Drive e-commerce with tailored email tactics

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Drive e-commerce with tailored email tactics
Drive e-commerce with tailored email tactics

Despite big headlines around social media and mobile, email marketing is still the most effective way for e-commerce companies to drive sales online. It is often the central component within digital plans as e-commerce marketers rely on the medium for building relationships and earning revenue. As more consumers check emails on mobile phones, many marketers have begun to test and develop email programs that are executed for mobile.

Direct Marketing News convened a diverse group of e-commerce executives in June for an editorial roundtable discussion, sponsored by Bronto Software, to talk about several facets of email marketing strategy. In addition to rendering emails for mobile, the group discussed issues around deliverability, customer segmentation, preference centers and personalization, as well as the challenges in attribution management across digital marketing channels, how to effectively use behavioral targeting in email, the benefits of automation and welcome email programs. The group also shared creative strategies on how reactivation programs can help drive sales and at the same time clean lists.

Direct Marketing News: How are you embracing emerging marketing channels like social media and mobile?

David Wachter (Jimmy Jazz): We have our Facebook and Twitter pages going and we have a lifestyle blog on our site. But I am really not finding ways to monetize it yet. I'm just in a holding pattern, waiting to see what some of the bigger players out there in specialty retail end up doing. Mobile is our next step. By 2013, people will be using their mobile devices more than their desktop computers. Even though only about 3% to 6% of companies are doing something for mobile right now, there's going to be a paradigm shift in the next couple of years.

Todd Morris (BrickHouse Security): We're still looking at a way to monetize social media and a way to monitor and manage it. We're looking for a tool to profile our customers across Twitter, Facebook, the blog and RSS, and then tie it back to the CRM system. But more urgent is the need to deal with mobile. Every time we send an email, a large percentage of the recipients are reading it on a mobile device.

It is pretty unlikely that they will read it on their mobile device and then read it again on their desktop. If they're reading it on their phone, they're going to click it on their phone. You want them to land on a site where they can transact on the phone. That's a key initiative for us over the next six months.

Bobby Missry (SwimsuitsForAll.com): Our customers are a little bit older, so our percent of mobile users is pretty low right now. The demographic is women ages 45 and older. Because our customers are more mature in age and not really so tech savvy, we're not really doing much in terms of mobile. We are aware of it but it's probably more like 2015 when our customers will be shopping on their mobile phones.

Laura Santos (Envelopes.com): According to Google, of all the websites across the Internet, 79% are not mobile optimized. That means there's a lot of sites, especially e-commerce sites, that are not mobile optimized. I find it a difficult challenge because our product is so detailed. If you're doing a custom-printed job, there are many things within the operation before you get to the checkout. You're picking your product, you're designing it online, you are potentially uploading something and sending something later. That's the hesitation for us with Envelopes.com.

Jim Davidson (Bronto Software): There are certain consumer experiences where you may want to push them to your site more than pushing them to a mobile-optimized site. Look at your brand. Look at your users. It may be that they're on your blog, but not on your Facebook. Maybe you have somebody who wants to sign up via Facebook Connect and that's going to be their optimum method.

Direct Marketing News: What are you doing to personalize your emails?

John Carton (Ashford.com): We are really embracing personalization. We have a membership offer in which customers can inform us which brands they're interested in. Having customers inform us about what they're interested in really improves the communication. This is very strategic for us in the next couple of years, really making personal recommendations based upon what they're interested in.

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