Author: James Glover

Why Gmail’s New Promotions Tab Is a Big Plus for Your Email Campaigns

Email marketers have gained access to a powerful new platform for reaching subscribers: Gmail’s new Promotions tab. Google’s latest update to the Gmail app includes a tab that’s tailor-made to showcase your most compelling B2C offers—and this gives your top content a chance to shine like never before.

Marketers have long known that email delivers the highest ROI of all digital channels, but ROI can fluctuate widely depending on how sophisticated a campaign’s targeting is.

Emails containing personalized offers are far more likely to survive spam filters, generate clicks, and deliver revenue. But even for brands that invest heavily in email personalization, the daily struggle to stand out against the spam can often prove difficult.

Gmail’s latest update aims to sharpen the contrast between meaningful emails and non-personalized junk. How? By bundling the offers most relevant to each recipient under a specialized Promotions tab, which highlights specific features of those offers, like promo codes and expiration dates.

Here’s how your brand can start taking advantage of this new feature right now — using the creative assets you’re already showcasing in your emails.

Gmail’s Promotions Tab Helps Your Personalized Offers Stand Out from the Spam

Personalized emails are powerful, so long as they are opened. In the beginning you have to create a compelling subject line and snippet of preview text to capture each subscriber’s attention. Any email with a subject line or preview snippet that fails to captivate subscribers is likely to be ignored, sent to the trash — or worse, blocked by Gmail’s spam filter. It doesn’t matter how well designed your tailored promotions are if they go unseen.

Gmail’s new Promotions tab gives your most compelling offers a far greater chance of capturing subscribers’ interest, while also keeping your brand in full control of each email’s messaging and visual appearance. Now, instead of a text-only subject line and preview snippet, your offers can show up in a specialized tab within Gmail’s iOS and Android apps — bundled by category and featuring enticing details and imagery.

In short, the Promotions tab can supercharge your power to engage subscribers with each personalized email you send — meaning your most relevant offers will get more clicks and generate more revenue.

And best of all, you can do all this without creating any new assets. With a personalization solution capable of managing a content library of creatives, you won’t need to spend any more time or resources developing new assets or messaging for Google to feature in the Promotions tab. All you need to do is paste the generated code from the Litmus tool into the email templates currently used in your campaigns and the promotional content will appear in the preview.

Sound good? Let’s take a closer look at how it works.

Litmus’s Gmail Promotions Builder Makes It Easy to Customize Email Previews

Each email preview in the Promotions tab consists of modules, including:

  • A single image preview
  • A green badge with offer details
  • A gray badge with a discount code, your brand’s logo
  • The offer’s expiration date

Although Gmail is able to pull content for all these modules directly from each email you send, you’re also free to customize the modules — which means you can fully control each preview’s appearance within the Promotions tab as well as the promo details you’d like to highlight.

You don’t need to write a single line of code, thanks to Litmus’ Gmail Promotions Builder. Litmus has teamed up with Gmail to create this easy-to-use tool, which makes the preview customization process as simple as entering a few details into a form.

Once you’ve generated the code and pasted it into your email template, Gmail users on iOS and Android will see exactly the offer details you’ve specified — along with your brand’s logo and a featured image — bundled with other brands’ relevant offers in the Promotions tab.

That’s all there is to it. It’s like upgrading from a text-only ad to a full-color spread on the front page — with just a few seconds of work, using the email assets you’ve already got.

One final important note: annotating an email doesn’t guarantee Gmail will feature it in the Promotions tab. To be featured, you still need to make sure your emails are personalized for each subscriber, containing content tailored towards that subscriber’s desires and goals.

Jordan Grossman, Product Manager at Gmail, even said, “Gmail doesn’t create value in the Promotions tab. It’s the best emails that create value. The new Promotions tab rewards brands who send truly valuable email by making them easier to find with a richer means of delivering that value.”

Google is getting smarter every day at recognizing relevant emails — and just as before, the most surefire way to generate engagement is to keep your content updated and relevant for every customer on your list.

Find out what else you can do to optimize your emails with “Go Further with Email Deliverability and Privacy.”

Read the guide

 

 

 

 

Want to Connect with Millennials? Take a Page from Print Catalogs

In today’s tidal wave of new social media platforms, smartphones, and streaming services, it’s easy to write off forms of “traditional” advertising as obsolete and irrelevant. That bias is certainly understandable — after all, it’s the message that experts in Forbes and LinkedIn have been hammering into marketers’ heads since the early 2010s.

