The ABCs of Relevancy

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Stop right there. Don't even think about sending an e-mail campaign addressed "Dear. Inbox!"

For some e-mail marketers this might seem like a given, but for others it's non-personalized, irrelevant e-mail as usual. JupiterResearch's David Daniels revealed at a recent ad:tech conference that 24 percent of marketers still send broadcast messages and a whopping 65 percent use only quasi-personalization and segmentation.

Enough is enough, e-mail marketers. We need to review the ABCs of Relevancy.

A is for Acquisition Channel. If you want your customers to take action on your e-mail campaigns, you better know why they are communicating with your company. If a customer signed up for your online newsletter in hopes of receiving the latest tips and tricks in home improvement, deliver it. If another is a prospect, you will want to communicate with that individual differently than with a current client.

Use different acquisition channels, such as promoting opt-in for an online newsletter on your Web site or acquiring permission lists from other units in your company. But remember to acknowledge how the customer is associated with your company, and continue to learn more.

B is for Behavior. Customer behavior is perhaps the best way to understand the individual. If you want to understand how best to communicate with your customer, you first must understand your customer. Move from understanding nothing about your customer, to knowing his or her first name, to recognizing individual interests, hobbies and habits (what they click on, what they buy, etc.). Knowing this will make the difference between boredom and relevance.

C is for Centralized Data. The lack of centralized customer data still challenges the largest e-mail marketers. It doesn't matter how great or how much customer data you have. If you can't connect the pieces, it is worthless. Use e-mail surveys to initiate customer data gathering, track the customer responses and store the information in one centralized location to be used for all future customer communications. It's 2006. Ditch the list and get a relational database.

Remember, relevancy delivers revenue improvement over broadcast e-mail. Review your ABCs and you might be one step closer to joining the 11 percent of marketers that truly target their customers.

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