Tag Archives: email marketing

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

 

Turn Off Bad Pop Music and Turn On Good Marketing Strategy

This week, we got into the sadness of crummy email marketing, the delight of writing productivity, and the puzzle of why anyone ever treated marketing and selling like they were two completely different things. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman talked about how weak email marketing is even weaker than Nickelback. (Wow.) Apologies in advance for any
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Putting Dynamic Back into Email Design

While it may surprise those who view emails as an antiquated channel of communication, emails are still a crucial part of the way brands communicate with consumers. Just consider that in 2017, global email users amounted to 3.7 billion people, and, this figure is set to grow to 4.3 billion in 2022.

While this sounds conclusive, in practice, email marketing remains a hotbed of discussion with marketers divided on one question: Is the content or design more important?

The first email was sent in 1971. Back then, content ruled supreme. But over 37 years, emails have evolved to offering greater scope for marketers. Today, we want to focus on design. This isn’t just about finding the right images and colors for the message, but rather the opportunity to be fully interactive, enhance product engagement and have the look and feel of an app.

So how do marketers achieve that? It is by understanding that neither content nor design is more important. The performance of both is intrinsically linked to data. Only informative, relevant content together with engaging design will keep a customer’s attention. And whether it be an image change, text change or module change, data can now determine exactly how the customer interaction takes place.

Making the Leap

In 2018, email design is all about dynamic content.

Imagine an email campaign that automatically adapts based on the known interests of each subscriber. That is dynamic content. It is an advanced personalization technique, which uses data held within each subscriber’s profile to automatically display content more closely aligned with their known interests or preferences.

The key is aggregated data that can be pulled from email sign-up preferences, profiling subscribers or behavioral data. And dynamic content can be used in a wide range of applications. Either data-based design, including a CTA offering based on previous interactions, or using the nearest store location information or gender specific information. Or you could provide contextual content pulled from custom feeds, social networks, and website behavior. This information includes recent interactions, weather feeds, location, and customer persona.

Putting it into Action

This is all well and good, but you might be thinking, "We just don’t have time to create great designs and tap into dynamic content. We are always working to extremely tight deadlines.” The answer is templates and planning.

Modular email templates are the key to successful use of dynamic content. The template is a framework that includes a header and footer with several content modules. These content modules can be stacked and then removed, rearranged, and repeated in numerous configurations. Most importantly, they allow for design freedom without the need for extensive HTML knowledge.

As a first step, marketers should conduct an audit of previous email campaigns to see what works and how consumers reacted to design. Then, template the most commonly used modules and template dynamic content rules.

Ultimately, brands and marketers don’t have to compromise on email design to send a relevant, data-driven email. Why? Data drives design. It ensures that content is shown in the best possible way to different audiences. Relevant content increases familiarity and loyalty, which in turn, improves click through and conversion rates.

Want more?

Watch the webinar, Bridging the Gap: How to Orchestrate and Personalize the Entire Customer Experience, to learn how your organization can unify email and web orchestration with a strategy that will keep communications relevant and audiences engaged.

Watch the webinar today.

Weak Email Marketing and Nickelback Have Less in Common than You Might Think

I’ve never admitted this to anyone before: I don’t always change the radio station right away when a Nickelback song comes on. See? That first line wasn’t hyperbole. How embarrassing. Here’s about how far I’ll let “How You Remind Me” play before finding something else to listen to: “Never made it as a wise man
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The post Weak Email Marketing and Nickelback Have Less in Common than You Might Think appeared first on Copyblogger.

The Cost of Free: Subject Lines and Email Deliverability

An enticing subject line is a critical tool in a marketer’s arsenal, driving open rates, engagement in the inbox, and ultimately conversions. A subject line is the first preview a recipient has to the message that awaits them, triggering a split-second decision regarding the fate of a campaign. The question is, will your subject lines drive users to delete, open, or flag your messages as spam?

What’s at Stake?

The risks to a sender’s deliverability and reputation are very real. Spam is increasingly in the eye of the recipient, and good marketers know that relevant content is key to combating user fatigue and maintaining a strong sender reputation. The use of engaging subject lines is a dynamic part of this strategy, but it can tempt otherwise good senders into desperate bids for opens. We’ve all seen such offers in our inboxes:

  • “$$$ Act Now!”
  • “FREE FREE FREE”
  • “Money Inside!”

The reasoning makes sense on the surface: strong deliverability requires an engaged audience regularly opening emails from a brand, and what better way to accomplish this than by convincing users a great deal is only a click away.

