Want to Solve Problems? Take a Dose of Clarity

The key differentiator between a great email program and an eek-is-that-a-program lies in the commitment to clarity. What’s clarity? As with most words, there are many meanings and interpretations but my favorite definition is this: freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.

This is vital for your email program in that if there is any indistinctness or ambiguity, you’re essentially throwing darts in the dark, and rather than hitting the bull’s eye on your ROI, you’ll hit the poor intern.

So how does one achieve clarity? The first step is to have awareness, which means you’ve identified any the issues that exist within your email program. Once you understand that there are problems, you can move toward clarity, where you not only ask what’s happening, but why and how, in order to solve your problems.

Some of these why questions include: Why are my emails being marked as spam? Why am I losing out to competitors? How can I better engage my subscribers? Are my email campaigns being spoofed by cyber criminals?

The curious case at AOL
We noticed that a client was having markedly lower inbox placement rates at AOL in comparison to other providers. Upon further research the following were discovered:

  1. The AOL segment was engaging less with campaigns, but was being mailed to more frequently.
  2. Their list segmentation was apportioned too far out and, for this client’s industry, ineffective.
  3. Spam placement was steadily increasing.

Clarity allowed for this important information to be placed in the right context on the path to resolving the problem. By shifting frequency and engagement, we saw an immediate shift in inbox placement rates and conversions. Moreover, as a result of the poor performance, whitelisting status was disabled for the client. We had the client re-approved for whitelisting and now the client is performing extremely well at AOL and has sustained the strong performance metrics for three months.

Setting yourself apart from the competition
Another question I mentioned that may arise during your quest for clarity is: Why am I losing out to competitors?

The modern consumer is inundated with various email offers and campaigns. When it comes to earning the attention and business of consumers overloaded with other offers, a holistic approach is necessary. Within our Inbox Insight tool, you can see and compare your campaigns against your competitors from the context of messaging, creative, frequency, read rates, subscriber overlap, and other metrics. This insight can help you understand how your campaigns could be improved, and help in your efforts to set your brand above the competition.

Is your special offer enticing enough? How is your campaign creative? How often are you sending? Should you increase your send frequency? At times, we have a misplaced understanding of our competition. In one particular case, a client who was focused on a competitor and adamant that ”we keep pace with the competitor.” However, when the competitive data was revealed, a completely different picture emerged! Not only were their campaigns focusing on two different things, but the client was actually outperforming the competitor across all metrics. This realization essentially freed the client to have the confidence to fully pursue their unique offerings and campaigns.

It’s only through clarity that we can focus on what’s actually happening as opposed to what we think is happening or what “best practices” say is happening.

Moving beyond simply sending
Today’s consumers are smarter and more connected than ever. However, the challenge is not just sending to customers but connecting with them! With clarity, you’ll recognize that each program is unique and thus you can’t paint the solution with a broad brush. Data allows for the value set relevant to each program to be received, perused, and then a solution produced according to the results from data.

Here at Return Path, we’re committed to Data Enlightenment and tackling each issue based on valuable data that our various tools deliver, whether it is content rendering, frequency, volume, send time optimization, or security. Our tools and expert guidance will help you navigate the dangerous waters of ambiguity and help you successfully arrive at the shores of clarity.

Curious about the Path to Data Enlightenment? Check out this ebook to find out more.

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