But the latest research shows that print catalogs still offer a striking degree of insight into the minds of shoppers — and even more surprisingly, the millennial generation can’t seem to get enough of them.

That’s right — according to a 2017 USPS survey on direct mail advertising (DMA), a full 87 percent of Millennials report that they genuinely enjoy receiving at least some direct mail advertising. In fact, millennials are 54 percent more likely to read paper catalogs than customers of any previous generation, and quite a few of those flip-throughs lead to actual purchases.

What are some catalogs doing right that digital marketers may be getting wrong? The answers reveal some fundamental truths about the tactics that turn shoppers off — along with an array of time-tested approaches that generate sales on any channel, from print to email and beyond.

When paper beats (shallow) personalization

As convenient as it might seem to dismiss paper advertising as irrelevant in today’s digital world, direct mail sales techniques represent more than a century of intensive consumer research, not to mention decades of trial and error in a wide variety of print formats. 

Even if many of those techniques strike us as outmoded today, millennials’ overall positive responses to paper catalogs hint that a certain amount of gold may lie buried among yesterday’s mountains of discarded snail mail. So what do paper catalogs have to teach us about marketing in the digital age — particularly in the email realm?

Most noticeably, catalogs have never contained “you may also like” product recommendations. One reason for this, of course, is that even if a catalog retailer had data on every customer’s individual purchase history, the high costs of printing would’ve made it prohibitively expensive to print a unique page of recommendations for every recipient.

But as it turns out, this lack of product recommendations has become a positive selling point for print catalogs — in contrast to emails, which can offer endless suggestions that often showcase products similar to those already purchased. Catalogs, on the other hand, present an ever-changing variety of hand-selected new and different products, exposing consumers to more merchandise while creating moments of magic and delight.  

In other words, catalog purveyors carefully curate the content that will resonate most with their shoppers — which means they rarely have to rely on heavy discounting or other tactics to make a sale. By focusing on a combination of relevance and creativity, catalogs gain a reputation as art exhibitions in their own right, attracting readers who may have no intention of making a purchase, but end up making one anyway.

Finding the balance between relevance and excitement

As every email marketer knows, an effective email campaign focuses on relevant content above all else. But there’s a lesson to be learned from print catalogs here, too: product recommendations shouldn’t remind customers where they’ve already been — they should point the way forward to new discoveries, encouraging customers to comfortably branch outward from their core tastes.

Of course, this can be a delicate balancing act: present a category or product that feels too far out, and customers will be unlikely to follow you into the new territory. Timing and relevance are crucial when you’re personalizing offers — it demonstrates that you recognize what the customer’s tastes and aspirations look like at this moment and understand where they’re comfortable going next.

How do you find the balance, and present relevant recommendations that also feel creative and inspirational? By bringing together truths about each customer from a wide range of data sources, and synthesizing them into nuanced insights about that customer’s personal journey, evolving interests, aspirational tastes, and longer-term goals.

When an email campaign is powered by these deep insights into each customer, it’s possible to deliver recommendations that delight and feel as if they were hand-picked by a personal shopper. That’s the key balance at the center of impactful email marketing — and for many digital marketers, hitting the right notes can be a challenge.

Even so, this is a crucial balance to understand, because millennials aren’t just engaging with print catalogs — they’re checking email multiple times a day, which means their inboxes continue to represent prime advertising real estate. 

By using email to deliver personalized, curated content that feels fresh and engaging, retailers can share areas of their product catalogs that traditional recommendation algorithms might never present to customers — and unlock new worlds of exploration and discovery.

Also, don't miss our Email Deliverability Guide to ensure you are following all critical procedure to deliver those emails to the inbox. 

Is Your Personalization Strategy Missing How To Be Personal?

We’ve all been put off by pushy salespeople. But have you ever been truly pleased with a salesperson? It’s not as often as you’d like, but every once in a while you get a salesperson you feel completely comfortable around, someone who genuinely seems to understand your taste and knows exactly what you want.

Inexperienced salespeople seem to either ignore you or follow you around with products that you’ve already put down or even purchased. Great salespeople, on the other hand, are attentive without seeming overbearing, helpful without coming across as pushy, and always on hand with exactly the item you’d been hoping for, even if you didn’t know it yet—just like a skilled personal shopper.

