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The keys to improved email marketing effectiveness

Why does one marketer’s email get opened and considered while another offer is deleted after browsing the subject line? As consumers become inundated with emails, marketers need to develop more effective campaigns to rise above the clatter. The era of one-email-serves-all has concluded. Today, marketers must incorporate a number of elements beyond just analytics to target prospects.

The following techniques are ones that marketers should employ to ensure the development of effective marketing campaigns:

1. Don’t send the same offer to everyone. The most important component to creating valuable content is making it extremely relevant to your audience. Relevance creates engagement and engagement leads to valuable relationships.

As an example, we worked with a U.S. leader in the video rentals industry to increase rentals of its older video collections. We proposed to make the program more relevant by replacing the generic “Buy One, Get One” free offer to specific recommendations tailored to each customer’s predicted preferences based on their previous rentals. The program was highly successful and increased purchase rates of older videos by 45%.

2. Tap into analytics. Analytics used to be about finding the right people to target—a fact mainly driven by the high cost of direct mail. Since digital marketing costs are now so much lower, analytics should focus more on matching customers with the most relevant content. For example, models that predict what category a customer is most likely to buy from next can be used to drive dynamic content that sharpens the message to each customer’s predicted buying behavior.

3. Use design for relevance. One of the barriers to using more dynamic content is higher creative costs. However, by instructing the creative team to design for dynamic content blocks up front, templates can be created that offer efficiencies over time. A good design lets you deploy campaigns with hundreds or thousands of highly personalized versions with little extra effort.

4. Review customer habits to tailor offers. Consumers’ habits can be hard to predict, even when they are based on surveys or past actions. Analyzing the lifetime of consumers’ actions, combined with other demographic data, can help marketers discover what will motivate them to take a desired action. For example, if an e-commerce company offers a paid loyalty membership program, it might consider using transactional and demographic data to segment customers into categories (long-term; those interested in expedited shipping; infrequent purchasers, etc.) With this information in hand, marketers can create targeted messages for each group.

5. Limit the number of options. Marketers may have thousands of goods to sell, and a myriad of influences for what to offer—but overwhelming the consumer with too many choices doesn’t equate to sell-through. Instead, marketers should analyze which products are the most relevant and offer them accordingly. It’s better to present fewer but more relevant choices.

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