Email Evolution: From Mass Mailings to Targeted Campaigns

Email Evolution: From Mass Mailings to Targeted Campaigns
Swen Krups • November 17th, 2011

If you’re an email marketer and you rely on bulk or mass mailings, it’s time to evolve your strategy. With segmentation and dynamic content usage, marketers can improve their campaign performance and enhance the customer experience.

We often see companies try to implement everything in one go, but it can’t happen overnight. To shift towards a well-targeted, lifecycle email marketing program, I recommend evolving in the stages outlined below.

Stage 1:  Analyze your data.  Think about who your customers are (i.e. age, gender or activity) and how to segment them based on this information.  Understand what kind of information and content is most relevant to these customer segments. 

Also take note of what your competition is doing so you can differentiate yourself. Consider your resources and associated costs—both short term and long term—to take your marketing strategy to the next level and incorporate segmentation. 

Stage 2:  Once you have done this segmentation exercise, you can start thinking about a rollout plan for your enhanced email marketing program. 

A good start is to have a clean, easy and efficient preference center as the foundation for your efforts. In addition to email address, first name, last name, gender and birthday, allow your customers to select communication content, channels and frequency.  Just beware of scaring subscribers away by asking too many questions.

Stage 3:  The simplest and easiest enhancement is a welcome strategy. Instead of simply adding new subscribers to your regular communications stream, inform them about what they can expect from your company.  Automate this program to welcome new subscribers in real time and use it as an opportunity to set expectations about future communications.

With our European clients, we saw up to 20% higher conversion rates from a prospect to a loyal customer after implementation of a welcome strategy. These clients also experienced increased revenue, and in some cases doubled the revenue prior to the welcome program.  

Stage 4:  Next you can begin to think of specific email tactics, such as surveys for loyal customers, win back for less engaged customers, reactivation for former customers, abandoned shopping cart programs, browsed products programs and more.

Remember to implement these tactics step-by-step—just as you’ve enhanced your email program over time—and not all at once. This will allow you to utilize the learnings from each initiative to improve your overall program. 

Stage 5:  Last but certainly not least, monitor and measure your campaign performance.  Focus on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most to you and your company.  Adjust these KPIs on an ongoing basis to continue to evolve your program and achieve the best results. 

Which stage is your email marketing program in?  What’s your next goal? Comment below.