A successful personalized email marketing campaign is no different. When you take time to learn your subscribers’ tastes and delight them with perfect recommendations, they’ll reward you with repeat purchases and long-term loyalty.

Great personalization can make all the difference. Eighty percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience, according to an Epsilon research report.

Personalize Emails with Novel Content

A great salesperson is like your very own personal shopper. They aren’t trying to sell you anything at all. Rather, their sole focus is to manifest a better version of you. They are eager — but not too eager — to learn your tastes and preferences, and dazzle you with novel, yet appropriate, suggestions.

In comparison, the inexperienced salesperson uses the same script of pitches for the same products he tried to sell to the last customer. In a similar fashion, the average email marketer relies on automated product recommendation engines to show subscribers products closest to recent purchases, or, worse yet, already purchased. This may be why nearly 70 percent of marketers think they’re not getting personalization right, according to a study by Evergage.

A good email marketer, on the other hand, looks to the future. They gather data on the products a customer has already viewed or purchased and use that to formulate tailored suggestions for new products — or even entirely new product categories — the customer never knew they wanted. 

Get Email Frequency Right

A personal shopper doesn’t distract you in the middle of a thought to showcase another product. Nor do they talk about ten suggestions right in a row. No, their timing is impeccable: They patiently attend to your needs and seamlessly insert suggestions just as you need them.

Marketing emails need to be just as well timed. Following the common refrain to send out mass emails on Tuesdays between noon and 1 p.m. simply won’t do. Good email cadence requires a much more intricate strategy.

Marketers need to know exactly when and how each subscriber interacts with the content they send out — and when they’ll be most responsive to specific messages and offers. Only then can marketers effectively individualize content so that emails show up in each subscriber’s inbox at the perfect moment, with the perfect creatives, offers, and layouts.

Dancing with The Data

Skillful sales is a kind of elegant dance. Salespeople who gracefully lead this dance are reacting to minute cues from their customers and adjusting accordingly. The result is happy customers who leave the store with armfuls of items they never knew they wanted.

In email marketing, these cues come in the form of data: knowledge of opens, clicks, user behavior, and conversions. It’s absolutely essential for email marketers to test varieties of wording, email structures, layouts, and creative assets to gather as much customer data as possible. When combined with an open-minded approach to customers’ preferences, this data enables marketers to deliver personalized email experiences that become even more delightful over time.

A Tale of Two Sweaters: Why Segmentation Alone Isn’t Enough

Every retailer knows that customer segmentation makes campaigns more effective. When you classify customers according to their interests and desires, it’s much easier to deliver content that speaks to them personally, creating a connection that builds long-term loyalty.

On paper, segmentation looks like a straightforward way to turn subscribers into delighted customers. But segmentation does have its limits. When you’re dealing with one-time purchasers, market segments don’t tell you what customers will purchase next. They don’t make accurate predictions and can’t tell you why customers purchase certain items together.

To understand those aspects of your customers’ preferences, you’ve got to look beyond segmentation, and implement advanced techniques.

The Sweater Experiment

Imagine you’re a clothing retailer and want to promote two new red sweaters this season – a men’s and a women’s. You’ve got an email list of 25,000 men and 25,000 women. Do you segment your next email campaign? If so, how?

At first glance, the answer might seem obvious: If you don’t segment your list, and instead send a promo for the women’s sweater to all 50,000 subscribers, hypothetically you might only get about 50 percent opens, 50 percent clicks, and 50 percent purchases. If you send a promo for the women’s sweater only to female subscribers, on the other hand, you’ll get a significant boost: a potential 100 percent opens, clicks, and purchases.

While this might look like a major improvement, it comes with risks. Some of your male subscribers might’ve been interested in buying the women’s sweater for their girlfriends and sisters, but you’ve missed your chance to sell to them. And what about your female subscribers who already bought that sweater? You sent an unengaging email to them, when you could’ve shown a new item they might actually have been interested in.

For all these reasons, segmentation alone isn’t enough for effective email personalization.

Stepping Beyond Segmentation

As our sweater scenario demonstrates, the core limitation of segmentation is that its improvements are often just smoke and mirrors. A metric like a “50 percent lift in clicks” sounds concrete and comforting – but it doesn’t tell you anything about missed opportunities for even more lucrative cross-sells and upsells, or about which products your customers might want to buy next.

Segmentation has its advantages, of course. It’s helpful for personalizing emails, which protects your emails from getting sent to spam. Email content aligned with each subscriber’s interests also helps safeguard against unsubscribes, reducing subscriber churn.

