Email Strategy Showcase

Friday, February 12, 2016 Listrak 0 Comments

There are countless strategies one can use to entice those reads, clicks and conversions we’re all after. But why choose just one?

Browsing my inbox as Valentine’s Day approaches, I’m seeing some great mixed-approach emails with content and design that work together beautifully. Here are a few of my favorites that feature a mix of holiday spin, catchy headlines and content-driven marketing.


Don’t want to give up that 10% with a coupon code that misses the mark? Consider sweepstakes. They’re fantastic for building hype, boosting email acquisition and can be powerful partnership opportunities.

Here’s how Oka-B and The RealReal put this strategy to use. Note how Oka-B also draws some cross-channel engagement with their use of Instagram. 

Gift Guides

You love them in November and December…why not in February? Gift guides, which I also highlighted in a previous post, can reduce the friction (and indecision) that might be paralyzing some of your shoppers over this special holiday. Yes gentleman, I’m looking at you.

LovelySkin solves the problem here.

Cross-Channel Marketing

Social proof makes the difference between a cart abandoned and a purchase completed. Amazon has clearly proven that. For Valentine’s Day, Ashley Stewart tries to drive some informal buzz by pushing their holiday hashtag, “#xoxoASHLEY”.

As a second cross-channel method we love, check out how Kohl’s uses their marketing email as an opportunity to showcase their “Buy Online, Pick Up In Store” offering. 

What sweet Valentine's ideas have you seen in your inbox? 


Retail Email Strategy: Add Animation

Thursday, February 11, 2016 Listrak 0 Comments

I’m not sure if Wallace and Gromit are to blame here, but there’s something really endearing about animation. Emails on the other hand…well, I hope it isn’t mutinous to admit they are not always the most warm and cuddly of creations.

Personally, I think that’s why the hybrid of the two makes for such charming marketing, and I'm seeing several retailers taking advantage by sprinkling some movement into their Valentine's Day emails. 

Want some inspiration? Here are a few Valentine’s Day emails that recently grabbed my attention.

Kate Spade makes sure Valentine’s priorities are right where they should be.

MoMA practices some perfect product placement with a light-up heart cube.   

Tiffany & Co makes a bit of themed animation series to complete the phrase, “Love is ____ .” I’m a fan of the idea, and even more a fan of the adorable animations.

To round things out, Indigo makes it rain hearts in their email-turned-gift-guide that extends the holiday spirit to both children and bookworms with just a few simple movements.

Have you seen any Valentine's Day emails that have moved you? 


Need Valuable Content? Think Gift Guides

Thursday, February 11, 2016 Listrak 0 Comments

A quick review of the Valentine’s Day emails seems to send a clear message: the competition is weak. For many brands, the holiday push is confined to just soaking a featured image in a stew of roses, pink, and hearts.

Compare Costco Wholesale’s January 1, 2015, marketing email to its February 6, for example:

Yet with some brands, primarily in the sweets and jewelry sectors, I’m seeing much higher levels of “holiday spirit”. They all scream the same message: Gift Guides don’t need to stop when December does. One of the biggest trends populating my inbox, in fact, is Valentine’s Day gift guides.

Here’s an example used by Helzberg Diamond. Note how the bright pink hearts in the top right direct you straight to the gift guide. But, before we move to the website, notice the cross-channel engagement option via the hashtag “#weproposeyoupropose” in the hero image. Well done! Click through to the website and several easy-to-navigate links act as your personal shopping assistant to keep the process moving.

Godiva Chocolates, as another example, creates a gift guide that’s more visual than categorical. Love the visual flow created by the highlights, seen here.

If you’re not a retailer who features  traditional Valentine’s Day goods, there’s no reason you can’t cash in on this amorous (and consumerist) whirlwind. Don’t believe me? Check out how Muttropolis uses a little humor and an eye-catching link (that appears tauntingly similar to a video play button) to mix their doggiewear with some Valentine’s shopping.

How does your Valentine’s game plan stack up?


