How to Optimize Your Email Marketing Strategy with Data

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

This blog post was co-authored with Emma Tzeng, Content Marketing Manager at Gigya. Gigya helps businesses acquire and know their customers by registering users across devices, consolidating data into a single customer view, and integrating into marketing applications.
The volume of email hitting subscribers’ inboxes is on the rise and is at its peak during the holiday season. Last year, nearly 30% of all US email volume occurred during the holiday season, which was an increase of nearly 13% over the previous year, and even more is predicted for this year.
No wonder consumers feel overwhelmed. In fact, 45% report email overload as a reason for not opening an email.
So how do you get your message across to the overwhelmed, indifferent masses?  The answer lies in first party consumer data and email personalization.

What’s First Party Data Got to do with Anything?

Data on your customers provides tons of insight into users’ backgrounds and habits, which serves as the building blocks for personalized email marketing campaigns. In other words, first party data lets you speak to your users on an individual level so you can deliver the messages that matter most to them.

First Party Data vs. Cookie Data

Back in the former dark days of marketing, businesses relied on cookie data to inform their marketing campaigns, which essentially required marketers to draw inferences based on browsing history. Every consumer has probably experienced the downfalls of cookie data to some degree: You know how it feels when your spouse uses your desktop to shop for new shoes, only to receive an onslaught of banner ads for women’s evening heels for the next week. Not only does the browsing experience become totally irrelevant – and frankly, a bit irritating – to the user, but it’s also a waste of money and resources for the business.
First party data, on the other hand, consists of data points that the user provides voluntarily and knowingly about himself when he fills in his social media profiles. For instance, when you update your location on Facebook, the social network saves this information and it becomes a first party data point. Businesses looking to access and leverage this first party data should look into investing in a suite of technologies that can collect and manage large volumes of these user identities in a responsible, easy to access way.

Capturing First Party Data

To start collecting first party data, you’ll want to implement a social login dialog that lets users authenticate their social identities when they enter your site or mobile app in a secure, permission-based manner. When requesting user data, be sure to communicate clearly to your users what data points you’ll be collecting and explain how you plan to use their information. This builds a sense of trust between your business and your customers while communicating your commitment to responsible data handling practices.
To increase the chances of your users logging in socially, you may also want to consider providing some incentives for doing so, like Lancôme does below.

Beauty company Lancôme offers deluxe samples and early access to new products for users that register for its site.

Segmenting and Leveraging First Party Insights

Once you access your users’ information, it’s important to have a strategy in place to actually use this data to provide relevant experiences for your customers. To see this process through, you’ll want to invest in a platform that lets you visualize and sort your data in a user-friendly way.
Segmenting your audience is the first step when creating a tailored email campaign, as it essentially lets you group your readers according to specific criteria, such as interests, site actions and backgrounds. By dividing your audience into groups, you set the stage to begin sending tailored emails that your readers will actually care about.

Did you Know?

Online shoppers are open to receiving more emails if they feature personalized products and help make shopping easier.

Optimizing your Email Campaigns

With email marketing, trial and error is a necessary first step when fine-tuning your email campaigns. To find which messages resonate the most with your audiences, consider writing multiple messages with the same call-to-action and the A/B testing your emails. To streamline the email customization process, you’ll want to use an email client that makes it easy to test your email performance and generate new content for each of your subscribers.

An Email Strategy Founded on Data

Accurate, comprehensive data lies at the foundation of every cohesive marketing strategy. While first party data contains insights to power your marketing campaigns, performance data instructs you how to better optimize your campaigns for conversions. As you tweak and measure your email strategy, consider how data plays a role each step of the way - your customers will respond to it in positive ways.


