Email marketing is the highest-converting online sales channel, but practices are constantly evolving. Below, review the top priorities for email marketers in 2013, including increased relevancy and personalized elements of email programs.
According to the MarketingSherpa 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, 57% of marketers predicted social media would affect their email program this year, and that was certainly reflected in the amount of social media integration with email marketing programs.
Email marketers made great strides in their programs this year, and along with social media integration, have expanded relevancy, automation and content efforts.
Insight #1. Expanded, relevant email content drives growth
Producing content that is both engaging and informative is a struggle for many marketers, but it can be quite effective for moving your audience along the purchase path.
With tactics on creating original, user-generated and repurposed content, this how-to article features information from a Return Path-sponsored webinar. Learn how to develop a plan for cultivating and publishing email content, which in turn, can lead consumers to the more extensive content on your website or blog.
Frustrated by the email conversion plateau of its traditional email marketing methods, online content marketing website Copyblogger launched a free paywall, “MyCopyblogger,” with the goal of allowing registered members access to consistent and deeply valuable content.
The challenge driving the content redesign was simple according to Sean Jackson, Chief Financial Officer, Copyblogger Media. The challenge was, “How do we get more of these 500,000 plus unique monthly visitors into a relationship with us so we can communicate over time?”
With the goal of increasing its list and nurturing leads, MyCoppyblogger increased email sign-ups by 400%. The attached paid training program, “Authority,” also had thousands of members after less than two months.
Opportunities for personalization and relevancy in email marketing are growing as technology for tracking audience behavior advances. By analyzing behavioral patterns, you can gain valuable insight into consumers’ interests and needs, leading to more accurate communications.
In this case study, see how Eventful personalized its weekly newsletter to better reflect subscriber’s preferences and choices, and launched a new email alert system. By doing this, it was able to hone in on 20 million users’ specific interests, raised clickthrough rates by 97%, and saw a 400% increase in reactivation for inactive subscribers.
An update of the case study above, this continuation of Eventful’s dedication to relevant email content won the team the E-commerce Best in Show in MarketingSherpa Email Awards 2014, presented by ExactTarget.
“We started thinking about how could we drive greater engagement through richer personalization,” Paul Ramirez, Vice President of Operations, Evenful, said. “We looked around and we said, ‘Well, what are the things that most of our users are doing?’”
Realizing popular non-performer events were being missed, Eventful began considering other user and subscriber actions that would allow it to recommend local festivals or events that might not have a big name performer.
Data mining from subscribers as well as anonymous site visits, Eventful is now able to send more emails with higher relevancy by recommending non-performer events to subscribers.
Eventful will speak and will highlight the best of its data-driven email case study at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, February 17 through 20, in Las Vegas.
Insight #2. Segmentation for relevancy
Along with all of the highlights and best takeaways from last year’s MarketingSherpa Email Summit, this article looks at the Best in Show winner for the 2013 Email Awards, NFL.com.
NFL.com’s award-winning campaign began with the objective to be as relevant and targeted as possible by segmenting fans by their chosen team. The NFL.com newsletters feature real-time site content specifically tailored to the subscribers’ team preference, and reminds them of upcoming games.
By maintaining users’ team preference, the marketing team added in additional newsletter branding such as NFL.com photos, expert articles and videos. NFL.com then further segmented the recipient database, and emails were broken down by user activity and longevity.
With a strategy of segmentation and personalization, over the course of 2012 NFL.com was able to achieve a 121% higher open rate and a 26% higher clickthrough rate.
Every time an editor, product manager or content producer, among others, wanted to create a newsletter, “it was just added to the portfolio,” said Diana Primeau, Director of Member Services, CNET.
Newsletters are an outlet to provide information to consumers, but at a certain point, newsletters can stop informing and begin to overwhelm subscribers. This is where strategic and thoughtful segmentation can relieve not only your subscribers, but your marketing team as well.
Even with strong engagement metrics, read how CNET came to recognize the issue and took the steps to cut down the editorial portfolio from 30 to 16 newsletters, and learn about the criteria used to segment the list.
Plus, learn how the team communicated the changes to all stakeholders — from management to subscribers.
Retailer Johnny Cupcakes was a brand without email segmentation. Mass weekly email sends were the go-to, a result of limited and incomplete data on its email list of 82,000.
“We did things with no rhyme or reason, just sent everything to everybody on our list and called it a day,” said Justin Hiltz, Media Futurist, Johnny Cupcakes.
After going through and specifically mining their customer’s social media accounts, Hiltz and his team were able to do a significant segmentation for the first time in their company’s history. In an email announcing a new product launch, Johnny Cupcakes split its list into male and female subscribers who had indicated an interest in baseball.
By embracing social data collected on its subscribers, Johnny Cupcakes was able to put together a segmented campaign for the product launch of its new baseball T-shirts. See how simply segmenting to male and female customers enabled the company to increase conversions by 123%.
Insight #3. Email marketing integration
Email and social media both have an important part to play in the conversation between company and consumer, and should be strategically, operationally and tactically aligned.
Reaching out to email subscribers through integrating social media into email content allowed for Sony to drive conversion, as well as customer conversation, by utilizing Pinterest’s uniquely visual platform as a showcase for products.
In this case study, read how Sony Electronics integrated Pinterest into its product email sends. The resulting campaign from this integration won Gold in the Best Email Innovation category in MarketingSherpa’s Email Marketing Awards 2013.
Aligning data with real people is a difficult line to walk for many marketers, and this case study shows how Expedia Cruise Ship Centers grew its email program by harmoniously integrating into its brick-and-mortar retail locations and independent sales agents.
Expedia Cruise Ship Centers has been building up a robust email marketing program over the past eight years. However, while building up that program, the marketing team has also been accumulating a lot of data that could be used for more effective marketing. They took the information that had been previously underutilized on past customers and integrated it with the telephone sales force.
“We try to find a way to get smarter and not really send a lot more email but at the same time get more out of the email campaigns,” said Dave Mossop, Manager of Interactive Marketing, Expedia Cruise Ship Centers.
To save resources, including the valuable time of its five full-time staff members, Iron Tribe Fitness built a website and a series of emails focused both on educating prospects about its niche service.
The objective was for ideal prospects to come in already sold on the service. Upon signing up to receive information from Iron Tribe, prospects are sent 11 emails featuring information about the fitness program as well as testimonials from Iron Tribe athletes. The emails encourage the prospect to call into Iron Tribe, where an employee will qualify them through a script for an in-person consultation.
With a combination of email marketing and staff personally qualifying leads, Iron Tribe’s team was able to cut the amount of people with whom they conducted in-person consultations to 53% of prospects, converting 98% of those to signing a contract.