April 30, 2009, 12:00 AM

Survey: E-mail marketing

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“For years many retailers and e-mail service providers just had to wake up and turn on the lights to see their e-mail lists grow. That’s no longer the case,” says Sweetser of e-Dialog. “Increasing the list is very important. The people who shop your stores, in your catalog, who visit your web site: If they walk into your living room, leave, and you never get their name, that’s bad.”

Sweetser says there are many ways to improve acquisition efforts. “Is there a link on every single page? You never know where they land, and you have to give them the ability to register. If shoppers need to go through three clicks to find out where to sign up, odds are they won’t find where to sign up,” he says. “And you can pay them for it. In stores, give a shopper $5 off a purchase if they give you their e-mail address. The typical annual worth of an e-mail address is about $20, so that $5 is a good investment.”

Retailers are using many other tactics today to improve the effectiveness of e-mail marketing:

-38.8% are triggering e-mail marketing messages based on behaviors or events.

-36.5% are personalizing messages (such as by addressing customers by first name).

-28.2% are adding Forward-to-Friend links.

-22.7% are leveraging transactional messaging for marketing communications.

-18.4% are providing multiple options (for example, opting out of promotional e-mails but remaining on the e-newsletter list) during the opt-out process.

-17.6% are including customer reviews.

-14.1% are adding Share This links to social networks.

-13.3% are adding more video-related content.

All of these tactics help make e-mail marketing messages more relevant to customers-and in e-mail marketing, relevancy rules, Sweetser says.

“Do we have their name, do we personalize it, do we know their past purchase history, can we segment based on age or gender? As soon as retailers invest in relevancy, they see conversion rates rise,” he says. “So many of these organizations have lots of data residing around the company. Sometimes getting it so it is feeding into a database for marketers is difficult because of the way an organization is structured. But when you do get it, that allows you to trigger a more relevant and timely message.”

Even though consumers are spending carefully, retailer marketers can still count on e-mail marketing to perform. And, as the survey shows, it’s clear they’re increasing use of e-mail and spending time honing tactics to get the most out of the message.


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