But to really connect with your customers, you’ve got to look beyond segments. Even within a given customer segment, each customer is on their own personal journey, interacting with your brand across a unique sequence of touchpoints — email included. That means to really connect with your customers where they are, you’ve got to start mapping those journeys and addressing each stage with tailored content.

When you understand where each customer is on their individual journey, and which products will meet them where they are, you’ll be able to predict what a customer wants even before they know it themselves. And by guiding customers through a personalized series of product discoveries, you can lead them to new areas of interest that can significantly raise your margins, while driving stronger customer loyalty.

3 Ways Retailers Can Heat Up Their Summer Email Campaigns

As we begin to embrace longer days and shed our winter wardrobes, it’s a great time for retail marketers to re-evaluate the email calendar and replace ineffective strategies with fresh approaches. Here are a few of our favorite tips to heat up your summer email campaigns and reinvigorate your marketing efforts:

New Season, New Content

We conducted a survey to learn how retail marketers plan their email marketing calendars. We found that 85 percent of email marketers are relying too heavily on products and categories that worked well the previous year.

This is mirrored in our most recent study on email effectiveness in retail, where we found that it would take retailers an average of two years to introduce all their categories to email subscribers at their current rate. Instead of highlighting last year’s best sellers, email marketers need to recognize that email communications need to evolve along with consumers’ ever-changing tastes and preferences. 

Chart of how long it takes retailers to expose their categories

Consider making creatives for products or categories that haven’t yet been introduced to your customers. Then introduce new categories into a section of your email, while keeping the high-performing categories elsewhere in the email. When you include more category choices, you’ll have a better chance of finding relevant products for each customer.

It may sound simple, but many retailers are delivering emails that cover only one category or one type of email content, such as an email only filled with discounts. While other retailers like Neiman Marcus and EXPRESS have increased their customer engagement by displaying a variety of categories within each email, and mixing and matching editorial email content, product shots, and discounts.

Recycle and Reuse Email Content

Our survey on retail marketers also found that 74 percent of marketers create emails for a single day and never reuse or resend that content. These marketers likely assume that a customer wouldn’t want to see the same message in their inbox a second time, but that line of thinking leaves a lot of revenue on the table. The reality is that email creatives are time-consuming and costly to make, and chances are that many consumers will not remember the images you used.

As we mentioned above, you can also mix and match new email content with recycled content in different zones. For example, if you included a product image in the header of your email yesterday, you can then include it in an email below the fold a few weeks later. Another strategy is to track high-performing email content and use it for all new email subscribers at a later date. And finally, you can resend creatives to email subscribers who have received, but not opened, your previous email.  

Recognize Your New Shoppers

If there’s one thing we can’t stress enough, it’s that email marketers are not taking advantage of their purchase data to personalize the customer experience. While personalized campaigns drive higher revenue, most marketers collect customer data but do not use it.

Additionally, our research on email effectiveness in retail indicates that retailers are sending the exact same emails, on the same day, for 62 percent of their sends to both brand new customers and non-customers. They are also sending less emails to new customers than other email subscribers.

Chart demonstrating personalization benchmark

If you’re one of those retailers, it’s time to put your data to work. Make sure to separate your customers from non-customers, and new customers from other customers. (Most new customers are highly engaged and are open to receiving more emails than others.) Then use purchase data to recommend additional products or tailor your editorial content. Savvy retailers like L.L.Bean and Staples are doing this best by using machine learning to analyze customer data and predict the products that shoppers will want to see.

Summer Email Campaigns That Sizzle

Instead of merchandise-driven, batch-and-blast email campaigns, consider what the customer wants to see and how to make them feel like an individual. By using a customer-centric and data-driven approach to email marketing, you’ll be sure to add some heat to your summer email campaigns, while generating the highest ROI and lifetime value.

To learn more about successful email marketing campaigns, check out Oracle’s Marketing Automation Simplified Guide for automation fundamentals in modern email marketing.

Marketing Automation Simplified guide

 

How to Convert Consumers into Loyal Customers

Customers are a business’ most valuable asset, which is why they spend a lot of money to acquire new ones and work hard to retain the ones they have. This is especially true in the saturated retail industry where there is lots of competition to capture consumer’s attention. Here is where email marketing comes into play. This marketing tactic has an ROI of 3800 percent, making it a top method for retailers to improve customer conversion.

