White Paper ten Steps to Effective Email Marketing Updated strategies and actionable steps to help B2B and B2C marketers deliver integrated and measurable email marketing campaigns in today’s quickly changing online landscape A successful email IntroductIon a complex and often-misunderstood tool. Many marketers would argue it has marketing campaign There’s a revolution going on in been both a blessing and a curse to the marketing today. New technologies requires a diligent continue to emerge. Communication practice of marketing. On the positive and thoughtful approach channels are shifting and fragmenting. side, email is an easy-to-use, low-cost means of connecting with prospects, to the entire email New social media channels change customers and partners. However, these the rules of marketing and customer marketing process. positives can quickly become negatives. engagement on a daily basis. Meanwhile, Because of the low cost, there’s virtually the pressure for marketing to deliver no limit to how many emails a company measurable ROI has never been higher. can send, resulting in inbox overload. Although email marketing has been Many customers and prospects feel like around for more than a decade it is still they are constantly being spammed with irrelevant messages, and emailFor the following media, what are your spending plans in 2010 marketers have had to face the rise of spam filters – making it more difficult to100% 4 10 Increase reach intended audiences. 14 15 14 20 No Change 23 27 3280% Decrease Customers and prospects do want to hear from companies, but the messages must be relevant. The rise of recent60% 43 communications vehicles such as 37 70 Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google 48 84 82 84 Wave, and SMS have gained popularity,40% 73 but email is still an important and effective conduit for reaching customers20% 38 35 and prospects, launching interactive 20 200% 3 3 3 Print Online Broadcast Radio Direct Events Tele- Outdoor Mail marketing B2B Magazine 2010 Outlook Survey - Nov 2009
marketing campaigns, and driving StEp 2: ManagE cuStoMErconversations via new social media data EffEctIvElyand technology channels. As the breadth, volume and complexity of data have exploded over the pastBut email marketing is not just about decade, data management has becomesending emails. The process has many a well-known challenge for directmoving parts that must be well- marketers. Having the right dataintegrated in order to provide a content- available to help target customers andrich experience for customers and present optimal offers is one of the bestprospects. Marketers need to manage ways for an organization to acceleratecustomer and prospect lists respectfully its marketing efforts, and in order toand create well-targeted campaigns to prepare data for email distribution, itensure that messages will be delivered must be gathered from the multipleand not disappear into spam filters. sources and scrubbed to ensure ongoingCampaign responses must be carefully accuracy and compliance.monitored in order to evolve contentand offers for follow-up campaigns. gathering customer data: In most businesses, multiple departmentsMany email solutions can be used to gather and manage customer data,send messages, but unless the recipient often working in silos. Many onlineopens the email, engages, and takes marketing tools limit the amountaction, the campaign will not yield and type of customer data that canresults. A successful email marketing be referenced. But in reality, deepcampaign requires a diligent and data should be drawn from multiplethoughtful approach to the entire channels such as offline connections,email marketing process. Following email response, form and survey datathe ten best practices outlined in and company website browsing history.this paper will help improve overall Powerful new software tools can helpemail marketing effectiveness, while compile and track insights from allnavigating the quickly-changing online existing corporate data assets as wellmedia landscape. as create highly customized content and interactive experiences basedStEp 1: EStablISh a SInglE on a complete transactional historyMarkEtIng platforM for each customer.Thanks to the marketing revolution,the days of “batch and blast” emails Scrubbing data: Marketing programsare gone. Instead, companies are now will not succeed unless customer datafocusing on generating measurable is clean and in compliance with globalmarketing ROI. Using a single source government-regulated opt-in policies.or platform to manage email marketing This process includes:processes enables better and faster > Checking for bad email addressescampaign management, with more (including typos such aspredictable outcomes. Conversely, to email@example.com)use disparate systems invites errors. > Tracking opt-in permissionsUsing a single marketing platform > Learning about your customersenables automated dialogs and through their behaviors and responsesnurturing campaigns that target the to your campaigns (building a profile)right person with the right offer at theright time in the buyer’s lifecycle.
