Whether you’re sending batch campaigns, transaction receipts, promotional updates or individual correspondences, email is still a vital channel of communication between you and your customer. It’s on-the-go, less intrusive than SMS, more comprehensive than Twitter, more personal than advertising, quicker than post… Just a few reasons why email is managing to defy detractors and keep pace with the new, in vogue digital channels.
However, it is a rocky road – although open rates have improved with increasing mobile engagement, low click and conversion rates have come to be the norm for many.
Picture the scene: promotional email goes out, few clicks are generated, fewer still conversions obtained, everyone is reasonably happy. But if all the other channels are buzzing with data, engagement and positive sentiment, is there no way to improve the numbers just a little bit?
Here are two types of people your emails are not reaching, and how you might be able to change it…
Unsubscribes are usually thought of as a good thing – if people don’t want to read your emails, you may as well stop sending, right? Initially yes, but in a multichannel world, unsubscribe no longer means never…
The reality now is that unsubscribers, opt-outs, hard bounces… may well still be browsing your site regularly, wandering in and out of multiple stores, following you on Twitter, talking about you in the pub. They may even still be buying your products!
If your emails were sent to people like this, rather than a stagnant database of historic customers (half of whom have probably never read a single email of yours anyway) the stats would probably look much better. But damn it, they have unsubscribed!
So what can you do?
Why not use the data across their preferred channels of engagement, to identify them and persuade them to re-subscribe to your emails?
For instance, you could show them display ads based on their preferences, characteristics, even historic transactions, to drive them to your website. There you can initiate a pop-up that assures them of the improvements you have made to your emails, so they will want to opt back in.
Beat the apathy
In addition to the contradictory unsubscriber, there is the dormant subscriber.
Good practice tells us to send personalised emails to the right people at the right time with the right message. So why am I continuing to receive so many emails from brands I have never interacted with by email, and may never again? I’m too busy, lazy, ignorant and non-fussed to bother unsubscribing from every single brand that tries to communicate with me by email. They either haven’t done enough to convert me, or they haven’t done enough to offend me. I remain dormant, hopeful that one day I will receive a compelling message, but content that it’s not the end of the world if I don’t.
Yet still the emails come. Same format, same type of content, with no regard for my interactions with their site.
Perhaps if they used data based on my numerous visits to their site or shop, then varied the frequency and message within emails, I would open them? Or if they suppressed me from their blanket campaigns and focused on personalising the site experience, they would have more reasons to email me with engagement-based messages such as surveys, ratings and reviews, or something else that provides a break from the “15% off everything this weekend” template.
Targeting these lost contacts is a great way to use multichannel data to really drive better engagement. The data will also help to deliver the right messages once they have opted back in, which in turn is a sure fire way to start improving those waning email stats.
This post was written by Martin Wallace.