How to get the most out of your email marketing campaign

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Marketing Tech caught up with Emailvision’s Henry Smith at Ad:Tech to discuss best practices in terms of email marketing for e-retailers

Research from cloud-based e-commerce marketers Emailvision has revealed that many top UK e-retailers don’t ask for such data as gender, date of birth and phone number for their marketing campaigns.

The first UK Retail Email Benchmark Study, entitled “Leaping Over the Subscribe Hurdle” and commissioned by Emailvision, reviewed the top 100 UK e-retailers in terms of sign-up processes and email marketing strategies.

The most interesting takeaways from the research were:

  • 5% of the top 100 UK e-retailers didn’t have an email marketing system
  • Less than a fifth of e-retailers’ signup forms asked for a customer’s gender, address, phone number or date of birth
  • The most common areas of home pages to post an email sign up button were the top and bottom right hand sides

In contrast, three quarters of companies offered single opt-in, 14% registration and 6% a double opt-in – which should only be used by companies which have historically had data issues. The research recommended single opt-in with welcome email as best practice.

Emailvision however accepts that it’s a balancing act between getting as much data as possible and annoying your customers.

“The natural inclination of any marketer is to get as much data as possible about customers, the more the better from the marketing angle – however, asking for more is a barrier to getting permission,” the report noted.

The study was geared at exploiting the lack of data taken by the majority of companies and thus not utilising their product in the most effective way.

Yet the results were still surprising. Of course, the least amount of information a company needs to fire an email at you is an email address – 35% of e-retailers analysed only asked for this.

 “Traditional relationship marketing in the digital channels”

Emailvision’s product combines data integration and email and is designed to give a clear, visually attractive data outlay, aimed at marketers for whom data sets and code aren’t natural territory.

“We’ve looked at the approaches the customers are taking and identified the key things that marketers can do to improve,” said Smith.

“The top retailers are doing great things, but certainly not all of them are doing what they could to maximise the relationship they have with their customer,” he added.

To help increase targeting data, Emailvision recently acquired analytics firm PredictiveIntent, with both firms bonded by a software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach.

Strength of the campaign = strength of the database?

“Much has been written about list size, however the truth of the matter is that both quality and size are important,” the report notes.

“This doesn’t mean bulking out your list size with dead weight by buying in subscribers and adding people who are never going to be your target audience – it does mean paying attention to how email permission is gained from browsers and prospects, as well as customers”, it continues.

And Smith agrees, adding that the specifics of the data hold the key.

“The big opportunity is to unlock the potential of [the] data, and the power of the communication, by using the data to really understand the customer.

“The research shows again and again that if you use your data, segmenting customers into email data, they will open the emails more often, they’ll click more of the emails and you’ll convert more of them into sales,” he said.

“Inbox overload”

In the world of email marketing, it’s definitely survival of the fittest.

And this is a point Emailvision tries to stress; if you get your data to be as targeted and exact as possible, there’s less chance of your email falling by the wayside – especially with more intelligent inboxes already sorting the weak from the chaff.

 “Consumers are suffering from inbox overload”, said Smith. “We’re getting more and more emails all of the time. The ISPs are also recognising this, with the technology that they develop.

“If you do take that spray and pray approach, you’ll find yourself lost in the growing inboxes.”

Smith continued: “The way to not spray and pray is to use your data, understand your customers, taking on what they like, what they don’t like, how often they want to be communicated to, and target them.

“Stop consumers from getting fed up and opting out, and make sure the things you send them they’ll engage highly with.”

The question is though: are you getting the most from your email marketing campaigns?

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