But at what point does this language have the opposite effect, getting lost in the shuffle of traditional spam messaging from bad actors trying to reach the same audience? Can using traditionally spammy words like free and money in a subject line sink the performance of a sender otherwise adhering to best practices?

The Results

Using the email performance and deliverability tool, eDataSource, I pulled performance metrics on campaigns sent Q1 2018 (January 1—March 31) for four industries: Apparel: Online Fashion, Financial Institutions, Petcare & Supplies, and Travel Services & Tourism. I then drilled into the performance of only those campaigns that included the word, “free,” in the subject line, as well as those that included the word, “money,” for each industry over the same period.

Subject line dataAdmittedly, there are countless factors that can account for the inbox rate of a particular campaign beyond subject line, but I strongly believe the data above tells a compelling story for marketers trying to figure out the best way to reach their audiences. Although minimally in some instances, the average performance for campaigns featuring free or money in their subject lines performed lower than the industry averages overall in all four categories.

Interestingly, money seemed to have little impact on Travel Services & Tourism and Petcare & Supplies, whereas free caused a significant drop in performance. Only one category, Financial Institutions, seemed largely immune to this drop-off, with a less than 2 percent performance impact for either keyword. Both keywords triggered a significant performance drop for Apparel: Online Fashion.

What This Tells Us

The standard industry wisdom to avoid using free and similar messaging in subject lines still seems to carry weight. Why? Try assuming the perspective of the recipient. Not only are users inundated with mail on a daily basis from myriad brands, they are conditioned to perceive all unwanted messages as spam, regardless of whether or not they were properly opted in. Today’s email recipients have even gone so far as to create spam-specific email accounts, taking active steps to avoid spam messaging regardless of the offers listed in their subject lines.

So does this mean senders should never use this language? Not necessarily.

It’s Not All Bad

While the deliverability operations team recommends certain words to avoid, the use of a keyword in a subject line is not enough to drive lower deliverability on its own, as demonstrated by financial institutions’ results.

Traditionally, financial institutions are much more susceptible to spoofing or phishing. These are brands that deal directly with the money and finances of their users, and as such, are very attractive to spammers trying to obtain the same information for nefarious purposes. Within this industry space, words like free and money are often unavoidable.

So how do they avoid performance issues? Best practices.

Ensuring proper authentication is in place, that users are being properly opted into campaigns, and that engagement-based segmentation is universally applied. These are still a sender’s best bet for reaching the inbox and are likely more strictly applied in today’s high-stakes email environment.

So, once you’ve applied this to your own sending and have consistently reached the inbox, it’s time to figure out if your subject lines are doing more harm than good. Review your results, analyze the performance of these types of campaigns against the larger whole, and make informed decisions.

Download Email Deliverability: Guide for Modern Marketers to find out how to achieve email deliverability that really delivers.

Email deliverability ebook

How 1:1 Email Experiences Help Retail Marketers Drive Results

By Kristen Dunleavy, senior content marketing manager at Movable Ink

Email has long been the workhorse of digital marketing. It is the most natural channel to deliver on the promise of personalized digital experiences. Email allows for a direct and intimate 1:1 relationship between a brand and its customer.

In fact, 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement, according to eConsultancy — and a whopping 90% of marketers feel like they’re already doing effective personalization.

So why is it that only 40% of consumers feel like they’ve experienced any personalization?

Achieving next-level personalization is a challenge for most marketers, who have precious little time and resources to spare. Implementing a personalized campaign without the right solutions could take months to get out the door.

Retail marketers in particular face a unique set of challenges. With increased competition (the Amazon effect, anyone?) and the fact that shopping has become an omnichannel experience, the stakes are higher than ever. Retail marketers need to create the personalized experiences their customers crave while avoiding putting a strain on their resources.

Developing a long-term, repeatable strategy is the first step toward achieving these goals. Creating 1:1 experiences in email helps retail marketers do the following:

Drive performance. Help customers make complex purchasing decisions, which often involve complementary products from partners. Emails need to teach customers how and when to use a product to keep them engaged and clicking throughout the customer lifecycle.

Enhance productivity. Quickly react to fast-changing customer demand, which requires email marketers to coordinate email with website content, using live pricing, inventory, and purchasing trends. Emails that show the wrong price or promote out-of-stock items don’t just lose revenue, they hurt the customer experience.

Elevate experiences. Showcase the authentic customer experience found in Instagram photos and Twitter posts of customers and fans. Emails that don’t incorporate curated user generated content (UGC) fail to capitalize on the growing power of social influencers.

