Effective Use of Ratings and Reviews in Email Campaigns

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

Megan Ouellet
I received this email from L.L. Bean this morning:
I love the use of the product rating and the customer review. Curious about the review, I clicked through on the “shop now” button and found that these shirts do, in fact, have hundreds of five star reviews from customers and they are, in fact, a very popular item.
Sending emails featuring your most popular products and including great customer ratings and reviews is a great tactic, especially leading up to the holidays. People will start shopping for gifts soon, and knowing what other customers love and why they love it can really help them make an informed purchase decision.
We have a solutions page where you can learn more about using ratings and reviews in your email campaigns
If you have questions or need help, let us know.


Using Email to Drive In-Store Sales

Monday, July 29, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

Megan Ouellet
Ann Taylor sent this email to customers this morning. It stood out to me because of its clear CTA - go to the store.
Email is such a boost to online sales so I thought it was interesting that  Ann Taylor would use the email to drive in-store traffic.
I clicked on the “find a store" link and was taken to this landing page:
Again, I found this interesting. This email and landing page do not promote the fall preview at all - it simply wants customers to go into a store to see the new arrivals in person.
The email does include a link to the online summer sale items, so customers can shop online if they choose. And the landing page also has a link to the new arrivals. But in order to view the fall preview online, customers not only have to click twice, they have to navigate their own way and find it by themselves. 
The point is clear - Ann Taylor wants the customers to go to the stores and work with a stylist instead of fending for themselves. They even request that customers make an appointment before they go in.
I’m willing to bet that the people who do go in and work with a stylist have a much higher AOV than the people who buy online. And they are also more likely to be repeat and loyal customers.
It is an interesting email tactic and one you should keep in mind for the holidays as it could be a great way to invite customers to shop in your stores and not just on your website.
If you have questions about this strategy, contact our email experts.


12 Days Campaigns, Cont. - Days 4-6

Friday, July 26, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

Megan Ouellet

I started a post yesterday regarding MCM Electronics’ 12 Days of Savings email campaign it sent out last year. The first post discussed messages one, two and three. And today we look at messages four, five and six.

The forth message was sent the day after the third message, Wednesday, Dec. 5

The fifth message was sent Thursday, Dec. 6

And the sixth message was sent Friday, Dec. 7

As you can see, MCM Electronic offers different products each day, but also promotes its interactive flyer and holiday gift guide in every message. And the really interesting aspect of this campaign is that it sent the messages every day during the week, but it skipped weekends. 
Knowing when customers open and respond to messages is key to holiday success, and it’s something to keep in mind as you plan your campaigns.
Questions? Contact our experts


12 Days Campaigns, Cont. - Days 10-12

Thursday, July 25, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

Megan Ouellet
Today I’ll finish up my post on MCM Electronic’s 12 Days of Savings email campaign. And I’ll provide 12 best practices you should follow when developing your own 12 Days campaign this year.
The tenth message of the series was sent Dec. 13:
The eleventh message was sent Dec. 14:
And the twelfth message was sent Dec. 17, Free Shipping Day:
12 best practices for your 12 Days campaigns:
  • Build a cohesive, unified, consistent series by using the same template and including common images, messages, headers, and footers
  • Set expectations by clearly stating what day the message is on so recipients recognize the email as part of the series and know how many more messages they’ll receive
  • Include an opt-out option that lets subscribers unsubscribe from the series without opting-out of the list altogether
  • Promote one product per day, or one category of products per day - don’t push everything all at once
  • Offer a link for customers to view all of the emails in the campaign
  • If offering a deal each day, be sure the deal remains valid for the duration of the campaign
  • Get the timing right - Cyber Tuesday through Free Shipping Day is an ideal time frame, but you can really stand out from the Christmas crowd by sending the campaign earlier
  • Don’t start the campaign too late - be sure the campaign runs during the peak online shopping days to maximize returns
  • Be sure the campaign works with the timing, messaging, and overall theme of your other holiday emails
  • Use a responsive design email template as more than half of the recipients will view the email on a mobile device
  • Include “Day X of 12" in the subject line
  • Closely monitor the open and conversion rates of the messages to ensure you deploy future messages at the right time 
Let us know if you have any questions or need help developing your 12 Days campaign! It’s a great strategy and it can really help you make your holiday goals.


