Is 'Batch and Blast' Your E-Mail Strategy?
Lately I've heard a number of B-to-B catalogers complain about falling e-mail response rates and rising unsubscribe rates. It very quickly comes to light that, for the most part, they're following a “batch and blast” e-mail strategy. They form an offer and send it to their entire e-mail lists. No B-to-B cataloger I've ever met has a completely homogeneous customer file. In fact, it's quite the contrary: They all have groups of customers from different segments who want and need to be treated differently.
When thinking about a comprehensive e-mail program, you must consider several different types of e-mails. When used together, they're relevant and interesting to your customers. Here are a few examples to consider:
- Transactional e-mail advertisements. Most catalogers use transactional e-mails to confirm orders and shipments. As a secondary message, think about creating promotional space in these e-mails for products and services related to the items being purchased, or invite the customer to join a frequent buyer program.
- Abandoned cart e-mails. A gentle reminder of a shopping cart that you're saving for the customer, along with an offer to complete the transaction, can go a long way to recouping lost sales.
- E-mails for abandoned/inactive wish lists and shopping lists. If your site offers shopping lists, consider using the items on that list to create private sale e-mails, especially 24-hour sales for slow days.
- Private sale e-mails. Nothing attracts a shopper like an e-mail offer specifically designed for him or her. Areas to target include items previously purchased, items viewed, new items or clearance items. The trick is selecting relevant items based on the individual customer's profile.
Also, when developing e-mail offers, make sure your copy recognizes customers that order online vs. those who prefer to order by phone. Develop specific landing pages that make it very easy to order (i.e., as few clicks as possible) the offer being advertised.
Hopefully these ideas will get you moving away from a one-offer-fits-all strategy and toward more targeted, relevant offers that boost response rates and reduce the number of unsubscribes.
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Terence Jukes is president of Ability Commerce, a 140-person firm that designs, builds and runs e-commerce and related marketing programs for catalog companies. He can be reached at TerryJ@AbilityCommerce.com.