Segment your e-mail housefile
Sure, it’s time-consuming. It may double or even triple the time you spend putting together an e-mail campaign.
But according to industry experts, the potential sales and conversion benefits of segmenting your e-mail housefile—that is, sending different messages and offers to different segments of your customer file—are well worth the effort.
The experts also agree that e-mail housefile segmentation isn’t much different from segmenting your print buyers; it’s just a little more involved. “What you get with e-mail is more behavior-based information,” sums up Reggie Brady, president of consultancy Reggie Brady Marketing Solutions. “The trick is making sense of that information and organizing it into useful segments.”
Before You Begin
One of the bigger challenges of e-mail database segmentation presents itself even before segment categories are specified: determining whether all the customers in your database have truly opted-in to receive offers. This is crucial not only for maintaining good customer relations (and avoiding the appearance of spam), but for analyzing later the results of your campaign.
Opinions vary about whether customers who have provided their e-mail addresses via different channels should be considered true opt-ins. Pamela McAtee, director of e-marketing solutions at PreVision Marketing, contends that the possibility of receiving an e-mail offer is implicit when a customer gives a retailer his or her address via any channel.
Meanwhile, Ken Burke of e-consultancy Multimedia Live, believes that some less Internet-savvy customers may think the provision of an e-mail address when placing a Web order is just a tool for order verification, and not necessarily an invitation to receive offers. Try to avoid this confusion in the first place by making the e-mail registration page on your Web site as clear as possible. Or send a precautionary permission e-mail to ensure that your segmented campaign, once it’s deployed, isn’t misinterpreted by recipients as spam.