166 posts categorized "Strategy" Feed

Winning back inactive subscribers in 7 steps

Your inactive subscribers don’t necessarily represent dead wood, uselessly clogging up your database. They are past and future customers who were once engaged with your program.

Chances are, it will cost you less to reach out and re-engage with these subscribers than it will to acquire new ones, so don’t leave good money on the table.

In this article, Margaret Farmakis provides these simple steps to win them back:

Step 1: Dive into your data and find out what portion of your database is inactive and how many non-responders you have.

Step 2: Break the inactive segment into smaller sub-segments. You’ll need to create a win-back strategy for each.

Step 3: Test a variety of content and offer strategies. Some subscribers will respond better to discounts, others to information on new products.

Step 4: Make sure you recognize their inactive status with a special headline in the creative and a customized subject line that lets them know you want them back.

Step 5: Track your performance metrics to learn what’s worked and what hasn’t.

Step 6: Next, remove persistent non-responders from your database. If you’re not quite ready to make the cut, consider sending out a final re-permission message. This email should clearly state that the subscriber hasn’t been opening or clicking on your messages. Include a link to reconfirm that they would like to remain on your file. Be clear about how long they have to reconfirm and what will happen if they don’t; you’ll then be    able to take the final step and remove them from your database.

Step 7: Take proactive steps to identify and reach out to your non-responders in the future. Create triggered messages that will engage with your inactive segments on a methodical basis, ideally after a defined period of time. If the subscriber hasn’t opened or clicked in 30 days, send them your win-back offer. If a customer hasn’t made a purchase in three months, send them a special incentive to get them shopping again.

Read the full article here.

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Keys To Great Email Strategy

To be successful in email strategy doesn't start with a communication strategy.  It starts with a framework for how you'll make decisions.  

Here are some elements that should be included in this framework: 
  1. What are your monetary goals and objectives for your program, and how do they change by segment and/or product mix? 
  2. What are the consumer actions and motivators that drive a purchase decision? Not just, why do they buy? But, what motivates them to buy, what type of information do they need in what part of the lifecycle?  How does it evolve by segment?  What type of support does your site, call center, or sales force play in this?  What are the tasks your customer must take to complete a purchase -- and how does your operations support those?
  3. What competitive considerations are important to your business -- and how do they impact the ways your customers make decisions? How will you gather this competitive insight, consumer response and make decisions on this information?. 
  4. How you create customer segments is critical to effective strategy. It's critical that you create actionable segments that can be catered to in-program.  Just because you can create dynamically driven segments and event-driven communications doesn't mean you will have the time or resources to truly optimize all the segments. 
  5. Lastly, your framework should include simple hypothesis-driven testing. Your strategic testing framework should include how often you'll test, what hypothesis you want to solve, and what are the actions you'll take once you've proven or disproven this thinking.
Continue reading this excellent article by David Baker here: MediaPost Publications Keys To Great Email Strategy 07/27/2009
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What Would Chef Ramsay Say?

Morgan Stewart claims that we (email marketers) need our own dose of Chef Ramsay (you know, the Hell’s Kitchen guy).

In this article, he translates some of Chef Ramsay’s advice to restaurateurs to advice for email marketers (minus the obscenities, of course). Here’s a summary:

  1. “How much money are you losing a month?" 
    Have you spent money on bad list sources and not realized it for months? Failed to cross-sell additional products or services in confirmation emails? Failed to send a welcome message? Sent a message with bad links? These are all common problems, but they are easily avoidable mistakes. Don't make them!
  2. Trying to get too fancy just messes things up.
    Chances are you have good content and "other" content -- the content that you include to make sure everyone is happy. If it detracts from the good content, don't add it. Apple does a great job of this. The company's messages are focused on the one thing: excellent products.
  3. If you serve bad food or the service is poor, customers will not return.
    It's bad enough to deliver poorly targeted or irrelevant email to your subscribers. If the program stinks, they may unsubscribe (if you are lucky) or they will simply stop reading your messages. Most customers will ignore you at this point, but some will go to the extreme to discredit you.
  4. If customers don't like what you are serving, it's not their fault.
    Don't go looking for new customers until you fix the problem.
  5. Stop making %*@$ excuses!
    Good content and good service positions your program for success. You can't fool your subscribers for long, so don't waste time fooling yourself.

