Next-generation e-mail marketing gets personal

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The days of "one-size-fits-all," "batch-and-blast" e-mail marketing are gone. In its place is "e-mail-plus," a new age e-mail marketing strategy that uses e-mail in combination with other one-to-one marketing tactics and technologies to accelerate conversation and optimize ROI. Here are four examples of e-mail plus campaigns that worked for ExactTarget customers:

The first combines e-mail and CRM. Genworth Financial integrates e-mail with its CRM system to personalize e-mail content to the needs of individual subscribers. Since implementing this, personalized e-mail sent on behalf of the Genworth sales executive produced a 7% to 10% higher open rate compared to non-personalized e-mail. Sales were 39% higher for Genworth customers who received personalized e-newsletters compared to those who did not.

The second integrates e-mail and analytics. Petplace.com used e-mail marketing to launch a new e-commerce business that catapulted revenue from zero to $1 million in less than 12 months. Using data from its Web analytics provider coupled with e-mail marketing technology, Petplace.com delivers content relevant to the type of pet owned by the customer and recommends products based on the customer's activity on the site, recent clicks in e-mails and identified interests.

Another joins e-mail and social media. Dreamfields Pasta uses e-mail to deliver offers, recipes and coupons to e-mail subscribers and invite them to visit the Dreamfields page on Facebook where they can exchange recipes and experiences with other consumers. It uses ExactTarget's social forward capability, inviting subscribers to forward Dreamfields e-mail to friends in their social networks. In less than two years, Dreamfields has built an opt-in database of 280,000 consumer e-mail subscribers and more than 18,000 healthcare professionals. It also has expanded its reach to new customers by inviting "brand fans" to spread the word.

The last links e-mail to the point of sale. Regional car care company Mike's Express Carwash did this to monitor coupon use and prevent coupon fraud. Customers are invited to participate in the e-mail campaign when they purchase a car wash. Every receipt includes a unique offer code and provides a link to the survey site, TalkToMikes.com. Upon completion of the two-question survey, customers are e-mailed a coupon with a unique barcode for a free car wash. To prevent multiple uses of the same coupon, data from each coupon barcode is automatically uploaded to Mike's Express Carwash's point of sale system to ensure the code is only recognized once.

Joel Book is director of eMarketing education at ExactTarget. He can be reached at jbook@exacttarget.com.

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