Retailers work relentlessly for that initial purchase, with carefully timed emails, curated content and maintaining the right frequency of communication, but what happens after the retailer succeeds and that customer makes that long-awaited first purchase? How are retailers working to retain customers and maintain a loyal customer base?

With these questions in mind, we decided to find out how top retailers are performing when it comes to email, and start mapping out industry best practices.

Our new “2018 Email Marketing Study: How 100 of the Top Retailers Engage Shoppers in the First 45 Days and Beyond” study evaluated 100 retailers from the Internet Retailer Top 500 list and acquired every email each of these retailers sent to email subscribers who have never purchased a product from July to December 2017. For this study, purchases were made from every retailer and every email sent was collected, as first-time buyers, for the first 45 days after a purchase was made, from November to December 2017. The resulting report analyzes communication tactics between a “purchaser” and a “non-purchaser” email received during this time to determine how retailers interacted with the two audiences. The report also looked at how retailers were performing in other key areas such as Email Frequency, Content and Catalog Exposure.

Below are a few key insights from our report:

  • 62 percent of the time, retailers sent the exact same email on the same day to the purchaser and non-purchaser, and only 26 percent of all emails were unique to the purchaser, despite having clickstream and purchase data to leverage.

  • Wayfair scored highest among all retailers because they personalized a majority of their email, with 71 percent of the emails sent to the purchaser being unique to them.

  • When it comes to the Purchaser Experience, Levi’s was the exception, with more than 75 percent of the emails sent to the purchaser being unique. Only 8 percent of the emails matched a non-purchaser email sent on the same day.

  • Of the 100 retailers evaluated, Williams-Sonoma had the highest average email sends per day at 3.14. Pottery Barn, The Shopping Channel and Victoria's Secret sent two emails a day more than 90 percent of the time.

With more than 60 percent of respondents sending the same exact email to a purchaser and non-purchaser, it’s clear that retailers are not engaging customers through throughout their journey, but instead, providing a generic, one-size-fits-all experience. In order to not only acquire, but retain a loyalty customer base, brands need to offer personalized content in their emails, whether it’s the first time or the tenth time they’ve engaged with your brand.

To learn more about personalization trends in the retail industry, check out Get Personal and Keep Them Coming Back guide to find out why 68 percent of retailers agree that investment in driving personalized experiences is a priority. 

Renting vs. Owning – A Marketer’s Guide

The proliferation of social media, in addition to traditional media channels, has created a seemingly endless list of channels in which brands can reach their customers. But marketers should save themselves the headache of trying to use every channel, or at least attempting to vet them all, by remembering that their priority should be impactful customer engagement. With that in mind, the first question a marketer should ask themselves when choosing a channel is—will I be owning or renting this platform in my customer engagement efforts?

So, what does it mean to own or rent? If a marketer is “renting” a platform, they are using a marketing channel where they are not in control of the content distribution, specific audience targeting and timing of their messages, whether it is through a feed on a social media site or search engine. When a channel is rented, the power lies within the hands of the platform itself as platform design or algorithms change. Conversely, if a marketer “owns” a marketing channel, they are able to control distribution, audience targeting and timing of their content.

Whether a marketer or a brand is able to “own” or just “rent” a channel can have a tremendous impact on their communication efforts. Specifically, with customer engagement efforts through social media and search engine advertising, marketers are only “renting” space through these platforms. Take Facebook, for example. While a brand typically has its own Facebook profile page and can advertise to specific target segments within the social media platform—it is really only renting that space. While marketers can post messages or communicate directly with customers—the brand itself actually has no control over the Facebook algorithm and how those messages are pushed out externally. The same goes for online content promoted through search engines, such as Google. A brand marketer has little control over whether Google puts that content at the top of the first page of search results or buries it on the tenth.

To make control even more difficult, these platform companies are constantly changing their algorithms, so it is hard to guarantee that a post that made it into a customer’s feed last month will still be easily found this month. For example, in June 2017, Facebook announced it was changing the computer algorithm behind its News Feed again to limit the reach of people known to frequently blast out links to clickbait stories, sensationalist websites and misinformation. Additionally, it has been reported that Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times every year. These frequent changes make it virtually impossible for marketers to keep up with the evolving content filters and algorithm adjustments and continue to effectively reach its customers.

