By Greg Zakowicz, Senior Commerce Marketing Analyst, Oracle + Bronto
Ask yourself this: Do your customers find your marketing emails useful? Honestly, do they? A statistic I came across from Fluent suggests consumers think marketing emails are consistently useful only 15 percent of the time and not useful nearly 60 percent of the time.
Ouch. Not great numbers by any standard. Yet, many commerce marketers don’t realize this or worse — they turn a blind eye to it.
We can all agree email is a powerful tool to reach and engage with customers, so how do you ensure your email program is effective and among the 15 percent of emails consumers actually find consistently useful? You need to start by ramping up your sophistication.
Sign Me Up
Not long ago I presented a session on Why Your Email Program Sucks. My goal: Offer my own research on where email marketing is lacking and make the group stop and think about their own brand’s email experience. To provide authentic examples, I signed up for the email programs of five well-known brands, using the same five to seven email addresses. I wanted to not only assess their effectiveness, but how each company used the information I provided (at sign-up, via the preference center, my click, browse, and purchase data) to better target me.
With one email address, I never opened a message. With another, I consistently opened but never clicked. For another, I opened and clicked on the same link in every message. I also used the accounts to manage my preferences, abandon my shopping cart, and make purchases.
Here are a few questions I wanted to answer:
The answer was generally a resounding, “No.” I only received targeted messages in a few cases. And each time a brand asked for my gender at sign-up, they failed to use it. Post-purchase messaging was lacking in all instances. But this was just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of my more interesting findings.
General Messaging And Segmentation
Time For Change
Expectations are on the rise and consumers expect more today now than they ever have before. They want you to listen to them and they want your brand to offer a relevant, personalized experience. If you don’t deliver, they’re going to move on to a brand that does.
Whether you believe your email program to be flawless or feel like there is room for improvement, I encourage you to thoroughly analyze your email program (and other digital marketing tactics) to see how well you’re connecting with your customers. If you see some of the same results, it’s time for a change.
About The Author
As a former consultant with more than 10 years of experience in email, mobile and social media marketing, Greg Zakowicz has first-hand knowledge about the challenges facing the retail industry. Now, as Senior Commerce Marketing Analyst at Oracle + Bronto, he provides thoughtful insight to the Internet Retailer Top 1000, and is a frequent speaker at ecommerce events.