Read the full article here.

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Do You, Subscriber, Take Thee, Marketer, to Lawfully Opt-in?

There's a great post over at Blue Sky Factory addressing the fact that unlike the controversial behavioral targeting feature which Google has implemented, as email marketers we are in a wonderful position to use behavioral tracking - as we have permission from our subscribers.

As Nikki says :'Email marketing is one of the best online marketing mediums to offer permission-based behavioral tracking for online users.   Bottom line: it offers marketers a way of establishing relationships, cross-pollinating social media networks and RSS feeds, and it builds your client base organically. Email marketing enables marketers to deliver campaigns specific to the interests and behaviors of their recipients, while giving measurable results to easily track your ROI.'

Read the full post

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The Only Marketing Rule That Matters

James Myers over on the Ogilvy blog says the only marketing rule that matters is “BE INTERESTING”.

to be interesting you have to all of the following.
(1) segment your market - create personas if we want to get digital about it.
(2) understand your customers requirements
(3) give them the personal treatment
(4) be relevant
(5) get to the point quickly
(6) ignore your (product) agenda until you know what the consumer wants

Read his post here.

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Embracing multiple marketing mediums

For me, Matt Blumberg started the 'email is not dead' cry with his brief but elegant post - but in actuality, the 'email is dead' train started back a couple of years ago - and surprise, surprise - not only is email not dead, but it is going stronger than ever.

Recently a couple of friends also took up the baton of defending email and why is email being picked on so much?  - this time around the threat isn't RSS but social media.

I fully support the notion that email is not dead - as Jeanniey Mullen of EEC has said time and time again, email is the backbone of digital marketing and it certainly isn't going away. As I briefly referred to in this post recently; as new technologies come along they cause a bit of excitement - but eventually they all settle down to play their roles in what we know as the 'marketing mix'...RSS is a perfect historical example of this.

The real question I think is not which medium is best - but as marketers, how do we incorporate and take advantage all of these new marketing mediums in order to reach our customers? - not as a replacement to email, but in conjunction with email, so that we reach our clients/subscribers using their currently preferred medium.

One of the main changes in the past couple of years with the internet is the attitude of the digital marketing recipient. Their expectations have changed over the years as they have become very user savvy and so are now accustomed to receiving only relevant, targeted information to be delivered to them - whether it be via search engines, banner ads, email marketing, RSS etc. 

Google has recognised this change with their users and so has implemented the adjustable promote/delete options within their search results according to the users preferences. Another example of a digital company taking customer's preferences into account is Facebook's latest redesign - you can now hide the wall posts of people which  aren't of interest to you - again the keyword here is preferences.

In email marketing we also understand this and marketing via email has now (or should now) be a matter of thinking of what value can I supply  to my client/subscriber rather than what message/product do I want to market. The focus should now be on the client's requirements rather than your own requirements as a marketer.

Assuming customers preferences are taking centre stage in our marketing plans, we now need to look at whether incorporating social media tools such as Facebook, Linked in, Twitter etc into the marketing mix is applicable to our businesses.  

The main aim is to be able to provide your client/subscriber base with a valuable offer (whether it be a service, a product, information etc) via the mediums of their choice. It's not about which medium is best, about whether email is dead, or whether social media is the latest and greatest - it is about which mix of mediums are appropriate for your business and client /subscriber base.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Forget relevance - it's about value!

As usual, Dela Quist of Alchemy Worx has decided to turn things on their head and not accept the 'norm'. In this case he's being irreverent to the holy 'relevance' mantra of email marketing....and he makes a good point.

In the latest issue of email-worx,, he talks about replacing 'relevance' with 'value' - as without value, it is very hard for your email program to be relevant. As he says 'Subscribers expect - and should get value!'

He goes onto say that an easy way to add value to your email program is to offer something which you can only get by being in the mailing list - that is, you can't get it by going directly to the website. This of course can be information, whitepapers, special offers, reduced shipping etc...

Watch the video here

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How To Use Pay-Per-Click to Drive Email Signups & Create New Customers

Here’s a simple 4-step technique to grow your opt-in lists, find new customers, and make the most of your pay-per-click budget.