This doesn’t mean these channels aren’t important, but it does mean brands need to invest in their “owned” channels too. Thankfully, marketers have plenty to choose from, including mobile push notifications, websites, blogs, email and direct mail. While certain channels may have higher costs, such as mobile messaging or direct mail, the costs are still relatively lower for a brand compared to rented channels—and more direct and under your control.

Email is a great example of an owned channel – and you can take Facebook’s word on it. Noah Kagan, the 30th employee at Facebook, stated that Facebook isn’t the best way to market and connect with your audience—it’s email. In his interview, Noah recognizes that email is the only medium that gives brands control and scale to market to and communicate with customers without having to worry about the constant algorithm changes associated with social media platforms. Additionally, when it comes to reach, email has nearly three times as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined, and Facebook and Twitter combined make up just 0.2% of the number of emails sent each day. While social media platforms have certainly become prolific in recent years, email still maintains a stronghold in terms of being able to reach a brand’s whole audience – Dreamgrow found that email is at least four times more effective in reaching your audience than Facebook. With email, brands can also tailor messages to each specific customer, as opposed to a “rented” social media platform where they’re targeting large customer segments typically based on general demographic information.

There is no perfect equation that marketers can follow when it comes to customer engagement—but there is a right balance. Social media platforms are still a viable channel to reach customers, but brands need to make sure they focus on “owned” channels that are algorithm-proof, where they can control the content and messages that reach their audience. As marketing plans are developed, marketers need to make sure they are owning and not just renting their customer engagement platform and efforts.

For more tips on how to maximize customer engagement in today’s socially-driven world, check out Oracle’s “The Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Social Marketing” webinar to discover how to better navigate the sea of social change by exploring new uses for old channels, engaging in the most welcoming ways and analyzing activity meaningfully.

What’s on the Menu? A Balanced Email Content Diet

For most people, the key to a healthy and sustainable diet is balance. Eating the same thing every day can be miserable, and it’s usually not effective. Most of us need variety in our diets to stay healthy, and the essential vitamins our bodies depend on can’t be found in just one or two foods.  

Today’s consumers have similar needs. Their preferences are constantly changing and they need a variety of products to keep them interested and engaged. In fact, data derived from personalization tools and machine learning technology can clearly indicate what consumers are already buying, and most retail brands would agree that consumers aren’t usually buying the same items over and over again. With this in mind, marketers must recognize that continually forcing the same static email content onto consumers isn’t going to work. 

To stay relevant and competitive, marketers need to move away from serving up the same email campaigns time after time or relying on heavy discounting to promote products. They need to prioritize what customers are interested in and build a balanced email content “diet” for each recipient. In doing so, marketers can tailor a variety of product offerings suited to different types of customers and further segment their email strategy, delivering as many email themes as they desire (or as many as the data indicates is optimal).

Below are four best practices for creating a balanced email content diet that align with consumers’ unique and constantly evolving tastes and preferences:

1. Build a library

For marketers looking to expand the lifespan of every email, get more click-throughs and generate maximum revenue from every existing piece of content, it’s essential to consolidate and continually maintain a content library. Load your library with tags and start/launch dates, as data can then be mined from this information to test, analyze and retarget content. For instance, using your content library data, you can determine the ideal products and categories to send to each customer, and the perfect time to send it.

2. Test, measure, adjust

Every customer will react differently to any given email so it’s important to treat them as unique shoppers. In fact, one luxury retailer found that, on average, certain product categories only appeal to 10 percent of recipients, moderately appeal to 10 percent and mildly turn off 80 percent of email recipients. This is why test sends are so important. This gives marketers insight into what’s working, what needs to be fine-tuned and ensures that consumer’s evolving tastes are met.

3. Optimize cadences

To build a successful email content strategy, marketers need to pinpoint the perfect email cadence for each customer, while also building out each product category. Each customer has a unique appetite, which changes over time, so it’s important to continually match the frequency and timing of emails to each customer’s changing tastes. Make sure your content always stands out, and that high-value customers stay engaged over the long-term. For example, every customer loves special promotions, but they likely want to see them at different times. You can maximize margins by only offering promotions to each customer at the times they’ll be most responsive to them.

4. Consider re-mailing

Many marketers create one email for a given day and then discard it. However, this approach assumes every customer who didn’t open an email was actively disinterested in that part of your product catalog. If an email gets a large number of click-throughs from customers who did open it, a more efficient solution is simply to resend the email to the rest of your audience a few days later to see if more customers will open it. Like other assets in your business, email is a tool that should be used again and again, whether that means deliberately reusing it, adapting it or both.

