By Margaret Farmakis
Senior Director, Response Consulting
I had the chance to speak at the DMA UK’s Digital Planning Conference, “Exploding the Digital Myth” last week. The conference agenda was focused on helping marketers integrate the various digital technologies available to them to target consumers with the right offers at the right time and in the right medium. The second-half of this two-day conference will be held this Thursday in London. Click here for registration details.
On the agenda with me were six other speakers, all experts in the digital space with deep experience in producing successful digital marketing campaigns. I was particularly interested by what Mark Brill, CEO of txt4ever and Chair of the DMA’s Mobile Council had to say about mobile marketing. He pointed out that mobile is an extremely versatile digital medium with the capacity to strengthen CRM, retention and brand loyalty initiatives by handling customer service issues, while also focusing on customer acquisition through targeted marketing messages, as well as aiding in commerce through the management of e-transactions. It’s no surprise that mobile is so successful, especially with statistics like these:
Another interesting presentation was given by Chris Arnold, Creative Director of Creative Orchestra. He referred to technology as the “fourth element” and spoke about the power that the digital medium has to change our perceptions of the world around us, our behaviours and our beliefs. It’s no wonder why purchasing a newspaper and flipping through the Yellow Pages has become a thing of the past. As a result, marketers must adjust their strategies to embrace multi-channel communications focused on reaching the right customers at the right time with the right message and creating interactive experiences that entertain as well as resonate.
He shared some great examples of marketers who were at the forefront of the digital space, including CBS Outdoor who partnered with McCann Erickson to create the first-ever campaign to directly publish web content onto London Underground digital screens in real-time, and Esquire magazine which featured a digital cover and interactive electronic ad for Ford Flex on the inside cover of their 75th anniversary issue using a thin, digital paper with a built-in battery that keeps the display active for six months.
I followed Chris’s presentation as the last speaker of the day, and while email may be perceived as less sexy then some of these innovative digital formats, it shouldn’t be. Email is an effective and relevant digital medium that produces impressive ROI. My presentation focused on six ways that marketers can improve email ROI even further. These included:
1. Know where your email goes. Marketers can’t fix what they don’t know, and with 20% of commercial email not reaching the inbox, not knowing can cost you. Sent minus bounces does not equal your delivery rate. Unless you’re using a seedlist-based delivery tool that can show you where you’re getting bulked and blocked, you won’t be able to fix your delivery rate.
2. Know your sender reputation. Every marketer has a sender reputation, whether you know it or not. Since knowing your reputation is important Return Path created the Sender Score, which is like a composite credit score for your email program. If it’s under 30, you’re probably experiencing delivery issues. Your Sender Score is based on the number of complaints your emails are generating (registered to the ISPs when a subscriber clicks the “this is spam” button), the quality of your list (the presence of spam trap addresses and unknown users ), your infrastructure (authenticating your mail server) and your sending permanence (maintaining a consistent volume over the same IPs). You can find out your Sender Score using our free tool at: www.senderscore.org.
3. Make a great first impression. According to our recent UK Subscriber Experience Study, 55% of UK marketers aren’t sending a welcome message. This is a fundamental best practice that gives marketers the opportunity to instantly engage with a new subscriber and encourage them to start interacting (and purchasing). Two UK marketers who are doing this right are HMV (with a three-message welcome series) and Thomson (by using the subscribers post code to provide their local store’s contact details in the welcome message). You can find these and other examples featured in our study.
4. Send triggered messages based on lifecycle position. There are certain points during the customer lifecycle where subscribers are primed and more likely to convert and make a purchase. Create triggered messages to deploy during those key stages and include relevant content and offers. Some examples include abandoned shopping cart emails (the subscriber has added items to their shopping cart but has navigated away from the website without making a purchase); items out of stock (the subscriber previously purchased an item that is running low in inventory or is being discontinued); wish list emails (an item on a subscriber’s online wish list has been reduced); and reminder emails (the subscriber has asked to be reminded about purchasing a gift for a birthday or special occasion).
5. Reactivate non-responders. Permission isn’t static and subscribers’ lives and situations change. It’s inevitable that some subscribers will lose interest in your email program. What can you do to prevent that? Don’t leave money on the table. Send a triggered win-back campaign that will bring inactive subscribers back into the marketing fold. These inactive subscribers are past customers or potential customers who were once happy to be receiving your email. They represent a huge source of untapped revenue.