Pay Per Click – The Standard Technique

The most common use for pay-per-click advertising (search advertising) is direct sales. Here’s a vastly simplified picture of a standard PPC campaign:

  1. Figure out your target keywords
  2. Bid on a bunch of terms
  3. Send traffic to your site
  4. Measure the results
  5. Rinse & repeat

This works really well if you get it right, but it has a fairly large, obvious weakness: The visitors you get from pay-per-click are usually first-time site visitors & it’s much, much harder to turn a new visitor into a customer than it is to sell to someone who’s already warmed to your brand.

As an email marketer you know this. That’s a big part of your job: Get permission to talk to your prospects regularly and you have a much greater chance of turning them into customers.

How to Use Email to Improve Pay-Per-Click Results

Here’s a simple technique you can use to join up PPC & email and get great results. We’ll take a B2C example to illustrate, but this will work equally well (if not better) in most B2B scenarios.

Step 1: Target searchers early in the ‘research’ phase

To do this we’d bid on phrases like “how to buy a tv”, “tv reviews”, “best tv”, and thousands of other much less expensive variations!

Step 2: Create something to help these people with their research

We’ll put together an ebook, “Everything You Need To Know About Buying a TV in 2009”. We’ll put this in PDF format.

Step 3: Turn the visitor into a subscriber

To convert the visitor into a subscriber we'll create a 2-step landing page on our site.

Page 1 would be a short sales pitch for your free “Everything You Need To Know...” ebook. The page will also contain an opt-in form, asking for “name”, “email address” and perhaps another key bit of information: “Budget”, “Location”, “Type of TV you’re interested In” for example. All of this along with a checkbox “I am happy to receive emails from ...”. In other words, the visitor is opting in to our emails in exchange for downloading our free ebook.

Page 2 would be a ‘thank you’ page containing a link to our free PDF ebook. Maybe we’ll include a list of best selling TVs, or a call to action back to our homepage to avoid this page being a ‘dead end’, engage the visitor a little more, and perhaps pick up some sales.

Step 4: Turn the subscriber into a customer

We know our new subscriber is in the research phase for buying a TV. Ideally we can then send them an automated series of emails to grow them from an ‘early researcher’ to a ‘customer’. Alternatively, if we don’t have the tools to support that, we can simply move them onto our regular email campaigns.

Either way, the ability to speak to this prospect regularly gives us a much better chance of gaining them as a customer than we would if we just pushed them straight from a search for “TV Reviews” to a page of “Top Selling” TVs on our website.

This is a simple B2C example, but the tactic has unlimited applications and can work far better in the B2B space, using how-to guides, whitepapers and reports in exchange for permission to speak to your web visitors through email.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

A Billion Dollar Email Opportunity: Where Are All The Newspapers?

19 years after the world’s first website popped up, newspapers have fully caught up on the web. They have teams of SEOs. Big pay-per-click budgets. Spend millions on analytics.

But - here’s the big question: Decades after the first email dropped into an inbox, where are all the great newspaper email programs?

Newspapers & Email: The Opportunity

With their investments in analytics, newspapers already have a vast wealth of behavioural data about their audiences online. Connecting that audience with relevant content by email is a win:win:win – it benefits the newspaper, the reader, and the advertiser.

Perhaps the newspapers feel like they’re in the business of producing ‘a product’. Translating a whole newspaper into a website is straightforward, whereas translating a whole newspaper into an email is virtually impossible.

Instead, like a good email marketing program, newspaper email could be personalised & relevant.

Here’re 10 quick starter ideas newspapers could pursue through email.