12 Days Campaigns, Cont. - Days 7-9

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

Megan Ouellet

Continuing the discussion on MCM Electronic’s 12 Days of Savings Campaignstoday’s post looks at messages seven, eight, and nine.

If you’re thinking about implementing a campaign like this, you should be thinking about it now as it takes a lot of thought and consideration to pick the right products and to get the timing right. And, while you might think that the default time to send this campaign is Cyber Tuesday through Free Shipping Day (Dec. 3-18, which excludes weekends), you can get creative and send it early if you want to. Delight.com sent its 12 Days of Christmas campaign in September offering deals on early Christmas gifts!

The key is to be creative and engaging. 
The seventh message in MCM’s campaign was sent on Dec. 10. Remember, MCM skipped the weekends and only sent the emails on weekdays.
The eighth message was sent on Dec. 11:
And the ninth message was sent on Dec. 12:
I really like the prominent graphic letting recipients know what day of the campaign is on, and the fact that it links to a landing page that shows all of the previous messages. It’s a great way to tie the campaign together.
Questions? Let us know!  Tomorrow I’ll wrap up this post with the last three messages


Reach your Shoppers the Right Way with Responsive Design

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

Megan Ouellet

52% of email messages are currently being opened on mobile devices, and that number is expected to rise over the holidays. Are your email campaigns mobile-friendly?
If not, they should be.
We released a new whitepaper this morning titled “Reach your shoppers the right way with responsive design”.
It discusses what responsive design is, why you need it, and offers 10 useful best practices and tips you should follow when putting together your responsive design email templates.
If you have questions or need help, let us know!


12 Days Campaigns

Monday, July 22, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

Megan Ouellet
One of my favorite holiday email strategies is the “12 Days" campaign, and this week I’m going to show you the campaign that MCM Electronics sent last year. 
The campaign was called the 12 Days of Savings and it was sent every week day beginning Friday, Nov. 30.
The first email was sent the week after Black Friday:
The second email was sent the following Monday, Dec. 3:
The third email was sent the following day, Tuesday, Dec. 4:
The great thing about this 12 Days of Savings campaign is that each day features different types of products, yet each email links to the interactive flyer and holiday gift guide. It was a great way to promote different products in a unified campaign that kept customers engaged day after day.
Tomorrow’s post will feature emails 4-6. Stay tuned!


