Getting to know you: digital body language

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Getting to know you: digital body language
Getting to know you: digital body language

Local e-mail service providers and industry experts talk a great deal about the importance of relevance in keeping recipients engaged, or at least keeping e-mails out of trash bins and spam filters. Of course, this is easier said than done.

Historically, building customer knowledge required either frequent and extensive surveys or outright guesses based on global e-mail open and click metrics.

Exacerbating the challenge, many e-mail clients suppress the tracking function for security reasons, making it harder to know who reads the message, makes a decision or takes an action. The challenge for marketers is getting to know more about the customer without overburdening them.

Fortunately, technology and process are providing marketers with a new option: the ability to read a prospect's “digital body language.” In other words, this means imperceptibly and unobtrusively tracking how targets interact with all of your digital content — website visits, search activity, webcast or podcast downloads — not only your e-mail. Just as physical body language reveals a lot about a person's mood or personality, their online behaviour can tell us how they react to a stimulus, such as a marketing message. The ability to decode a prospect's digital body language empowers the marketer to better time and tailor every new e-mail, and will in the end increase the deliverability of their message.

Understanding a prospect's digital body language doesn't just allow for more relevant e-mail targeting. It also means that marketers, with the help of e-mail, can actually monitor where in the purchasing process the prospect is and tailor each message accordingly. No recipient receives the same e-mail twice, and each new communication reflects the prospect's location on the continuum of engagement.

This approach allows marketers to compare classes of prospects and assign relative values to each. For example, a marketer can monitor a prospect's activity and assign point values to criteria such as “fit” (explicit criteria like role, title, industry) and “engagement” (implicit criteria, including level of interest or engagement).

This process allows marketers to know infinitely more about prospects without burdening them for that information.

A digital body-language-driven approach to e-mail marketing not only increases campaign effectiveness — after all, you are targeting the right people with the right message at the right time — but it also improves brand perception, since you are only supplying prospects with messages they are likely to welcome.

Dennis Dayman is the chief deliverability officer for Eloqua.

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