7 Ways to Leverage E-Mail as a Real-Time Marketing Tool
E-mail’s potential and complexities are seemingly endless, according to Morgan Stewart, director of strategic services for the e-mail marketing firm ExactTarget. In a presentation he gave at last week’s eTail East 2008 conference in Washington, D.C., Stewart offered a number of pointers on how to make e-mail work in real time as a marketing tool. Here are the seven most noteworthy takeaway tips.
1. Use e-mail to turn a potentially negative out-of-stock experience into a positive. Include a callout when you’re out of stock for a particular product to have customers notified via e-mail when the item is back in stock. This helps accomplish two things, Stewart said: stave off the competition and build your master e-mail file.
2. E-mail coupons as a way to track cross-channel sales. Coupons are viewed by many marketers as a danger or an opportunity. Stewart emphasized the increased exposure as a viral opportunity for your brand, citing an ideal example of enabling consumers to print out a coupon included in an e-mail and using the coupon in a retail store. Then, if you can determine the person using the coupon isn’t the person who received the e-mail, you gain an opportunity to get that person to sign up for your e-mail program as well.
3. There’s no optimal time or day to send an e-mail. “It’s absolutely impossible to find the best day to send an e-mail … because there is none,” Stewart said in a response to a question from the audience. “It varies all over the board.”
4. Use a sliding scale for contact frequency with e-mail. For customers who have been unengaged (not clicking through) for more than three months, Stewart suggested sending them e-mails to confirm that they’re still interested in hearing from you. This can work in the other direction, as well, he added. If you’ve reduced the contact frequency for some customers but notice their increased activity, look for the opportunity to bump up your frequency.