> Ensuring that email addresses are prospect data, start building a positive, valid so you can avoid sending to trust-based relationship by shoring up accounts included in lists that are options for opt-in, permissions, delivery designed to trap emails as spam preferences and privacy:> Leveraging customer knowledge in customer targeting opt-In – Give subscribers detailed opt-in options that make it clear what they will receive and when. When collecting emailStEp 3: forM a SInglE vIEw addresses, have a syntax validationof cuStoMEr data in place or ask the user to enter theirOnce customer and prospect data has address twice to ensure it is valid.been gathered and scrubbed, email Also, send a triggered opt-incampaign processes can be significantly confirmation e-mail to that address.streamlined by building a single view This will provide an opportunity toof each customer across multiple reinforce the opt-in, verify that theinteraction points. Keeping this view address is valid, and confirm what theclean and up-to-date is a critical, recipient can expect to receive.constant process. Allowing prospectsand customers to manage and update permission – When customers ortheir own data can ease the burden of prospects opted in to receive emails,maintaining updates. For example, allow they didn’t give permission to overloadcustomers or prospects to enter in new their inbox with messages. Respectemail addresses as they change. granted permissions by sending onlyHandling bounced emails automatically relevant, timely, appropriate messages—will also ease the strain of manually and continue to build on the relationshipupdating customer records. The by asking permission for other typesrecords should be flagged as of communications or confirming“bounced”—and depending on the frequency preferences.type of bounce, the email address mayneed to be cleared. Managing opt-in Ask permission—again and again.and permission-based marketing, and Use the highest permission standardautomatically processing bounces possible. At a minimum, use(including recipient complaints), will confirmed opt-in.provide relevant customer data for morediscrete marketing. It will also improve preferences – Do subscribers preferemail deliverability by eliminating HTML, text or mobile messages? Howerroneous data. often? On what subjects? Continually collecting preferences helps engageCompanies that segment their audience the customer or prospect and buildto drive relevant, timely, targeted knowledge that can be used incampaigns outperform the pack—and segmentation and targeting.companies that get permission to sendemails and maintain clean data have the Part of respecting each individual’sbest chance of getting their messages preferences also includes respectingdelivered. Conversely, companies when they no longer want to receivethat cannot track message delivery communications. It is essential to makeor manage bounces typically find it easy for people to unsubscribe, andthemselves wasting marketing dollars to respond immediately to unsubscribedue to poor list quality. requests. An unsubscribe option removes just one uninterested personStEp 4: Start thE from a list—but if that person wererElatIonShIp rIght to click “Report Spam” because theyAs soon the right processes are inplace for managing customer and
couldn’t unsubscribe easily, it could approaches can be expanded and affect the ability to reach thousands unsuccessful ones abandoned. of legitimately interested people. Relevant emails pay off over time. privacy – Customers and prospects Imagine someone gets an offer that’s have increasingly strong concerns relevant but not interesting. They may about their privacy across all delete that particular email—but they communications channels, and part will be unlikely to unsubscribe from of building trust is protecting privacy. the list, and will remain open to future Privacy policies should be clearly offers. The incremental time taken communicated and a central database to refine and improve email content that tracks marketing and operational relevancy will be rewarded with an interactions with each customer should increase in response. be diligently maintained. Four out of 10 subscribers “mark as StEp 5: crEatE coMpEllIng, spam” when they receive irrelevant rElEvant contEnt content. It’s critical to improve interactive marketing tactics to ensure Email marketing is not about doing message and offer relevancy, and “batch and blast” or “load, list and increase marketing ROI. Messages need send,” and hoping the email lands to align with the preferences and needs successfully. Today’s buyers and of customers or prospects. consumers are educated and demand concise, relevant information that will empower them to make the best To deliver relevant content, both choices. Overt sales approaches are personal relevance and external not effective. Content needs to be relevance should be considered. compelling, relevant and delivered personal relevance takes into account at the right time. Emails must be demographics, psychographics, personalized to garner and hold the communication styles, buying attention of target audiences. To behaviors, life stages, and interests or ensure delivery and improve results, hobbies. External relevance considers email campaigns need to be tested, seasonality, upcoming events, news and monitored and measured so successful limited-time offers. There are also different forms of relevance to consider within each email,“If you have unsubscribed or simply stopped reading emails from one or more businesses including sender, subject line, messagein the last year, what were the primary reasons?” and offer:Emails weren’t relevant > Focus on becoming a relevant 58%to me (known) senderReceived too many emails 44% > Use compelling subject lines to get thefrom the sender(s) recipient to read the emailSimply receive too many emailsfrom all sources to pay attention 31% > Don’t try to sell in the subject lineDoesn’t apply to me 20% > Provide clarity in the message > Keep it simple and answer theMy situation changed (baby 13% questions “What am I asking thebecame a toddler, moved, etc.) All Respondents recipient to do?” and “Why shouldUsing social networks, text they do it?” 3%messages, etc. instead of email > Provide a relevant offer or simple call 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% to action above the “fold” of the email
