September 25, 2012 Leave a Comment
Last week’s webinar on optimized email presented a range of strategies, but one clear theme emerged: merchants must do more to move beyond the “bast and blatch” mentality and boost relevance of messaging — and doing so needn’t involve complex, resource-intensive processes.
The webinar detailed how email continues to be an ROI winner for merchants, garnering a whopping $40.56 per dollar spent, according to the Direct Marketing Association. But that number has dropped 22% since 2006, and is forecast to drop even more in the coming year — suggesting that merchants must do more if they want to reverse the trend.
The webinar revealed that there’s plenty of low-hanging fruit still to be plucked. As our preview post mentioned, fewer than one in five retailers even cull bounced email addresses from their lists — suggesting that for many merchants, even very basic improvements may reap stronger performance. Winning strategies needn’t require a technology overhaul or increased staff resources to execute sophisticated personalized messages. Just three of the simple ways the webinar suggested stepping up email finesse:
Let shoppers self-segment on signup. According to industry researcher Forrester, just 6% of merchants use the email signup page to allow shoppers to self-select topics or categories of interest — and yet this method is among the simplest for boosting relevance of messaging. Rather than needing to cull behavioral data from analytics, merchants can simply ask up front for some guidance. The key is to strike a balance, labeling clearly that it’s optional for shoppers to indicate their gender, geography, favorite product categories (such as cycling or camping for an outdoor outfitter) or interest in sale items; otherwise, would-be subscribers who don’t want to share such information might be put off.
Old Navy makes tailoring email content easy by presenting subscribers a streamlined set of options on the thank you page immediately after signup. Subscribers can select what categories of apparel interest them based on gender and age, and can opt to supply their birthdays to receive a special discount. They can also navigate away from the page without taking further action.
Treat loyalty club members like VIPs — and let everyone else know what they’re missing. Subscribers who are members of the brand’s loyalty or free shipping club should receive targeted messages that take into account their special status. These tailored promotions are proven to earn results, with a 40% higher open rate, a 22% higher click-through rate, and 11% higher revenue per email than non-targeted email content, according to Experian.
Furthermore, messaging about the loyalty club to non-members using a “show, don’t tell” approach — displaying the potential savings and benefits to the general list — is also a winning technique, garnering a 25% lift in revenue per email than non-loyalty content, Experian found. Footwear retailer Nine West spotlights the opportunity to earn double points on shoes from a particular manufacturer, and also includes a free shipping offer and a discount to entice purchase.
Institute an abandoned cart recovery plan ASAP. As discussed in an earlier post, emails sent to shoppers who abandon their carts before completing purchases are effective and can be automated — and yet the percentage of merchants using this triggered-email program is shockingly low. Fewer than 1 in 5 of the largest merchants in the Internet Retailer 500 use abandoned cart emails, and fewer than 1 in 10 of medium-sized merchants in the Internet Retailer Second 500 do so, according to Listrak. With cart abandonment rates still hovering above 50%, recovering even a small percentage of these sales could make a huge difference to the bottom line — so it’s crucial for more merchants to institute a triggered email program as soon as possible.
For more strategies and examples, download the webinar replay. Meantime, what simple but effective email tactics have worked for you?