Continuing our coverage of a recent whitepaper from Forrester Research, authored by David Daniels, The ROI of Email Relevance, 2009, this week we draw conclusions from a recent Forrester survey of 103 email marketers and list some best practices to help your email campaigns remain as relevant as possible.
(For part 1 of this series, click here.)
Marketers who combine segmentation and content targeting tactics enjoy far greater revenue and net profit gains over marketers who fail to embrace segmentation, finds Forrester’s Q1 2009 Global Email Marketing And On-Site Targeting Online Survey. Here are some additional conclusions from the report:
- Integrating web analytics data with email continues to boost the top and bottom lines. Marketers who integrate web analytics data (e.g., website behavior) with email marketing reported average conversion rates of 7 percent on these programs. However, this only represents a subset of their audiences. Leveraging customer attitudes with behavior can broaden the addressable audience.
- A mix of segmentation and targeting tactics drives higher results. Marketers who use at least one segmentation attribute and relevancy empowering tactic (e.g., testing and dynamic content) revealed that they experienced exceptional metrics across the board, including clickthrough rates of 17 percent and conversion rates of 6 percent. The bottom-line improvement over the web analytics segment can be primarily attributed to these marketers reporting lower staffing and integration costs.
- Combining social attributes with email targeting optimizes relevancy. It’s no surprise that early adopter email marketers implementing these tactics are seeing better gains versus the “spray and pray” crowd given that consumers continue to value their peers’ opinions when making a variety of decisions. This social segment includes marketers who are using social contribution as a segmentation attribute, as well as those who are using product review content in their email campaigns. These marketers reported 33 percent open rates, 18 percent unique clickthrough rates and more than 7 percent conversion rates.
6 rules of relevancy
To help marketers prioritize and accelerate their adoption of segmentation and relevancy empowering tactics, the whitepaper listed the following six rules to put into practice:
1. Humanizing content is the new cost of entry. While basic mail merge personalization can assist in having a message stand out in the inbox, humanizing the offer with product review content can have tremendous top- and bottom-line impact. Bath & Body Works created a series of “top product” messages, and those that contained product reviews had average order values 10 percent higher than its traditional email offers, and the sales per visitor increased by 12 percent.
2. The customer voice will carry the message. Implement social sharing mechanisms within your email to drive subscriber acquisition and engagement. Cosmetic company Astral Brands incorporated social sharing into its email content, and within the first month of its use the program drove 3,000 subscribers to become fans of the brand on Facebook.
3. Behavioral targeting will drive subscriber value and define email marketers’ treasure. Integrate website behavioral data to better inform and drive subscriber value. Beauty products retailer L’Occitane coupled website browsing behavior with previous purchase behavior to craft a targeted mailing that drove higher open, clickthrough and conversion rates than its control segment, delivering an eight times improvement in dollars per email.
4. Automation around key customer behaviors will drive success. To rapidly improve email ROI, automate programs around key customer behaviors such as abandon and activation. Athletic apparel marketer Under Armour, for example, began to automate mailings around browse and abandon behaviors. It tested the effectiveness of these programs against mailings that were targeted simply off of richer customer profile data and discovered that these automated behavioral programs delivered a 22 percent lift in conversion over the campaigns targeted by profile data.
5. List value is more important than size. Employing segmentation strategies will reveal smaller, more valuable segments, which is more effective than blasting the same message to all subscribers. Take Chefs.com, for example. The kitchen supplies seller crafted master customer segments based on spending, behavior and attitudes, and determined that these relevant messages showed the potential of behavioral and attitudinal targeting strategies, lifting average order size by 67 percent and 31 percent, respectively.
6. Testing and change management are paramount. Driving relevancy and adapting email programs through behavioral targeting and automation are largely based on an organization’s readiness to guide its marketing efforts around the notion of optimization and embracing change. The Cable Shopping Network recognized this need to quickly adjust its business strategies in real time and invested in automated optimization by coupling its site analytics to its email marketing tool. The program, which optimizes content based on subscriber behavior, is on track to deliver $500,000 in additional revenue this year.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.