DM News' Essential Guide to E-Mail Marketing: Integrate E-Mail With Other Channels

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As online shoppers become more sophisticated with and trusting of the channel, companies recognize that e-mail is an important communication vehicle that needs to be integrated with all their marketing efforts.

Therefore, plan your e-mail schedules in advance the way you would your catalog circulation and retail marketing plans. Studies continue to show that multichannel shoppers spend more with you annually. As your customers shop from the different channels of your business, be sure to integrate marketing plans to complement each channel.

For example, send an e-mail to your file heralding a catalog in the mail and offering a sneak peek online. Follow the catalog in-home date with an e-mail highlighting a particular product in the catalog.

Mirror your offline marketing efforts to online inquiries. Just as you would immediately mail a catalog to a catalog requester, send an e-mail instantly to your registrants. This e-mail, immediately following their online registration, confirms receipt and gives you a chance to provide an offer that directs them back to your Web site to shop.

After they receive the confirmation, treat them as prospects for at least two e-mails to convert them. Then automatically add them to your regularly scheduled campaigns.

Market and track segments of your e-mail file separately. As house files grow to substantial numbers, start segmenting files and tracking results to maximize revenue. As mentioned, treat new signups differently at first. It's also important to track different segments by source or recency, frequency and monetary value for different marketing approaches.

Get the e-mail opened. Write your subject line strategically, using compelling words that entice readers to open the message. Tease readers into wanting more. The subject line should tell readers "what's in it for them" in as few words as possible, and be sure the space that appears in the preview window shouts out the same offer.

Ensure e-mail creative enhances your brand and drives a call to action. E-mails should have a consistent look and feel with your Web site and other marketing efforts. Ensure your creative and call to action are consistent with your objectives.

Promotional offers pull better than non-promotional ones but if your metrics don't justify the cost of the offer, get creative with words. Let your consumers feel you value them by using the words "Sneak peek," "Just in" and "New ideas."

Test different elements of a campaign to drive the most sales. The beauty of e-mail marketing is that results come back within 24 hours. An excellent opportunity to speak to your multichannel shopper is in an e-mail asking customers to vote on which catalog cover they want to see in the next mailing or what their favorite color is for the upcoming season. This mixes up your campaigns, builds on customer loyalty and ties online to offline.

Analyze results on an ongoing basis. Monitor click-throughs, bounces and unsubscribes. More importantly, look at total sales, sales per e-mail and drill each campaign down to the product level. And remember, many things can affect results, so analyze results on a campaign, offer and seasonal basis.

E-mail is a great way to communicate with customers, drive revenue and enhance brand. By planning out campaigns, testing different elements and monitoring results, your e-mail business will be very important in the mix of your online and offline marketing.

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