10 Simple Email Ideas for Newspapers

  1. There’s a big breaking story today & I want to stay up to date. I want to give you my email address & have you send me hourly updates & breaking changes until the story dies.
  2. Every week, I read the whole of your ‘money’ section . Why can’t I sign up to get money articles by email?
  3. I’m a big fan of one of your journalists. I read his blog a couple of times a year when I remember to check it. If you emailed his articles to me I’d read them every time.
  4. You’ve got minute-by-minute coverage of every football game on your site. Why can’t I get 15-minute email updates on my Blackberry when I’m travelling? Why can’t I get an email alert whenever there’s news about my team?
  5. I need to keep tabs on my competitors in the finance pages. Google is sending me alerts, but I only want the ‘finance’ stuff and only about those 3 companies – why can’t you email it to me?
  6. I’m really interested in any news articles mentioning my local town. Often I don’t spot them. Can I sign up so you email me whenever we’re mentioned?
  7. I’ve been to your site every day for the last year. You know exactly what kind of stuff I read. Can’t you cross-reference my tastes with your other readers and start sending me stuff they like? You know – like Amazon do with “Customers who bought this also bought...” emails.
  8. I left a comment about a political issue. I want to carry on the debate whenever it comes up, but I have to check your political pages every day to see if there’s anything new.
  9. I don’t have time to read the news, can’t you just send me a roundup of ‘most read news articles’ every week so that I can stay up to date?
  10. Let me register all my interests & my location and send me info every time an event comes up that matches.

All of these are totally relevant for readers, with great potential for advertising revenue. Pick anything along these lines and scale it across a big national newspaper’s million+ readers and you can see the huge opportunity. Newspapers make millions today from CPM display advertising, imagine the increased revenue, audience satisfaction & loyalty a great email program could produce.

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Email Marketing to Europe

As you know, I attended the Email Evolution Conference last week in Arizona where I was invited to sit on a panel with Kath Pay, Skip Fidura and Dela Quist to talk about the do and don'ts of email marketing to Europe.

Topics that we covered included the opt-in legislation in Europe, localization of content, segmentation and testing strategies, the need for templates that work in multiple languages, how do you coordinate things when there are so many different languages, countries and cultures involved, the fragmentation of the ISP market etc.

Here are the main takeaways from this session:

How do you organize an international email program?

There are two ways you can go about it: you can either manage everything centrally or you manage the email program locally. Personally I've dealt with both approaches in the past.

Continue reading "Email Marketing to Europe" »

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Are We Putting Too Much Focus on Deliverability?

I was reading this post over on the Deliverability blog in which Andrew Kordek interviews Exact Target's Morgan Stewart. This particular paragraph got me thinking:

So what is wrong with email? I mean what are the biggest problems that are facing the email industry today? Morgan’s answer is simple and yet so relevant.

First, he thinks that there is a pervasive print mentality in the industry. I could not agree more with him in that email is not direct mail.

Second, he believes that there is too much focus on deliverability, that while deliverability is a crucial part of email marketing, the share of voice in the email space is disproportionate to the detriment of his last point. Morgan believes that email is too siloed in most organizations because we still have trouble communicating the value of email to the C-Suite.

Is the share of voice that deliverability gets in the email space really disproportionate? I'm not entirely sure. True, there is a lot of talk about deliverability in the industry. But a lot of the conversation is actually more about the (database) marketing side than about the technical side of things.

Deliverability is more often than not used as a stick to force email marketers to keep in line:

  • if you don't send relevant messages, then readers will mark your emails as spam and as a result your messages will get blocked
  • if you don't practice good database hygiene, ISPs will think that you are a spammer and your messages will get blocked
  • ...

What we are really saying is that email marketers need to be good database marketers. Email is not digital direct mail, agreed, but it IS digital direct marketing. And successful direct marketers need to also be good database marketers. Ultimately, applying good database marketing principles to email (together with having the right technical things in place of course) is instrumental to good email deliverability.

In Q4 last year I overheard someone saying: "in this economy, we won't be able to get more budget for email marketing, but we will be able to  get more budget for database marketing". Maybe the email industry should play the database marketing card in a smarter way so that we can get the attention of the C-Level executives?

What do you think?

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How Can You Make Your Emails Stand Out?

In this article, Chip House offers these five tips to make your emails stand out in the inbox this year:

1. Differentiate to survive.
This year, differentiation is a must. Nearly half of those marketers responding to a MarketingSherpa survey last fall said they plan to increase their e-mail marketing efforts in 2009. So this coming year likely will be one of more crowded inboxes rather than less. Thrice weekly e-mails on "saving 10 percent" are what your competitors will send. What unique call to action will you use? How can you add and create value? How's your cardboard sign different?