10 Tips to Holiday Email Marketing Success - Part Two

Friday, July 19, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

Megan Ouellet
In a previous post, you learned five strategic tips that will help you set up your email campaigns for success this holiday season. Below are five more tips and best practices.
But first, here are some interesting stats from the 2012 holiday season. The numbers below represent online sales and the increase over 2011:
  • Online holiday sales - $42.3B / +14%
  • Thanksgiving - $633M / +32%
  • Black Friday - $1.042B / +28%
  • Cyber Monday - $1.465B / +17%
  • Green Monday - $1.275B / +13%
  • Free Shipping Day - $1.013B / +76%
  • Christmas Day - $288M / +36%
And here are some interesting mobile stats from last year:
  • 33% of eCommerce holiday traffic was from a mobile device / +109%
  • Mobile conversions increased 30% and mobile sales increased 171%
Keep in mind that the NRF is expecting a 4.1% increase in online sales this holiday season, and there are 6 fewer shopping days, which means 6 fewer days to email your customers. You can’t just dust off your campaigns from last year and give them a quick update – your entire strategy will need a reboot. 
Tip 6 – Two words: responsive design
If you implement just one new strategy this holiday season, it should be this one. More than half of all opened emails are currently being opened on a mobile device, and that number is on the rise. If you aren’t using responsive design email templates – don’t wait! Responsive design templates not only scale to fit the screen, but also provide the flexibility to hide, reveal or stack content so the right message is displayed. Your email campaigns will look its best no matter where customers are viewing them. Listrak is releasing a whitepaper on responsive design best practices next week, so stay tuned!
Tip 7 – If using characters in subject lines, use them correctly
Special characters can really help your message stand out in a crowded inbox. However, only use them if it enhances the message and be strategic about it. Never use more than one symbol in a subject line and don’t use them every time because it can easily become spammy. Special characters work best in the first 20 characters of the subject line to ensure it will be viewed on a mobile device, and work really well if replacing a word or as a design element at the beginning and end of the subject line. It should never be used in place of punctuation.
Tip 8 – Re-engage before the holidays
This email from Toms was one of my favorites last year. I received it the third week of October and loved the simplicity. “We’ve missed you! Come on back and be the first to shop the Toms 2012 holiday collection. Get new seasonal styles before anyone else!” It was sent earlier enough in the season to make it feel like I really would be one of the first holiday shoppers, and it gave me a reason to re-engage with the brand.
 Tip 9 – Be unique, but be yourself
There is so much right with this email Uncommon Goods sent last December, it’s crazy! First, it used customer ratings and reviews for each product mentioned in the email, which is one of the greatest things you can do to boost sales. Next, it arranged the products in a fun and clever way that kept recipients engaged and scrolling through (it was quite long but was fun to read). And, at the bottom, it asked recipients to vote on the next best seller – it didn’t ask them to buy anything, it simply let customers vote on which products to include in future email campaigns. What a great way to get customers to visit the site!  
Tip 10 – Have a contingency plan
The holidays are the busiest time of year for most eCommerce companies and, invariably, something at some point will go wrong. An email will go out with a missing or broken link. A product sells out faster than expected and you don’t have time to stop a pre-scheduled email promoting that product. An email that was meant to go to a small segment accidently goes to your entire list. Mistakes like this are common and forgivable if handled correctly and in a timely fashion.  Having a contingency plan in place will help you out tremendously when you’re facing an emergency. Put together a resolution team and decide what errors will warrant an apology or follow up email, what the tone will be, which errors call for a new discount or sale extension, if you’ll send the follow up email to everyone who received the message or only the people who opened it, etc.  Also, remember that it’s not the end of the world and don’t over-react. Here’s a great example from Chinese Laundry. An email went out last year with a broken link. As soon as it realized the mistake, it resent the email, simply adding “Oops our link is fixed” to the subject line.
Any questions on these ideas? Let me know – you can contact me here.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll post some additional email examples from last year so you can see how other retailers interacted with their holiday shoppers.


Email Engagement Using a Welcome Series

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

The following was written by Listrak blogger and senior email strategist Joe Devine
I recently received two questions regarding welcome messages.  I initially stated that it isn’t necessarily easily answered with specifics.  Listrak is always keen on having a chat about the details first.  However, I offered up some broad strokes to help get the conversation started.
“How many different welcome emails should we create?”
I would say that you should have one unique message for each unique acquisition touch point.  So, you may have the following messages:
1) New Organic subscriber Welcome (Pop-up, simple form, etc.)
2) New Customer Welcome (Marketing message for new customers being added to the list for the first time.)
3) New Preference Center Subscriber Welcome (Welcome for subscribers who are offering up more data than just email.)
4) Additional Touch Points (In Store, Special Event, Social Media, etc)
Those messages may all be mostly the same with a small change to some copy, content, or call to action.
Additionally, I would recommend two follow-up emails that occur after the initial welcome message.  These can be generic enough to fit into the messaging requirements of each audience.
“Also, do you have any insights as to what types of messages work best?”
As for messages, I think the following three messages work well:
1) Welcome 1 – Thank You for reaching out, Welcome to our brand, Here is what you can expect, Here is the most important thing you need to know.  This will include specific language that speaks to the funnel through which the subscriber entered.
2) Welcome 2 – Our brand is important (or products), This is why we are different, This is why you can feel “safe” buying from us (trust, awareness, exclusivity, scarcity, etc.)
3) Welcome 3 – There are a few more things you must know about us, here they are…  
Although these are clearly broad strokes, it may give you the starting point you were looking for.  The broad strokes can be distilled down by having a more detailed discussion about your audience, products, brand standards, marketing goals, KPIs, and more.

