Retailers have teased and rolled out online deals for days, even weeks, but the real Black Friday is here.
The web-only retailer drove up e-mail clicks by 71% and its conversion rate 25%.
Limoges Jewelry typically sends out about a dozen e-mail marketing campaigns each month, but slashing that number for certain customers has led to sharp improvements in e-mail open rates and sales, the retailer says.
From February 2012 to February 2013, Limoges, No. 490 in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Top 500 Guide, worked with its e-mail services provider, Responsys Inc.
to identify unresponsive recipients, defined as those who hadn’t opened an e-mail in six months, and then send them a series of e-mail campaigns. The retailer met its overall goal—to improve e-mail open rates, conversion rates and sales—with percentage increases in each area of well into double-digits, says Jon Ozaksut, e-commerce marketing manager at Limoges during the campaigns.
Limoges and Responsys ran a multi-part e-mail campaign designed to reach out to the inactive e-mail recipients and accomplish one of three things: woo them back as responsive e-mail recipients, reduce their e-mails to one or two a month, or identify those who should simply get cut from the e-mail list. “Limoges is a very promotional retailer, but some customers may not want to get the full brunt of e-mail marketing,” Ozaksut says.
The campaigns kicked off in May 2012. The first leg of the initial campaign sent all e-mail recipients who had been inactive for six months a generous promotional offer of about 25% off jewelry purchases. If the recipients clicked the e-mail within three days, they were kept on the e-mail list to receive all e-mail campaigns sent out every month.
For those that had responded within three days, Limoges sent them another e-mail. But instead of a promotional offer, the second e-mail simply tried to engage them in a communication about their interest in jewelry, asking them to click their preferred style among two images of rings, one traditional, the other “fashion forward,” that is, trendy. Those that clicked to express their preferred style, thereby showing they were still interested in interacting with Limoges, were kept on the list to receive all monthly e-mail campaigns. Those that didn’t click were automatically “opted down” to receive only one or two e-mails per month, and those e-mails would be of the retailer’s most generous offers.
Limoges and Responsys followed up on that first series of e-mails six months later, using the same list of e-mail recipients. For those recipients who hadn’t opened an e-mail over the prior 12 months, Limoges again sent an offer of about 30% off a jewelry purchase. As in the first e-mail series, those that opened the e-mail were kept on the list to receive all monthly e-mails, and those who hadn’t opened within three days were sent an e-mail asking them to express their preference among two images of rings.
But this time, instead of getting put on a list to receive only one or two of the retailer’s best offers each month, those who didn’t respond to the second e-mail were sent a third e-mail telling them Limoges had noticed that they no longer appeared interested in receiving its e-mails, and that it had removed them from its e-mail list. The third e-mail informed recipients how they could re-sign up to receive e-mails, but didn’t offer them an incentive to do so.
The multi-part campaign, Ozaksut says, improved deliverability rates by culling the e-mail list of addresses that may have been abandoned. It also helped to avoid having Internet service providers block some e-mail from recipients’ inboxes—a common practice by ISPs, which seek to provide better service to consumers by keeping their e-mail inboxes free of spam.
The strongest results of the campaigns occurred between September 2012 and February 2013, a period that included Limoges’ two best selling periods—the Christmas holiday and Valentine’s Day, Ozaksut says. While overall e-mail volume dropped by 52% over the same time span a year earlier, e-mail open rates rose 71% and conversion rates rose 25%. Total site revenue, meanwhile, rose 51%. “The results were really everything we had hoped for,” he says.
Ozaksut, who managed e-mail marketing at Limoges from early 2011 through last week, will soon start a new position as senior e-mail campaign manager at Organizing for Action, a not-for-profit organization formed to help the administration of President Barack Obama win support for its government policies and proposals.