On Taking Email Marketing to the Next Level

In the past 10 years, email providers have been locked in a “bunker” mentality, focused on securing email and protecting consumers from spam.

Now that email providers have created systems that effectively sort mail into “wanted” and “unwanted” categories, though, there is space and time for innovation. This means focusing on consumer experience. 

In fact, every link in the chain of email communication is interested in facilitating a positive end user-reaction. It’s no secret that Internet Service Providers, Email Service Providers, marketers, and of course, the consumers themselves, want a more satisfying email experience.

Email Marketing Is CRM

“ESP’s used to be about email,” Savored VP Cassie Lacellotti-Young said at this week’s Daily Deals Summit East. “Now they need to be about comprehensive customer relations management.” Savored partners with restaurants to give its members “insider pricing” (30% off on a meal). Lacellotti-Young also spoke about changing systems on the email marketing side:  “Five years ago, we called our email calendar an email calendar. Now it’s called a CRM calendar.”

Engagement is key for all involved, and simply reaching a consumer’s inbox no longer counts as success. Consumers see hundreds of emails on a daily basis. “Now, more than ever, you have to be realistic,” Lancellotti-Young added.  “The primary way consumers are communicating with your brand is through subject lines.” Do we hear a cry for clearer written communication? Wordsmiths, prepare to get involved.

Metrics and Targeting Must Evolve

Metrics in the email space have long focused on “opens” and “clicks.” Marketers would ask, “Is a recipient responding to the information in their inbox?” Michael Hershfield, chief of strategy at analytics service Sailthru, instead emphasizes finding the numbers that matter to a specific company or audience. In terms of user engagement, many companies now look for “post-click metrics” such as page views or time on site, numbers that indicate a user is paying some degree of attention to the content at hand.

Of course, consumers only spend time with one of the many emails in their inbox if it offers them something of value. Targeting is one way that deal sites make sure their offers are appealing. And the targeting is specific: new technology moves us past segmentation into individual, personal emails. Hershfield recommends building “data bodies” for each user, then personalizing them across channels.

A Call for Quality Content

The next step is pushing out quality content. If a 20-something New Yorker receives a coupon to Nobu (a hot, celeb-frequented restaurant) but the subject line simply states a vague “Dinner for Two” and the email body won’t download the image of Nobu’s beautiful cuisine, she’s not going to click-through, let alone buy. “Your content is really important,” Herschfield said. “Your creative is really important…If you do those things effectively, you’re going to win out and you’re going to get your emails in the inbox.”

Image courtesy of Flickr, zenobia_joy

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