2. Honor the subscriber.
The most important thing your e-mail program can do is elicit an emotional response. The best way to achieve this is to make an emotional connection with each individual customer. Do this by honoring customers' unique preferences for content, interests and behaviors. These are not new concepts, but in 2009, they become critical. Marketers who forget to honor unique subscriber preferences for communication, content, frequency and channel can kiss the inbox goodbye. 

3. Leverage the 'unmarketing'.
ExactTarget's 2008 Channel Preference Survey showed consumers are more receptive to receiving thank-yous and confirmations via e-mail than any other channel. Using current customer interactions to fuel communication, foster dialog and drive sales is a must. I call it the "unmarketing" because it happens in the background. Whether it's a welcome e-mail, order confirmation, statement, notice or customer service response, each communication holds promise to retain a customer, make a sale and/or improve your standing in how customers see you.

4. Engage or cut bait.
Rohit Bhargava, author of "Personality Not Included," recommends appealing to executives to "reach the right 500 people instead of the wrong 5 million." This is a great message for your e-mail program. Subscribers who aren't opening or clicking are either ignoring you, which is costing you money, or complaining about you, which is destroying your deliverability or your brand. So, start by sending only to people who opt in to your program, but monitor opens, clicks, sales and complaints, and either cut or attempt to get those subscribers to opt in again.

5. Leverage e-mail marketing technology.
It's come a long way. Want to integrate your e-mail system with your CRM system, track customers' surfing behavior after they leave your e-mail and then send them a relevant message based on their behavior? Many companies in multiple industries use these tactics now to great success. If you don't start doing so, 2009 could be a long year.

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How Much is Too Much?

Steve Woods wrote a great blog post about email frequency management and control. Here's his advice on how to manage email frequency:

One conversation I end up in a lot with clients is the "how many times can I email a person per month?" conversation. Unfortunately, there is not a magic number, and attempting to govern around one can be damaging.

The reason that there's not a magic number is that email is only useful in the context of building a relationship, and in a relationship communication frequency changes dramatically depending on the type of relationship and where that relationship is at the moment.

Think of this question in terms of your communications with your friends and family - how many times per month do you communicate with your spouse? kids? Aunt Hilda? Neighbors? Old friends from school days? The answer is that it depends on the relationship.

It's the same thing in B2B marketing. If you are actively engaging with a prospect, and they are highly interested in what you are offering, they will want, and appreciate, frequent communications. However, if you're only lightly engaged with someone, and they have only displayed minimal interest, you will turn them off with more than a communication per month in many cases.

The answer is that you have to manage this from the bottom up, rather than the top down.

There is not a top-down X emails per month number that you can manage to. Instead, you need to understand your audience in terms of how much you have communicated to them and, more importantly, how engaged they are with you, and use that to guide communication frequency.

Use your understanding of your audience's response to your marketing (their Digital Body Language) to segment them into groups.

Use communication frequency and response frequency(email opens, clicks, form submits, web visits, etc) to define three segments:

  • High Engagement: you have sent them many communications, and they have shown great inbound interest
  • Moderate Engagement: you have sent them some communications, but their inbound activity remains occasional
  • Low Engagement: you have communicated with them, but they show little to no inbound activity

image

From here, you can then use these segments to build a bottom-up frequency management structure. Look at your communications and define what category they fall into. If they are a "required" or "all recipients" category, you may not suppress against any of the groups (eg, registration confirmation for events the recipient just registered for, or the quarterly thought leadership newsletter).

If the messages are in an "active interest" category, you may suppress Low and Moderate Engagement segments from receiving them (up to the minute news, detailed product information, etc), and if the messages are in a "moderate interest" category you may only suppress the Low Engagement segment.

Hat tip: Dennis Dayman

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More Email Marketing Resolutions for 2009

A couple of weeks ago, Chad White posted some great tips for your email marketing program in 2009. Here's a summary:

1. Each month replace one of your previously planned broadcast emails with a targeted email to a segment of your list. A well-crafted, targeted email can generate as much sales as a broadcast email, while simultaneously increasing engagement and reducing list fatigue. However, a targeted email does take a little extra effort to create.

2. Schedule a review of all your email forms and triggered emails. Sign-up forms, preference centers, welcome emails, triggered emails -- if you haven't done an inventory of these pages and emails and reviewed them to make sure that they're accurate and up to date, do it now. These tend to get set up and then forgotten about - sometimes for years.

