Top Takeaways from the Email Evolution Conference 2013

Mobile Marketing was front and center at the DMA’s Email Evolution Conference.  Speakers and roundtable discussions were buzzing about what the increase in mobile usage means to email marketers. And it is easy to understand why:

  • 62% are using their smartphone every day and 80% don’t leave home without them.
  • Mobile email will account for 15 to 65% of email opens, depending on your target audience, product and email type.
  • Stats say 42% of email is now opened on a mobile device.
  • 43% of mobile email users check email four or more times per day.

Believe it or not, your customers are mobile!  Now is the time to think about a mobile strategy around your marketing efforts for social, Web and email in order to ensure success.

Behavioral Marketing: Subscribers Demand More Personalized Content

Targeting tactics should be a key component of your marketing strategy

Behavioral targeting starts with understanding who your target audience is, what they’re interested in and what their needs are. Crafting your email with their needs in mind will help keep them engaged.

Identifying a target market’s pain points and recognizing differences between groups of customers, is at the heart of marketing. What you think is relevant and what a prospect or customer finds relevant may be two different things.

Harness customer data to improve relevancy

Moving into the New Year, marketers will need to make better use of customer data to engage and drive more relevant communications. By gathering insight about customers, marketers can begin to have more meaningful interactions through rich and deep customer intelligence.

Business intelligence data offers immense opportunity to better serve and engage customers. Expanding the customer profile with a combination of transactional and behavioral interaction data collected across multiple channels, empowers marketers to create highly targeted automated messaging. Start by tracking behavioral interactions, such as purchase history, clicks in your emails, and website activity. Use this data to segment your list and create actionable offers that are more integrated, personalized, and relevant across all your marketing activities.

Drive Engagement: Automate Your Lead Nurture Strategy

When creating your lead nurturing campaign it’s important that you carefully plan the flow of your emails to ensure that your overall campaign guides your leads through the funnel. Implement automatically triggered campaigns (a series of automated emails called a “drip” campaign) that deliver consistent brand messages at specified time intervals and when leads reach certain milestones. In a long sales cycle, messages need to be more informative and not a sales pitch. Offer them something of value (webinars, eBooks, white papers, articles, free reports, blog posts, etc.).

Here are five essential elements of an effective lead nurturing campaign:

Create a Gauntlet Welcome Series to Retain New Leads

Seeing your email list grow is a great feeling. You’ve put in hard work to get quality leads and now they’ll stick around and buy your products or services, right? Not necessarily!

Once you’ve got a captive audience, you need to make them want to stay on your email marketing list. A great way to do that is to create a multi-part gauntlet welcome series to help new leads familiarize themselves with your company and to set expectations for future communications.

Every business is different and depending on how often you send emails, you might do a one-part series or a five-part series… or something in between! Regardless of how many emails your gauntlet encompasses, there are some problems you may encounter and some solutions that will help make it successful.

Become a Trusted Source: Nurture Your Leads

Lead nurturing is the process an inquiry goes through once it is received by your company. This process has the goal of converting as many of your leads into qualified prospects as possible. Depending on your business model this process could also result in immediate sales. With an intelligent and automated lead nurturing program in place companies can see a huge return on investment.

An effective lead nurturing campaign can increase the number of qualified prospects in your pipeline and decrease the time a possible client spends in a sales cycle. But even more important than this, a great nurture program can demonstrate to your potential customer base that you are trusted source of information. Once a prospect views you as a valuable source of information you have deepened your relationship with that potential customer.  If you have a deeper relationship with your customer from the beginning, a solid foundation has been set and you will likely be able to retain that client for a longer period of time.

Successfully integrating a nurture campaign into your email marketing efforts takes some planning. You don’t want to just start pushing material out to your leads. You want to serve them timely information. Each email should be seen as a way to provide your prospects with valuable insight, not just as an opportunity to influence their buying decision. In return this train of thought could result in lasting relationship with your buyers. Reports have shown that acquiring a new customer is 6 to 7 times more expensive then retaining an existing customer.

The New York Times Email Mistake: Can It Happen To You?

By now you probably know about the New York Times’ little email error on Wednesday, December 27. But if you don’t, here’s the nutshell: The Times sent a ‘Cancellation’ email to 8.6 million people, presumably every single one of their online email subscribers. The email was meant only for those who actually subscribe to the paper’s home delivery service.

First the Times claimed it was spam, then blamed their email service provider Epsilon, and finally fessed up; The Times did it themselves.

Subscribers Want To Hear From You RIGHT NOW

When I subscribe to an organization’s email or mobile marketing communication it is at that very moment I am looking to engage in a meaningful relationship with that company. As soon as I type in my information and hit submit I immediately check my Blackberry or Gmail account to ensure my subscription went through and see what valuable piece of information that company has to share with me; whether it be an exclusive discount, an insightful whitepaper, or a simple message asking if I was sure I wanted to opt-in.

It is quite disappointing when I don’t see a message within minutes or even hours of
subscribing with at least a thank you for sharing what I consider to be my valuable personal information. My interest in whatever product I was curious about has quickly faded and usually I am on to the next organization that can provide me with comparable products or services. Although I like to think I am unique, I have to believe a lot of people have similar reactions when their subscription to a service goes unrecognized for an extended period of time.

Move Beyond The One Size Fits All Approach

Now is the time to take your email marketing program to the next level, and move beyond the “one size fits all” model, and strive to customize products and services for individual needs. Segmentation can help.

A company that treats all customers and prospects the same speaks to everybody, and thus nobody. Rather than a “batch-and blast” approach, identify the most likely targets for a product or service.

Instead of viewing customers/prospects as single-minded groups, all with the same wants and needs, consider how wants and needs might differ among them, and how those differences might influence their purchasing patterns and behaviors.

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