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4 Steps to Better Email Marketing

In this article, Silverpop's Bill Nussey offers some tactics and strategies to move your email marketing campaigns from marketer-centric messaging to customer-centric messaging.

Get started with web analytics integration
Enabling a two-way flow of actionable information between your email and website analytics applications will allow you to target and trigger email campaigns based on website click-stream data more efficiently-- these are the details of how someone interacts with your website.

For instance, if you know an email customer is conducting product-specific searches or browsing particular pages or areas of your website, you could follow up with an email message that includes product information and incentives related to those products or categories.

Incorporate lifecycle automation
Lifecycle automation adds another dimension to targeting-- time. Rather than assuming that every recipient wants to receive a message at the same time, lifecycle automation times each message so that each recipient gets a message when it's most appropriate. Some examples include welcome, subscription renewal or product replenishment messages.

With lifecycle automation, open rates can soar to 70 percent and clickthrough rates can get well into double-digits. But possibly the greatest benefit to lifecycle automation is its ease. Once set up, it will automate many of your formerly manual marketing and communications efforts. Your job will evolve from hands-on campaign execution to monitoring and fine-tuning ongoing campaigns.

Get support for your efforts.
Because it's inexpensive, immediate and easy to execute compared with other marketing channels, email doesn't tend to get the same attention or respect, despite what's truly a massive brand impact on recipients. But you can make a compelling case for the value of email to your company.

Back in 2002, Elaine O'Gorman ran a large part of the email program for American Airlines. She wanted to understand how her day-to-day email campaigns affected the airline overall. Elaine's team performed a series of careful analyses comparing the airline's email customers to a control group of customers that did not receive email.

After compiling the results from various communications and promotions to both groups over a series of months, the team applied American's relative value calculations to each group. By subtracting the calculated value of the control group from the value of the email group and extrapolating that difference over the lifetime of the customers, the American team arrived at a figure approximating the value of their email list. As it turned out, their list had about the same value as one of American's airplanes.

The point of the exercise was not to put a precise accounting value on the email list, but rather to put the value of the email list into perspective for Elaine's colleagues and peers. Before the study, Elaine regularly had to explain why a "free" resource like their email list should be treated with care. With the "value of an airplane" behind her efforts, she found it much easier to gain support for the list allocation policies needed to run American's email program.

Think ahead to an integrated, multi-channel world
Advertising, whether at your website or through television, print or direct mail, is only the first step in a modern overall marketing strategy. Once you have engaged someone's emotions, you need to involve that person in an ongoing relationship. And email is one of the most powerful tools for creating that ongoing relationship.

Email is most valuable in its ability to help you to build and act on knowledge about your customers. If you isolate email as a single channel, that ability is limited. But if you act on customer knowledge as part of an integrated marketing strategy, email can transform your customer communications into a rich, unified and relevant brand experience.

Source: iMedia Connection

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