So what kinds of personalization tactics work best for retail marketers? Here are just some of the ways that retail marketers are using email to see those incredible results.

Personalized Loyalty Email Campaigns

Loyalty email campaigns are key for long-term customer engagement. Here are a few ways retail marketers can create more personalized experiences in their emails.

• Showcase real-time spend, points, and other program content that is personalized up to the millisecond and changes every time an email is reopened.

• Eliminate confusion from outdated point values from different sources, or stale hard-coded data that can lead to costly customer service inquiries and program attrition.

• Add on-brand data visualization of points accrued and their redemption values mimicking the exact design of your web and mobile experiences.

• Accelerate points burn with 1:1 redemption recommendations that customers qualify for at the moment of open.

1:1 Email Promotions

With email personalization, retail marketers can target the right customers with the right promotions. Here are a few ways to make that happen.

• Drive customers to in-store locations with local maps, geotargeting, weather personalization, and other contextual elements based on their location at the moment of open.

• Target the right customer at open time with customer preference data and website behaviors, such as browsing history and cart activity.

• Display best-selling and recommended products to drive customers to act fast.

Creative Variations With Contextual Elements

For retail marketers with a number of store locations and customers spread throughout the country (or even the world), it’s important to target the right people with the right content. Here’s how using creative variations can help.

• Automatically generate content variations, including language and location-based variations to best serve international customers.

• Create personalized, time-targeted promotions with a single email send to keep customers engaged over time.

• Develop campaigns with a number of variations that are consistently on-brand and render perfectly on any device.

Conclusion

1:1 email experiences help retail marketers create real connections with their customers, keep them engaged over time, and drive powerful results. Oracle Marketing Cloud and Movable Ink work together to help retail marketers create these experiences every day. To learn more about how Oracle Marketing Cloud and Movable Ink partner with leading retail brands, download our ebook: Creating Compelling Retail Experiences with Movable Ink + Oracle Marketing Cloud.

Want more?

Read The Personalization Playbook to learn how you can show customers that your brand understands their wants and needs on any single channel or across multiple channels.

The Personalization Playbook

Bio:

Kristen Dunleavy is the head of the content marketing program at Movable Ink, the leading provider of intelligent content for email marketing. When she isn't writing, you can find her training for her next physical challenge or sampling new cuisines (but not at the same time).

Segmentation Must Be Connected to the Data and Technology Stack

This article is part of our series on customer experience where we look at how to connect data, intelligence, and experiences. Read the previous article, Great Customer Experiences Rely on Robust Identity Management.

Your ability to deliver personalized customer experiences across multiple channels is increasingly being tested. There is a good reason for this – cross-channel communication is more effective, harder to do, and demanded by your customers. It's a fact: Targeted campaigns deliver much higher conversion rates than batch-and-blast efforts.

Unfortunately, the foundations upon which these experiences are built – data, segmentation, and the insights they generate – are too often poorly designed and even more poorly integrated.

For example, data is often trapped in silos, preventing any linkages and the insights this can produce. The ultimate result is incomplete or poor segmentation and, in turn, disconnected customer experiences.

If either the data or the intelligence applied to it are lacking, the result will be substandard. That is because disconnected data combined with disconnected intelligence produces disconnected experiences.

Breaking down organization data silos is the first step, but it’s not an easy one. This is particularly challenging for organizations dealing with complex or outdated legacy systems. However, success on this front creates a valuable resource for business and one that can underpin targeted marketing campaigns.

Of course, data alone lacks utility. The question for marketers is how to pool the data, and then create useful insights, which can be turned into appropriate messaging for customers and prospects.

Marketing 101

Segmentation may sound like marketing 101, but it is a process that still trips up some marketers. Effective segmentation is foundational to any marketing or advertising strategy and spans a range of tactics and meanings.

At a simple level, it is essentially labeling groups of people based on behavior, demographics, marketing tactics, and personas.

The temptation is to segment once, establish your customer labels, and then move on to insights. But effective segmentation is a continuous, iterative process that enriches your data over time. That also means segmentation must remain attached to the data and the technology stack.

The trap many marketers fall into is slicing their customer base into labels without connecting the technology stack. While the labels may be based on sound data insights, failing to tie them back to the data creates problems as it is unclear what characteristics make up the labels.

This is known as aspirational segmentation, and it can create problems when it comes time to execute. For instance, you might find that when you run a campaign to a certain segment you can't actually find that group of people because they are not connected to the technology stack.