What Makes Me Click: 4 Ways to Add Humor into Emails

Thursday, August 14, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

Laughter is the best medicine, and an effective way to stand out in the inbox as well. Humorous emails are relatable and compelling to read. What makes them so effective is that humor can shock, refresh and even brighten your reader’s day. In essence, your company becomes humanized in your subscriber’s eyes.
Okay, okay, you get it. Humor + Emails = Lots of Clicks. But how do you actually incorporate comedy into your messages? Here are 4 ways to do it:

Subject Lines

Subject lines are the first impression your subscribers have of you. Catching your reader’s eye will drive that open rate higher which will ultimately boost overall engagement. The examples below do a great job of not only grabbing the reader’s attention but also tying into what the actual content of the email itself is.
From: Dormify
Subject Line: this SHEET is bananas
Date: 8/1/2014 4:01 PM
From: Dormify
Subject Line: A bunch of free ship
Date: 12/18/2013 10:01 AM

Email Message

The body copy of your email is the most important part and the perfect place for a little humor. Below is an example by Poppin, who is introducing a new product in a unique and funny way. What I like most is the added commentary throughout the message: from “Get me from my good side” to “No peel appeal” to making up words like “unsnappability,” Poppin perfectly balances being fun and still promoting the product’s benefits.
From: Poppin
Subject Line: Product Spotlight: Meet Our Poppin Crayons
Date: 8/14/2014 8:06 AM

A Twist on the Usual

Every store has a sale. Not every store has a sale because they “accidentally” sent you an email of a cat picture.
Fab did.                                                                                      
After sending me an email at 4 AM with just an image of a cat, they sent me “Sorry! 10% off” email 15 hours later filled with cute cat puns as if playing it off. What I especially like about this second email is the embarrassed vibe it has: the cat’s eyes are wide as if staring shocked at the computer screen and the prominent ‘Oh Hi!’ text translates as ‘oh, I didn’t mean to do that, but I’m trying to maintain my cool.’ Which still leaves me questioning, was it a clever marketing campaign or did someone actually mess up?
From: Fab
Subject Line: [TEST] PM Tracking Test
Date: 8/3/2014 4:06 AM
From: Fab
Subject Line: Meow. Our goof is your gain. Additional 10% off today only.
Date: 8/3/2014 7:30 PM

Be Punny

The first time you hear a pun, it’s funny. The second time, it’s not. What does this teach us? If you’re going to use puns, make them new and innovative. The example below by Kenneth Cole does a FANTASTIC job of this. It’s clever and relevant, giving this email a fun vibe while still getting the point across.
From: Kenneth Cole
Subject Line: Hashtag, you’re it.
Date: 7/23/2014 10:00 AM
Note: Humor is not for every brand. Always keep in mind who your target audience is and what your brand voice is. If your brand is more serious in nature, then be more cautious when/if using humor.


Making the Most of Back in Stock Products

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

Being out of an item isn’t just embarrassing, but can be damaging to your company’s reputation and result in loss of potential sales. This is especially true, and more likely to occur, during the holiday season. However, there are clever ways you can turn this potentially damaging situation into a great experience:

Back in Stock Alerts

What I Like: Allowing a customer to sign up for a product-specific back in stock alert email when an out of stock item she previously showed interest in comes back in stock not only gets new subscribers on your list, but also helps to save the sale.
Style does a great job of color coordination, giving this email a sophisticated appearance. Putting recommendations at the bottom is an added bonus.
What I Would Try: While “shop now” is a nice call to action, I would love to see an “add to cart” or “buy now” link instead. I would also experiment with adding reviews onto the recommendations.

Bestsellers Back in Stock Email

If you don’t have a Back in Stock Alerts solution in place, you can still take advantage of back in stock products in your regular marketing emails.
What I like: The large “Back in Stock” banner is very eye-catching. Since Gant is promoting Fall Bestsellers, showing a variety of items covers most of their bases. Tacking on the Holiday Shipping Deadlines at the end is a good move because it creates a sense of urgency that motivates the reader to act now.
What I would try:  Perhaps under the Shop Men/Women’s Sale I would put solely gender-specific items.

Single Item Back in Stock Email

What I Like: This email creates a bandwagon effect on its readers. You should buy this product; everyone else did. The photo used displays the boots nicely from both sides and allows the reader to imagine themselves in the boots.
What I Would Try: Using a customer’s review might make a weightier impact on the reader, and adding a buy now button would give this email a stronger call to action.
Do you have any examples to add? We would love to see them!