Email marketing needs to be customer-focused to succeed. To drive real revenue, increase brand loyalty and boost customer engagement, leverage real customer interactions to optimize your email targeting and use existing transactional data to create more meaningful relationships with your customers. Most importantly, by continually providing more balanced email content diets to consumers, you’ll be able to cross-sell existing customers, build engagement with new ones and drive impact in the categories that matter most to your brand.

You may also want to read, Get Personal and Keep Them Coming Back guide to make sure your email campaigns are personalized to each customer and their individual preferences and behaviors. 

5 Best Practices to Get the Most out of Your Holiday Email Efforts

With a 4400 percent ROI, email is one of the most valuable marketing tools for brands. In fact, most brand marketers will tell you their sales will drop if they stop sending emails, and they need to watch their subscriber churn rates very closely. But what are the best general practices that can make or break a retailer’s email strategy?

With the holiday season upon us, there’s no time like the present to find out. Here are five practices that brand marketers should keep in mind to get the most out of their holiday email efforts.

Determine the Best Frequency

The average number of emails sent per day is a highly contentious number in the retail industry and there is no magical number. It’s a fine line between engaging an audience and driving sales, versus abusing a customer list and unintentionally driving valuable customers away.

While it requires some data analysis, adjustments, and patience, timing emails to reach each customer at the most opportune moment will increase engagement and ultimately lift sales. For example, after sending and analyzing the data from test emails, a brand could determine that a specific audience segment, such as females ages 40-50, might be opening the most emails on a Saturday morning when it originally thought Monday afternoon was the best time. At the end of the day, the optimal email frequency comes down to a brand’s audience, so continually testing and analyzing the cadence that has the best results is essential.

Expose More Products to New Shoppers

Exposing a breadth of products is an important way to make sure emails are relevant to shoppers, even if the main content of the email does not directly apply to them. In situations with new shoppers, the more categories that are exposed, the greater the opportunity for finding the categories that appeal to them. This is especially important when many people are shopping for friends and family during the holiday season.

However, it’s easier said than done. Data from a recent Coherent Path and RSR Research study found that the vast majority of brands evaluated include different categories in less than 50 percent of their emails. At that rate, it will take most retailers more than three years to expose their entire catalog. Using customer data to identify categories that will serve otherwise underserved populations not only exposes more of a brand’s catalog but enables them to make future offers that align with the customer’s evolving tastes.

Create Engaging, Personalized Content

If email content is too long, consumers are less likely to see messages at the bottom of an email. Offers with very generic subject lines — “You’ll Love This” or “Offer Inside” — leave little incentive for consumers to scroll through the entire email. Offering engaging, personalized messages that meet the promise in the subject line are key in standing out in a sea of holiday promotional emails.

Just as important as the messaging, brand marketers need to maximize the lifespan of every email, which is why it’s essential to keep an updated archive of past email campaigns. Brand marketers should include tags, start dates, and launch dates in their email marketing platform, as data can then be mined from this information to test, analyze and retarget content.

Optimize for Mobile

While email remains one of the most important channels for marketers, mobile delivery is close behind. According to eMarketer, more than half of emails worldwide (55 percent) were opened in a mobile environment in 2017, more than webmail (28%) and desktop (16%) combined. So, it may be a surprise to know 60 percent of the retailers evaluated in the same Coherent Path and RSR Research report do not send any mobile-optimized emails. In order to effectively see results from email marketing campaigns, brand marketers need to ensure each of those emails is ready for reading by the 74 percent of smartphone owners who use their mobile phones to check email.

Recognize the Pitfalls of Offering Discounts

Discounting comes with some serious drawbacks — lower perceived value, profit cuts and setting bad precedents, to name a few — and simply aren’t as necessary as they once were thanks to new developments in data science and personalization. Not only does heavily discounting train customers to wait until the price is lowered, but it does little when it comes to holding onto loyal, repeat customers. Rather than defaulting to discounts, brand marketers should focus on understanding the customer journey and offering products that customers love and are willing to buy at full price.

Email is one of the most important parts of a brand’s marketing mix, so simply "mailing it in" isn’t an option. By implementing these five best practices, retailers will be able to get the most value out of their email strategy just in time for the holidays. For a more detailed approach and more best practices, check out the Email Deliverability Modern Marketing Guide, available for download now.

Email Deliverability Modern Marketing Guide