Turning Data into ROI

Twenty percent of marketers said they can measure ROI, but cannot act on it, according to an April survey of senior-level marketers by the Association of National Advertisers. The survey found that 32% of marketers are satisfied with their ability to measure and act on ROI to improve business results, up from 19% in 2005.

Measuring and acting to improve ROI is a common challenge for email marketers, as well. I’ve got some data, but not enough. Or, I get reports from my ESP, but I don’t know what to do with them. Or, I know the profile of my subscribers, but I can’t segment based on demographics.

Steal one or more of these ideas to help turn whatever data you have today into real ROI.

Use email to educate prospects. Many marketers have both prospects and customers on their house list, sending the same promotions to both and rarely inspiring either segment to action. Never assume prospects know anything about your products or benefits. Consider a series of messages or offers that move prospects through the sales pipeline.

Treat your customers better. Email is a great way to treat your best customers specially. Identify your best customers and invite them to participate at higher levels while showing them the benefit of doing so. Every once in a while, just thank your customers. You’ll be surprised at the response you get.

Let subscribers tell you what they need through their actions.
Overlay behavior and demographic data to customize transactional emails, trigger context-specific emails and use micro-sites to capture more prospects when they are “in market.”

Test subject lines. I know you’ve heard this before, but so many campaigns go out without any subject line optimization. Even simple testing of subject lines can improve response by 5% or more.

Age matters. Watch response by age of the file and determine when subscribers go “inactive” — typically defined by no open, click or conversion/response in the past three months. Quickly send out a win-back campaign to those who may be on the verge of going inactive. Once they start ignoring your emails, it’s difficult to re-engage in the email channel.

Know where email matters. Not all subscribers have the same value to you. Consider the segments which are most valuable to you, looking at sales potential, so email can have the most impact. Then develop campaigns around the needs of these segments, or clusters of segments.

Not sure? Get more data you can use. Survey some long-time prospects to learn why they didn’t buy. Is your advertising attracting an audience with needs your products can’t solve? Is your product benefit statement on target but your product experience off? Perhaps your website is just too hard to navigate. Survey women to find out if your products meet their need for flexibility. Survey customers stuck in the product lifecycle to uncover latent needs, and highlight how your products solve them. This learning will help you up sell and cross-sell, as well.

As always, email me if you have specific questions that I can help you with.

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