Web Data Drives Email Relevance

We’ve been working with a number of clients lately who are using custom message triggers generated from data pulled from their CRM or web analytics systems. By using a unique identifier in the database such as the login email or sometimes a cookie, we were able to build custom messages that were triggered by specific customer actions. In the end, the result has been a huge lift in response rates.

For instance, we used this data to trigger “abandoned shopping cart” messages to great effect. Due to the nature of these emails, they are usually sent to a small number of subscribers each month. However, the results have been amazing – usually in the 15%-40% lift range.

There are a couple of ways to execute an abandoned shopping cart strategy. One is the direct method where your message would read something like, “Hello. You left a red shirt in your cart. Come back and we’ll give you 10% off.” The negative side to this approach is that it can be somewhat big brotherish, and offering a discount every time may train the consumer to wait for the discount. A more alternative message is, “You left items in your cart and they are about to expire.” This creates the urgency without the discount. Or, you can use what we call the coincidental method. This would go something like “Hi! Red shirts are in and we have some great ones.” This doesn’t mention their cart, but is clearly promoting something in which they have expressed interest.

You can also send triggers from a Wish List feature. In this case, a message is sent when a new, similar item becomes available or if there is a new accessory that matches items in the customer’s Wish List. You can also trigger messages when Wish List items go on sale or are about to be discontinued.

Other clients have used “Welcome” and “Thank You for Visiting” messages directed at buyers who are new to the site, but neglected to sign up for their email program. This soft sell approach is a great way to recapture lost prospects since it promotes the newsletter program, rather than presenting a “buy now” offer.

Another way to generate relevant email message triggers is through an internal append of the web analytics data. For example, one client gathered all website visitors that did not sign up for the email program,matched them to the customer file, and then sent either a catalog or an email invitation to join the newsletter list. These type of message usually include an offer or discount based on order size. These work well since the emails were sent to existing customers.

To build loyalty for B2B clients, we’ve done follow ups on certain product benefits or provided helpful content based on how much time the person spent on the website.

There are tons of ways to craft meaningful and relevant emails by mining your database and being smart about your messaging. The trick is to focus on the triggered messages that are easy to do, but also reach the highest collective audience. You don’t want to send multiple triggers to the same people all the time. Moreover, you want to reach a wide enough base over the course of a month or quarter so that the total incremental lift in revenue is strong enough to make a difference.

The best way to take advantage of this opportunity is to test a few logical starting points like abandoned carts, downloads or website browsers. As always, be careful to watch your privacy policy and your frequency on these, as they are not opt in and can cause complaints if not done well.

Have you done some effective segmentation triggers? I’d love to know about them, and would like to gather as many case studies as possible for a session I’m leading at the Email Insider Summit in December. Let me know if you can share your story!

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