By Will Schnabel, Vice President and General Manager of International Markets, Silverpop
Despite the fact that marketing technology solutions are more sophisticated than ever, some marketers still cling to the same old email campaigns they’ve run for years.
Instead of incorporating innovations to better engage customers and drive revenue, they’re blasting away with lame messaging that runs the risk of getting ignored, deleted or marked as spam.
Have your email campaigns grown stale and less relevant? If you want to stand out, you need to do more to position yourself above the competitive fray. Here are three tactics to get you started.
1) Customer Reviews
Consumers today are placing increased value on user-generated content, often trusting their peers’ opinions over advertising and other company-produced materials when making purchase decisions.
For email marketers, this provides a golden opportunity to increase engagement by including customer product reviews in emails, making your messaging both relevant and persuasive.
To build up your database of user-generated reviews, set up an automated trigger that sends a message requesting a product review one or two weeks after a purchase.
You can then populate personalized emails with these reviews according to each recipient’s interests or purchase history, resulting in messages that are more targeted and engaging to recipients.
Courting customers to offer reviews can also help increase brand loyalty. Consider rewarding top contributors by giving them “superstar reviewer” status or delivering sneak peeks at new products. Not only will you encourage these customers to generate even more content, you’ll also be creating an army of brand advocates to help spread your message far and wide.
2) Send When the Recipient Is “In”
What’s the best time to send customers email? For years marketers have agonized over this question. Different preferences among users complicated the situation, a fact highlighted by an AOL/Beta Research Corporation study that indicated that 34 percent of U.S.
Internet users check their email “throughout the day,” while 23 percent prefer to read their messages “as soon as they wake up,” and others indicated email was top of mind right when getting home from work, during lunch and right before bed.
Now, a new technology called Send Time Optimization can analyze recipient behavior on a rolling basis to predict the ideal email delivery time for each address on your mailing list. The system then individually delivers messages to recipients at the precise day and time they’re most likely to be in their inboxes.
By decreasing the chance that an email gets buried in the inbox, open, click-through and conversion rates increase.
Scheduling delivery at the optimized time also solves international mailing challenges. With a single send, messages are delivered at the optimal time, worldwide, eliminating the need to schedule multiple sends across time zones.
3) Measure Engagement
Many marketers only use basic metrics such as opens and click-through rates, failing to properly measure engagement.
Rather than opens and clicks, monitor an email’s effective rate—the percentage of people who click after opening—to gain a better measure of your message’s relevance. This is a powerful metric for gauging the success of retention and loyalty-based campaigns.
High effective rates indicate that your message content was relevant to those who open the message. Conversely, low effective rates mean your content isn’t sufficiently targeted to recipients willing to take the time to glance through your messages.
Savvy marketers realize that you can only achieve solid improvements on campaign elements that you actually take the time to measure. If you’re not measuring campaign performance, you’re missing out on key insights that can improve results, prove your marketing team’s value and create happier customers.
Connecting with customers might seem like a daunting task in an environment in which consumers are bombarded with thousands of interruptive ads and marketing messages every day.
But you can separate yourself from the noise by employing savvy tactics to engage customers with fresh, responsive email campaigns. By using customer reviews to better dialogue with customers, scheduling email delivery at the ideal time for each address on your list, and tracking metrics that more accurately measure engagement, you’ll be on your way to gaining a critical competitive edge in the year ahead.
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