Understand and respond to your customers through analytics

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When you blast an e-mail campaign, you know the number of visitors to your Web site will increase. But how much do you know about the specific types of visitors you are attracting and what triggered their clicks? Here is how you can use analytics to understand the return frequency of your visitors and optimize your messaging based on how they respond to your e-mails.

When you look at a typical unique visitor graph from an e-mail blast, you will see a spike each time a message is sent. This allows you to know with certainty that your e-mail efforts are driving more customers to your site. But are the customers clicking through because of the product offerings? Are they interested in the special offers? Or are they simply responding to the e-mail as a reminder that your site is out there?

To find the answer to these questions, we analyzed the click activity for one of our b-to-c retail client's e-mail campaigns. We noticed that more users clicked on links directing them to the Web site than clicked on the product links offered in the e-mail. Further analysis confirmed that the products purchased as a result of the campaign were not the featured products in the e-mail. We were working hard to find the right products to feature and match them to the particular segment of the list, but analysis of the click reports showed that product did not matter. Most of the customers simply used the e-mail as a trigger to visit the site.

We looked deeper into the daily Web analytics reports by return frequency. Forty-eight percent of the traffic generated from the e-mail was from visitors who had not been to the site in the past 30 days, while 34 percent of the traffic was generated from visitors who had been away from 15 to 30 days.

Armed with this knowledge, we turned our focus from finding the optimal product to feature in the e-mail to creating compelling reasons or offers that would drive customers to the site — where they are able to purchase many more products than can effectively be displayed in an e-mail. We then focused subsequent creative and marketing efforts on discovering ways to increase repeat visits, increase order frequency, increase average orders and maximize long-term customer value.

Watching your customers' click and purchase behaviors will allow you to fine-tune your e-mail messages and optimize both your customers' experiences and your campaign results.

Jack Felsheim is the marketing director at Ovation Marketing. He can be reached at jackf@ovationmarketing.com.

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