trying to improve your checkout process, and you apologize if they found anything confusing. In addition, you might want to give them a coupon code as an additional incentive for bringing them back.
2. Add a "email me when in-stock" feature
This feature is a no-brainer for sites that frequently sell out of their inventory. However, it's amazing how few websites actually do it. Here's how it works: Anytime a customer visits a product detail page that displays an "out of stock" notice, give them the option to be emailed if the item becomes available again. This serves two purposes.
First, it gives you an opportunity to capture their email address (opt in, of course). And second, it gives you the opportunity to save the sale if you re-stock the item. Now wait a minute, you think, most websites don't allow people to visit pages of items that are out of stock. That's true, but keep in mind that search engines will keep these pages indexed for some time. In addition, people frequently bookmark pages of products they would like to purchase in the future. This feature is even more useful if you sell a product that comes in multiple sizes or colors. For example, if you sell widgets that are available in both green and blue, and the green widgets are out of stock, your customer's can be emailed when that color is re-stocked. Just like that, another lost sale is captured!
Source: Palmer Web Marketing Blog
In this case study MarketingSherpa tells the story of how SmartBargains.com made four budget-conscious automated email programs thrive by mixing in a healthy dose of Web analytics. Very inspiring!
The article includes how-to tips, creative samples and results data. (Open access until Nov. 13th)