What you need to know about new Gmail security features

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 Listrak 0 Comments

With Gmail being a top email client, any announcement of changes being made make big news - and also tend to make marketers nervous. You've likely heard the latest news about Gmail's new security features, but if not, you can learn more about the recent security updates on the Official Gmail Blog.

Google is now warning Gmail users about emails that are sent or received over non-encrypted connections. These messages are indicated by a red lock icon within Gmail's user interface.

Although it is important to be aware of the Gmail changes, for Listrak clients, the most important thing to know is that there is nothing to worry about. We have responded to the change, as Listrak Principal Delivery Strategist Andrew Wingle explains below.

According to Andrew, "We do not expect any major or immediate impact in deliverability for senders that are not using encryption; however, Listrak has enabled STARTTLS for all messages being sent to STARTTLS is method of sending plain-text message with encryption using TLS as the security protocal." 

He continues, "No direct changes need to be made for our clients. Clients can also request STARTTLS enabled for all outbound message or for a list of specific domains if they desire. We ask that they send any requests to enable wider implementation to their account manager or the support team."


Connecting with the Always Connected Customer

Friday, February 05, 2016 Listrak 0 Comments

We hosted the first of our two Customer Connections events in New York this week. It was filled with new ideas, best practices and strategies that will help retailers create a seamless shopping experience for their customers across multiple channels.

We’re starting to hear from some attendees and the feedback has been great:

“I was thrilled with all the presentations and had some great takeaways!”

“It was a good one, lots of good real-life examples shared.”

“Many thanks to the Listrak team for putting on such a wonderful and valuable event yesterday!”

Morning Sessions Recap

The day began with Scott Lachut from PSFK Labs providing a look at where the retail industry is heading. Many retail stores are adding digital experiences that engage shoppers and help them transition seamlessly as they move from the store to their mobile devices. He provided 10 pillars retailers need in order to deliver the right experience. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Enhance the path to purchase by creating confidence to give customers the opportunity to explore and discover products while eliminating obstacles to save customers time and effort during checkout
  • Build better relationships by democratizing access – allow customers to experience things that were previously exclusive or expensive, personalizing messages and promoting transparency
  • Create a valuable community through perfect partnerships, optimizing ownership – educating consumers after a purchase is made - and cultivating an environment where customers can interact with one another to share experiences
  • Elevate your brand by encouraging advocacy and delivering delight – give customers more than they expect
You can learn more by downloading PSFK’s Future of Retail Report.

Next, Listrak’s CEO, Ross Kramer, shared how Listrak can help retailers achieve the goals Scott outlined. Listrak can help retailers connect with customers when and how they shop – in-store, online or on mobile devices and the key to success is through personalization and segmentation. After some selfies and a networking break that included mimosas, which were sponsored by Listrak’s partner UPS, the sessions were targeted and specific, providing actual strategies and tactics that retailers could implement right away.

Art Tschopp, the Director of Listrak’s west coast office, was up next talking about the importance of breaking down data silos in order to use all customer data to inform campaigns. He provided some stats showing that 62% of marketers feel overwhelmed by the volume of data they have and only 3% feel like they can use their data effectively. And while data is a difficult topic as it can get technical and overwhelming quickly, Art made it approachable and easy to understand by using a motorcycle analogy. He showed a video of a man jumping over a few cars on a motorcycle – a jump that was impressive back in the 80s but not so much today. In fact, one YouTube commenter stated that his grandmother could have made the same jump. He then showed a video of the world’s first motorcycle triple back flip with the comment “This. Was. Awesome.” What does that have to do with data? Everything. Retail marketers need to use their data to deliver delight, as Scott from PSFK mentioned. If they are simply jumping over a car – a “dead sailor” in motorcycle terms – by sending nothing but broadcast messages to every person on their list, the subscribers won’t be impressed. However, by using data in simple ways, such as personalizing subject lines with preferred brands or local store info, using preference center data to segment lists appropriately and getting even more granular by layering on browse and purchase history as well as behavioral data, retailers can achieve the triple backflip and really impress shoppers with targeted and personalized messaging.