Research Study: Welcome Series Concepts and Strategies


Using Google Analytics to Identify Important Holidays

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

This blog post comes to us from our friends at Blue Acorn, an award-winning, full-service eCommerce agency. It was written by Conversion Consultant Amanda Graham (be sure to read her bio below!).
As you begin your email marketing strategy planning for the upcoming holiday season, in addition to the obvious promotions, make sure to include a plan for any secondary holidays, as well. Amanda explains how to identify them.  
Everyone knows about Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season. With few exceptions, it is the most active time of the year for eCommerce sites, but what about other holidays? Most eCommerce stores have at least one other holiday bump. Think of the other holiday bump as a secondary holiday that drives traffic and sales. Somewhere in Google Analytics, there is data pointing to a secondary holiday spike.
You may not believe you have a secondary holiday, but trust me you do. To identify your secondary holiday, simply log into Google Analytics (or another web analytics platform) and research your traffic over the past year. Do you see spikes? Next, look at revenue throughout the past year. Do you see corresponding spikes?
A spike in traffic and revenue does not necessarily directly correlate to a secondary holiday. It is possible you are looking at spike caused by a successful campaign or massive public relations bump.
By always carefully annotating your web analytics account, you can quickly dismiss campaign/PR spikes and consult your calendar to determine what people were celebrating.
multichannelfunnel for advanced tagging
For example, you might frequently see a spike near the 3rd Saturday in August and discover the indicated date correlates with: International Geocaching Day! That explains why during this time your eCommerce store sells so many GPS devices and flashlights. Not all secondary holidays are as eclectic as International Geocaching Day; some are very obvious such as a beer t-shirt eCommerce site’s secondary holidays, St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Break.
Once you have discovered your secondary holiday, it is important to target visitors during this time period and determine how they are finding your site. Not all holidays are the same. For example you may find visitors convert very well from affiliate sites during the Christmas holiday season, but observe a negative ROI from affiliates during your secondary holiday. Using Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics allows you to discover what visitor paths convert best and use that information to better target your visitors during any holiday season.
What to do about a spike is important, but the first step is simply finding out when. Take a few minutes today to check out your site data in order to discover your hidden secondary holidays.
Check out the original blog post here.


Amanda is our resident scientist at Blue Acorn. You won’t find any contractions or oxford commas in her articles. She’s always quick to pick up on new techniques and even faster at teaching them to us. We count ourselves lucky to have her here. In her free time, she volunteers for the Analysis Exchange, a group that offers free web analytics consulting to nonprofits and NGOs around the world. She spends the rest of her spare time hanging out with Charley, her wicked-cool miniature schnauzer, who you can also follow on Twitter @charleydoggy.


Triggered Sends Generate Twice the Revenue with Half as Many Emails for Listrak Client Smart Furniture

Monday, July 01, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

MarketingSherpa recently released a comprehensive case study on Listrak client Smart Furniture, revealing how the online customized furniture purveyor doubled revenue with segmentation and triggered emails. 
The case study describes how Smart Furniture -  
- Increased list segments from five to 30
- Grew open rates by 311% 
- Doubled revenue with half as many emails 
Read the case study, which includes examples of Smart Furniture’s welcome email, preference center, cart abandonment campaign and post purchase emails, here