With Email, One Size Does Not Fit All

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With Email, One Size Does Not Fit All
With Email, One Size Does Not Fit All

Designing one-size-fits-all email campaigns may be easier than crafting tailored messages. But not necessarily more effective. According to The 2013 Digital Marketer benchmark and trend report by Experian Marketing Services, 70% of brands surveyed admit that they do not personalize the email messages sent to their subscribers. However, adding that personal touch can truly pay off, as triggered emails with personalized subject lines generated a 29.2% open rate compared to those without personalization (23.3%).

For Destination XL Group, Inc, personalizing contacts with a broad customer audience can be challenge, says Jay Nigrelli, VP of e-commerce for the specialty retailer of big and tall men's apparel. Hence, Destination XL Group uses technology from CQuotient, a hyper-personalized email marketing company, to give its emails a more customized feel.

“CQuotient allows us to create personalized product recommendations at scale. We're able to supplement out existing batch emails, reaching hundreds of thousands of our customers with relevant featured products, specific to the individual, based on past purchase and browse behavior,” Nigrelli says.

On average, Nigrelli says Destination XL Group sends out five to 10 emails containing personalized recommendations highlighting a specific promotion. This personalization could not be achieved without data. To determine customers' range of engagement, Nigrelli and his team measure unsubscribes, opens, clicks, previous purchases, what customers click on, and site behavior. “A/B and control testing is important in understanding what's working and the incrementality associated with it,” Nigrelli adds.

Nigrelli notes that Destination XL Group uses email for a variety of purposes. For example, he says the retailer sends triggered emails to welcome new customers and subscribers, thank customers for their business, generate feedback, and remind abandoners about the brand. In addition, the retailer uses batched email to alert customers of new arrivals as well as send out flash sale announcements, he says.

“Creatively, email can help to shape how customers perceive our brand,” Nigrelli says.

But should more data mean more emails? Nigrelli says no. In fact, he says that bombarding customers with too many emails can often have negative consequences.

“With email CPMs so low, I believe [that] many marketers feel the more email the better. Unfortunately, that can come at a cost in the form of unsubscribes and decreased customer engagement over time,” Nigrelli says. “The key is to provide value and relevance on a consistent basis.”

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