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7 Key ingredients for successful commerce marketing e-mails

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Juniper Research released a staggering figure a couple of months back: Global brand and retail spend on digital marketing activities will reach $200bn in 2015 — a 15% increase over last year. Investment leaves room for experimentation, which is great. However, as commerce marketers adjust their approach, it is important to keep in mind a number of digital marketing best practices:

Relevance

Marketing messages won’t offer value if they don’t resonate with their target recipients. Segmenting audiences is a crucial part of resolving this.

Despite universal appreciation of its importance, many commerce marketers still believe segmentation strategies are too complicated and time intensive. The fact is, they’re really not. Even basic level segmentation can increase engagement and drive sales while remaining relatively painless – for example, breaking audiences down into simple groups such as purchasers and non-purchasers or males and females.

A concerted analytics strategy is also key in driving the right messages to the right people – so take a look at which emails are getting the best open, click-through and conversion rates from which recipients, figure out why and then use these insights to your advantage.

List growth

Well-crafted, timely messages don’t provide as much value if your target list is woefully small. With that in mind, there are some simple measures you can use to attract new subscribers for your marketing messages.

Highly trafficked areas of a website are a magnet for new subscribers, so a first action is to locate a single field opt-in form prominently at the top of your homepage. You may also consider using a pop-up sign-up on your website to prompt new visitors to sign up.

The sign-up process should be as straightforward as possible. Limit the number of fields required to join an email programme. Additional information can be collected over time through pointed drip campaigns or a smart “manage preferences” call to action.

Powerful email headers

The amount of time put into perfecting the content of your marketing message is wasted if no one opens the email.

A key way to unlocking that content is to create relevant and engaging subject lines. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to success here, think through what call to action is being conveyed in the message and think about how you can whet a recipient’s appetite to open the email.

Staying social

For many commerce marketers, social media has become a valuable channel over which brands can engage with consumers, grow their audiences and foster deeper relationships.

There are opportunities now to make the channel more measurable by capitalising on the significant interplay between email and social marketing campaigns and see measurable results. For example, Bronto Software offers the functionality to target customers segments on Facebook based on segments already created on the marketing platform and identified as  more likely to buy – meaning that social and email campaigns can readily complement each other.

For those commerce marketers engaged with Instagram, there is also the opportunity to promote your products with Instagram posts and trigger ready-to-shop emails to interested users who ‘liked’ those posts.

Device awareness

You may know how your site and emails look on mobile devices, but do you know if the shopping experience on other combinations of devices is enjoyable or even functional?

Do some research to see how your customers are currently interfacing with your mobile assets. At a basic level, you might want to ensure that you have a responsive design to your marketing emails, where content expands, contracts and rearranges, depending on the smartphone or tablet it’s being read on.

Automation and retargeting

Automation is an amazing asset in a commerce marketer’s armoury - as long as it doesn’t result in customers being bombarded with messages.

Determine which promotional and triggered messages are of highest priority - a customer who’s just purchased an item will be happy to receive a shipping confirmation but may not be ready for an email offering a discount on their next purchase.

Basket abandonment emails are also a favourite tool of commerce marketers, and they are something customers have come to expect. To make sure that these emails don’t become annoying, focus on service, not selling. So instead of just featuring urgency or a discount in these messages, make them a simple way for shoppers to reconnect with their basket, or suggest similar items in-store or on your site.

Making offline help online

For all the hype around connected commerce, there are a few simple ways that a high street presence can help digital marketing efforts.

For starters, collecting digital contact data, such as an email address, from customers in store at the till is a great way to build your mailing lists and initiate a personalised conversation with your customer. Beyond this, offering customers the opportunity to receive their in-store receipts via email is also useful. This is not only a valuable and convenient service for customers, but also an opportunity to send them additional promotions around relevant products or invite them to join a loyalty programme.

With each passing month, email marketing gets more sophisticated; there are more techniques to use and more technologies to tinker with. While you are doing what it takes to stay abreast of the sharpest new tools and techniques, make these seven core practices part of your commerce marketing strategy.  However, implement then through a lens of adding value to your customers first and foremost, and their engagement and revenues will follow.

Georges Berzgal, Managing Director Europe at Bronto Software

Published on Friday 27 November by Guest Piece

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