3. Speak to the subscriber and not from the point of view of your business. Make sure that your emails and forms address consumers with them in mind. What's in it for them? What's appealing to them? And how does your email program help them?

4. Redesign your email templates with image blocking in mind.

5. Segment out your inactive subscribers. Send them different messaging than your active subscribers and at a lower frequency. Also consider sending them emails with a different template, one that has an unsubscribe link at the top, or offering the choice to opt-down to a lower frequency. After a long period of inactivity, you may also want to send a reactivation campaign, asking them to opt in again in order to continue receiving emails.

Read the entire article here.

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2009 Email Marketing Resolutions

Let me start by wishing all of you (and your families of course) the very best for 2009! May it be the best year ever! :-)

On my end, life has been pretty hectic over the last couple of weeks. Starting my own business certainly took up a LOT of my time. Check out my brandnew website at www.tamaragielen.com. Advice and feedback are most welcome!

Back to business now.

In Stefan Pollard's latest ClickZ column, he shares 10 resolutions to make to get your e-mail efforts back on track in the coming year.

Here are his top 10 resolutions for e-mail marketers:

  1. I Will Listen to Feedback
  2. I Will Give My Subscribers More Control Over What They Receive
  3. I Will Monitor More Than Open/Click-Through Rates/Revenue
  4. I Will Practice More Segmentation for Increased Relevance
  5. I Will Practice Good List Hygiene and Trim Inactives
  6. I Will Pay Attention to the ISPs
  7. I Will Work to Send Great Content
  8. I Will Make it Easy for Recipients to Know Who I Am
  9. I Will Be More Careful About Whose E-mail Efforts I Emulate
  10. I Will Banish the Word "Blast" From my Vocabulary

Each of these resolutions comes with a number of tips on how to achieve them, so make sure to read the full article here.

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It's Not About Email, It's About Great Customer Experiences

Great quote from Whitney Hutchinson in her latest Email Insider column:

Email marketing, as we probably all agree, is not the be-all and end-all. As David said, it’s simply one piece of the puzzle: a piece integrated with many other pieces, working together, to build a consumer experience with a brand (online or off).

It’s a tactical representation of a communication that we, the marketer, want to have with our consumer. It’s not the only communication that our organization has with a consumer, and that fact requires us to adjust our thinking. In the end, it’s not about email; it’s about the customer experience and how email plays into and supports that.

So what does that mean to you and me, who are responsible for the email channel? It means that it’s time for us to step up. To challenge our organizations to think of email not as a separate silo, but as an active part of the consumer experience.

We need to work with our colleagues in media and social marketing; with our Web development teams and our offline direct marketers, and say, “Let’s build a comprehensive communication strategy. Let’s build a true eCRM program that integrates all of the channels at our disposal to maximize customer experiences and value to our organizations.”
I totally agree! Continue reading her article here. It's well worth a couple of minutes of your time!


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Email As Part of a Multi-Channel Approach

The reality of today's multitasking market place means none of us exist in a vacuum. As we all compete for engagement, the use of a single slice marketing medium approach is no longer sufficiently supportable. The exclusive path to sought after opportunities must be a shared one. Today is also a sensitive political environment with strong opinions on the use of various marketing tools and their perceived intrusiveness. Mindless communication blasts to anyone pre-qualified — or not — is often viewed as unwanted additional noise or junk and incents the clamor for a more responsible, self-enforced coherent approach.

Recently I was looking at soccer uniforms for my son's team. I went to a local retail outlet and registered for additional information. Soon thereafter I received a printed catalog in the mail with a variety of clothing options. Then I received a postcard notifying me of an upcoming event sale. No sooner did I get the postcard in the mail then I also received a follow-up e-mail supporting the same graphics seen in the postcard plus pictures of available uniform complete with my son's teams name displayed. I was directed to a Web site and the sale was made! This entire multichannel experience had me engaged. It was fun and had my attention with several distinct but related consistent touches.

Special emphasis should always be placed on when the prospect actually engages. In conventional direct mail that means use of available tools to confirm when an individual piece of mail is actually received in-home not just placed in the mail.