Art also set up the rest of the day sharing how a shopper’s email address is the universal identifier and how retailers can tie a customer’s home and work computer, tablet and mobile phone to a single account simply by monitoring the shopper’s interaction on those devices. Doing so allows for all of the customer data to be used in future campaigns. For more information on cross-device targeting, check out our article “The Ultimate Personalization Tactic”.

Kara Surrena, Director of Client Services, rounded out the morning with everyone’s favorite topic – email marketing benchmarks and how to beat them. She shared that retailers spend the lowest amount on email marketing – approximately only 3.3% of their digital marketing budgets, but email has the highest return, bringing in nearly 25% of total revenue. Email returns $38 for every dollar spent, which is 40x higher than social marketing’s ROI. She reviewed specific benchmarks for a number of email campaigns, pointing out that welcome messages generate 18x more revenue than broadcast messages and online browse messages, cart abandonment campaigns and back in stock alerts generate 8x, 46x and 32x more revenue than broadcast messages, respectively. She spent time comparing the performance of a typical untargeted broadcast message with the much more personalized recurring automated campaign, showing retailers how they can save time and resources with the later.

Lunch was sponsored by Listrak’s partners Weblinc and Lyons. Both presented 30 minute lunch and learns to packed rooms.

Afternoon Sessions Recap

The afternoon started with Cherrill Hartman, an Account Manager at Listrak, presenting on how to acquire customers, not just subscribers. She walked through two shopper personas – the in-store shopper and the online shopper, offering information on how retailers can and should present an easy opt-in at every touchpoint. Cherrill then went on to talk about engaging new subscribers through thoughtful welcome series in order to get the first sale. She shared that 17% of all welcome messages are sent within five minutes of subscription when shoppers are still online and contemplating the purchase. She also shared some ideas on how to make the welcome messages personal and how to segment them by subscription point. A customer who opts-in through a modal lightbox should receive different messaging than customers who sign up during the checkout process.

Next, Ryan Ogurcak, Senior Account Manager at Listrak, talked in-depth about personalization, including best practices for using personal product recommendations onsite, in email messages and in display messages. He shared that of the contacts on a retailer’s list, only 30-40% have purchased and he discussed how personalizing messages based on shoppers’ past browse and purchase behaviors can nurture shoppers to the first sale. He offered ideas for personalizing broadcast messages as well as post purchase and winback campaigns, saying that 80% of customers are open to receiving more emails as long as the messages are personalized to their needs.

After another short networking break, which was sponsored by ECommerce Partners, Account Manager Matt Lindley tackled the topic of retention. He shared a MarketingSherpa study showing that 67% of retailers say that delivering highly relevant content is a priority but only 49% want to segment their databases and then offered easy segmentation tactics that anyone could implement right away. The first thing retailers should do is send the same message to two different segments, such as customers who have and haven’t purchased. This way they can see how the two segments react. He then shared how all subscribers fall into one of four categories: new subscribers (signed up within 30 days), active subscribers (subscribers who opened, clicked and/or purchased within 60 days), lapsing subscribers (haven’t opened within 90 days), and inactive subscribers (haven’t opened within 120 days), and suggested sending slightly different versions of messages to those four segments. Doing so can greatly impact the amount of revenue driven through the campaigns and it doesn’t require a lot of time or extra resources or data mining. He then shared a Listrak case study on BrainMD Health and how they’re segmenting their list using browse and purchase history, subscription date and other email metrics. They more targeted you can get, the higher the emails perform.

The final session of the day was led by Product Manager Aaron Pearson. The morning started off with The Future of Email and ended with The Future of Email. Aaron discussed highlights of 2015, including automated and personalized cross-channel campaigns, how more than half of all emails are now opened on mobile devices and how more inboxes are supporting responsive design. He then offered a number of email examples on both graceful degradation and progressive enhancement – he has a great blog post on the topic “Inbox Wars: The Email Awakens”. He ended a great day with real examples of how retailers are designing not just for inboxes but to drive shoppers back to sites to complete purchases.

The rules of digital marketing have changed and retailers need to respond to customers. If they aren’t delivering the right experiences, customers will shop elsewhere. This day-long event offered up a ton of new ideas on how retailers can deliver the right experience to the always connected customer.