E-mail Marketing: Communicating Effectively
In the online battle for customer loyalty, catalogers have increasingly turned to e-mail marketing. However, an e-mail in-box—like the home telephone—is a communication channel that consumers rail against when it’s used to trick them into hearing a sales pitch. Unlike the postal mail box, consumers take personal umbrage at hearing “You’ve got mail!” for messages, not from friends, but from companies out to sell something unsolicited.
Catalogers’ e-mails, then, must be user-friendly. Effective e-mail marketing campaigns can result in double-digit response rates, increased sales and exponential growth in e-mail address lists. On the other hand, impersonal bulk newsletters, excessive e-mailings and complicated opt-out systems are sure ways to alienate customers.
As more online merchants utilize opt-in e-mail marketing, the challenge is growing for online catalogers to use e-mail as effectively as possible. Opt-in e-mail is a must-have marketing tool, but the results depend entirely on how you use it. Here are a few tips to improve your chances of success.
#1 Know your customer.
Billions of dollars have been spent over the years on focus groups, market research and test products, all trying to figure out consumer tastes. Instead, nowadays catalogers can use opt-in e-mail marketing as a quick, low-cost way to track customers’ interests.
Opt-in e-mail marketing allows catalogers to capture a customer’s profile when he or she first opts in, providing them with specific customer information that can help shape and target promotions. Opt-in e-mail marketing services can provide customizable lists of survey questions, but do not think of them as a replacement to market research—where a consumer will happily answer questions about chocolates for 20 minutes. Remember e-mail is a medium that thrives on speed. Requiring a customer to provide too many answers will leave you with many empty checkboxes.
Also, some e-mail marketing services offer test marketing features—allowing catalogers to test the response rate to particular offers based on demographics, kinds of promotions and potentially even virtual focus groups.