This then determines an “event,” and can and should trigger additional communication phases across multiple mediums including e-mail, print and even telemarketing. Driven by robust tracking options one can confirm within statistical reason when someone actually receives the individual piece of mail. These mailpiece tracking systems are powerfully used as a trigger for the now well placed and critically well timed follow up or supporting e-mail speaking to the same topic and engaging to the next step.

Source: http://www.dmnews.com/Leveraging-for-relevance/article/120410/

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From Simple to Multivariate Email Campaigns

Here are some of my takeaways from this article by Stephan Dietrich:

There are two important things marketers can do to evolve their email strategies and improve interactions with customers and prospects. One is to improve the personalization within the emails themselves, and the other is to better coordinate these emails with other channels such as direct mail, phone and mobile.

Moving from simple to multivariable email marketing
Email marketing is evolving from simple approaches to more behaviorally based multivariable, or dynamic, approaches.

Multivariable, or dynamic, email marketing relies on multiple components to determine the next marketing step, including data obtained from user profiles and actual user behavior. For example, suppose a customer visits a women's clothing website where she has previously made a purchase. She clicks through a couple of pages, spends extra time on a page with shoes, taking a closer look at specific styles and colors, but then leaves the site without buying. The customer then is treated to an email offering a discount (her user profile is already in the system) on a pair of shoes -- buy one get one half-off -- promoting just the style she spent the most time viewing.

Maturing from multi-channel to cross-channel marketing
What is perhaps more wasteful than using simple email marketing is the use of email campaigns that are not well-coordinated with direct mail, telemarketing or mobile initiatives.

Coordination and consistency are very important -- imagine a customer's reaction to receiving two different offers from a triple-play telephone/cable/internet provider. One arrives by direct mail and offers a bundle of all three services for $99 per month. One arrives via email and offers the same bundle at $99 per month plus as an additional incentive, a free HDTV. The consumer calls the toll-free number on the mailed postcard and asks about the email offer. The call center agent isn't aware of the HDTV offer and cannot honor it. The customer is annoyed and, believing the experience may be symbolic of the type of service she can expect should she switch, decides to remain with her current provider.

Situations like this arise when companies take a multi-channel marketing approach versus a cross-channel marketing approach. "Multi-channel" infers the ability to drive marketing through multiple channels -- something most marketers have certainly achieved. Meanwhile, "cross-channel" denotes the ability to drive the coordination and consistency of a campaign's message across channels.

Source: iMediaConnection

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Are we discriminating against our best customers?

In the November Issue of Infobox, Dela Quist of Alchemy Worx, looks at why we keep rewarding those customers who haven't opened your emails, who haven't bought in a few months and who abandon shopping carts etc, yet, do not implement a positive reward scheme for those who actually purchase regularly.

As Dela sums up 'Good customers need rewarding too; so when implementing an incentive based scheme, it is always worth asking yourself if you are discriminating against your loyal customers and how they would feel if they found out. This is a subtle but important change in emphasis that could yield significant results'. 'Tis a very good article and is sure to set you thinking: Are we discriminating against our best customers?

Also in this issue Stefan Pollard of Responsys is interviewed on the art of segmenting and the beautiful and creative Lisa Harmon of Smith-Harmon, advises on designing effective Holiday Season creatives, whilst Simone Barrett of e-Dialog, looks at how to protect your brand from phishing.

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It's Time To Invest In Email Marketing

According to the below chart from MarketingSherpa's latest Email Marketing Benchmark Guide, it's time to invest in email marketing rather than cut costs:
Marketers Say Email a Good Investment During Downturn
View Chart Online
Those that see the effectiveness of their email programs diminishing are much more likely to have short-sighted organizational attitudes toward the tactic. Nearly 50% of them consider email to be "free" or nearly so, compared to only one quarter of those who see email's impact as increasing.
Organizations with investment-oriented views of email reap the rewards. They have higher open, click and conversion rates. In addition, they are much more likely to have a metrics-based grasp of how email works for them. Those with the "email is free" view, on the other hand, are more likely to fall into the group that doesn't track conversion.
The key takeaway:
Email should be the last place to cut budget and the first place to increase it. Modest investments in testing, best practices, measurement and, most importantly, providing relevant content will generate powerful ROI
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