With eight out of 10 U.S. adults now owning desktop or laptop computers and 95% owning cell phones of some sort, communication between companies and consumers has changed forever. Gone are the days when marketing success was defined as just reaching shoppers. It has been replaced by today’s more ambitious goal of engaging them.
A diverse and growing population of consumers won’t make a purchase decision without some sort of digital involvement. Who among us hasn’t made at least one purchase online within the past year?
And while much is written about consumer-generated content and the influence of social media, email remains the dominant platform for driving online shopping. Smart marketers have learned how to interact with us via email and deliver the engagement that brands crave.
The mantra of email marketing is “know your customers.” Nothing else matters if you don’t know who they are and what makes them tick. Recently, my public relations firm’s work with email marketing experts at Take 5 Media Group drove home the importance of access to huge databases of consumers who can be divided into distinct categories according to the transactional, behavioral, demographic and psychographic knowledge we have about them. Strategic use of data is the difference between emails that generate sales and those that get deleted.
For example, a recent automotive email marketing campaign managed by Take 5 delivered a 29.25% open rate for emails sent, compared to the average email open rates across industries in the United States of about 21.3%. The car dealership was able to track subsequent sales relationships and measure the campaign’s ROI.
The campaign’s success was directly attributable to the relevance of the emails to the people who received them in terms of product, message, and timing. The automotive company understood how to segment its potential customers and Take 5 knew who they were and how to engage them, compiling their data through opt-ins from a diverse “cookie universe.”
Opt-in lists enable email marketing companies to own their data, which is a crucial differentiator among companies in the email marketing business and a key determinant of the response rate they will be able to deliver. Opt-ins are secured through e-surveys, proprietary sites, sweepstakes, lead forms and social questionnaires, typically incentivizing people to opt-in with retail, dining, and entertainment third-party offers.
The first tally in the process of executing a campaign is comprised of all the potential customers who fit the identified criteria. Its scope can be expanded or cut, depending on the client’s goals and budget. Regardless of its size, however, a successful email campaign is never a one-shot deal. It is an expedition to capture hearts, minds, and imaginations – and that takes time. You analyze the initial response, refine your approach and plan your next interaction.