Let’s say your target group is ‘fun-seekers.’ Marketers need to know exactly which attributes or data points qualify a prospect as a fun seeker. Do they frequent music festival sites? Listen to a particular genre of music? Or perhaps take advantage of travel promotions? However marketers wish to define it, knowing this allows for more effective targeting, but also fast tracks increasingly automated messaging.

If the funseeker segment isn’t attached to data, it's almost impossible to target, and without data it is also subjective.

And getting it right will give you foundational knowledge of your customers, which can be leveraged in effective data-driven marketing.

If segmentation is data-driven and data attached, then it can be executed upon and it's part of the technology stack. So not only can you campaign, but you can also run reports. Then, you can test and tweak it, and ultimately optimize the campaign.

Segmentation means lots of things. It can be as simple as selecting groups of males or females. More data complex segmentation might involve merging multiple data sources and using data science and machine learning to build a customized segmentation system.

The important thing is segmentation remains attached to data and becomes executable.

Marketers should aim to segment all their data, but it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Start small, segment the data you have access to, and see what works. Expand when you see the results. The most important thing is to get started!

Want more?

Download our free Busting 5 Common Myths of Marketing Automation to learn how the right segmentation is the start to proper predictive analysis, account-based marketing, lead nurturing, and attribution modeling.

Busting 5 Common Myths of Marketing Automation

How to Speed up Your Cart Recovery, Increase Sales & Revenue

Getting a visitor to add a product to their shopping cart isn’t enough. Statistically, 77 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned before the sale is completed. Savvy marketers don’t count those sales as an immediate loss because they know it is now possible to recoup 10 percent to 30 percent of those sales.

But why are carts abandoned? Are there common practices for re-engaging those customers? How can you improve your current practices and increase sales and ROI?

Reasons for Abandonment

Respondents to a recent survey shared their reasons for abandoning a transaction before purchase:

  1. Shipping and handling costs were too high (54%).
  2. I was not ready to purchase the product (40%).
  3. I wanted to compare prices on other sites (38%).
  4. No free shipping (39%).
  5. Slow shipping (26%).
  6. Long checkout process (21%).
  7. Bad site navigation (16%).

All these sales could have been saved if the companies visited were using re-engagement campaigns, also known as retargeting or remarketing. Remarketing takes several forms, such as internal remarketing ads, external ads, and triggered follow-up email from systems, such as Oracle Eloqua or Oracle Responsys.

Why Speed Matters

Typically, data integrations sync every four to 24 hours. Waiting hours to send a cart recovery email is less effective than taking immediate action. Also, when a prospect is on your website, and you can’t leverage the data within your analytics and marketing automation solutions to make a better experience, you’re missing out on an opportunity to connect with your prospect.

In a recent A/B test, two groups were sent identical cart or application recovery emails. One group received the email immediately upon abandonment, while the other was sent 24 hours later. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of immediate action. The email sent right away saw a 46 percent increase in open rates and a 30 percent increase in recovered cart sales.

A Better and Faster Way

After five years of working on Adobe Analytics, Eloqua and Responsys integrations (formerly Omniture Genesis) that synced data every 24 hours, Enautics was approached by Oracle to build the official replacement for their slower integrations. The first thing we addressed with the Adobe and Oracle engineering teams was speed.

To solve the problem of cart abandonment, we created SegmentSync, a web application that bi-directionally syncs data between Adobe Analytics and Eloqua or Responsys as often as every 30 minutes.

That means that abandoned cart reminder emails will land in the abandoner inbox within 30 minutes of an incomplete application or shopping cart purchase, greatly increasing the chances of recovering the sale.

Let’s Look at the Math

If a B2B online purchase has an average order size of $1,000 and 10 people start a purchase per day, your company could expect at least seven cart abandonments a day (remembering that 77 percent abandonment statistic). That’s about 210 abandoners per month. By emailing them 24 hours after they abandon, you can expect up to 20 percent to be recovered. 210 x 20% = 42 x $1,000 will generate $42,000 in recovered orders.

Sending a recovery email to the prospects within 30 minutes could mean saving 30% of the 210 abandoners. This will increase overall sales to $63,000 per month (210 x 30% = 63 x $1,000). You would be generating an additional $21,000 per month by sending the recovery email much faster.

 

Speed = Sales

It’s clear from the data that the key to recovered sales from cart or application abandonment is speed. Without doubt, prospects in the solution comparison or product consideration stage are more likely to purchase when reminded of their abandonment within 30 minutes.

Click here to learn more about integrating Adobe Analytics and Eloqua or Responsys.