> Create dynamic, personalized triggered by events or over time. landing pages based on the profile As the complexity of dialog-based of the individual who clicks the link communications increases, it might in the email be necessary to employ easy-to-use software tools to drive personalized,Once content is relevant and compelling, relevant, timely communications. Keyensure it can be read by previewing requirements for these tools includeemails in a variety of inboxes to make the ability to execute triggered orsure it renders correctly. See how the event-based email marketing, deliveremail will look in different email readers personalized content and automatically(including mobile environments) in schedule rules-driven communicationsmultiple regions of the globe. Be sure to meet campaign objectives.that images display. If recipients don’tunderstand the message, they are more Another challenge of any customerlikely to call it spam. dialog is deciding which campaign a customer should receive. CustomerFrequency of communications is also preferences, channel constraints,a relevancy concern. Tune across line-of-business priorities and overallcampaigns to avoid overlap, and keep corporate rules can have a hugein mind the anti-spam regulations and impact on the timing and distributionpractices when testing for frequency of of marketing campaigns. Ensuringcommunications. Let the recipient know campaigns build on an individual’swhat frequency to expect. For example, profile and past dialogs will allowhow often can a new subscriber expect optimization of communications basedto receive emails? on learned preferences.Don’t bombard people with content StEp 7: SpaM-proof all MESSagESjust because they opted in generally.Over-communicating can result in Check content for spam. Will thelower response rates and higher wording or content trigger spam filters?complaints that eventually equate For example is the word “free” used?to poor deliverability. Identify any content issues that may affect reputation. Check that links are working and confirm that theStEp 6: havE a cuStoMEr dIalog links themselves are not on anyThe days of sending a birthday card blacklists. Determine if there are anyevery year and calling it a customer spelling or HTML errors. Performrelationship building campaign are seedlist tests before sending out theover. Customers and prospects now campaign to ensure there are noexpect companies to engage them issues preventing the email from beingin conversations, ask their opinions, delivered to inboxes.and present content that takes theseconversations into account. Marketing This is more than good process. It’s thestrategies should build on these law, and ensures CAN-SPAM complianceinteractions and mature over time. and avoids civil lawsuits and fines. In addition, by actively monitoringAll of the information marketers are deliverability and automating bouncecollecting—including demographics, and data updates, email delivery ratespsychographics, online and offline will be higher and sender reputationsinteractions, transactions and and delivery successes with majorresponses—deepens customer profiles ISPs will improve.and should be used to drive sustainedinteractions in future campaigns,
StEp 8: rESpond In rEal-tIME StEp 9: lEvEragE SocIal SharIngwIth thE rIght contEnt Everyone is buzzing about today’sAim to respond to prospects and widely available social marketing tools.customers with the right information at Don’t let all the Web 2.0 and socialthe right time. The resulting dialog will media buzz be a distraction. First,also help more accurately determine define how social tools can supportthe best time to engage in a buying commercial goals and enhance—notdiscussion. Use automated dialogs replace—existing marketing channelsand ongoing nurturing campaigns to such as email. Many of us followcontinue to engage customers, and to companies or brands on Twitter,monitor and immediately respond to Facebook or other social networks, butcustomer response cadences, lifecycles as a marketer, it is important to defineor buying cycles. In an email “batch and goals and success criteria to leverageblast” scenario, it would be impossible social media effectively.to influence the desired behavior in realtime. By contrast, the right software As one of the fastest growing opt-intools can quickly and easily engage the tactics for marketers, social sharing iscustomer and take advantage of every the new viral marketing. The biggestconversion opportunity. barrier to integrating social sharing and email is a lack of integrated thinking byCreate triggered alerts for customers email marketers to take interactionsor prospects by using their preferences outside the email box.to support event dates that allow themto tell you when something special is There are three simple steps tohappening. Use automated emails and leveraging social sharing. First, createdynamic content to tailor the triggered an email. Next, create a microsite withmessaging to the customer. This may be social site sharing from the contentas simple as an event date-based email library. Finally, direct the email recipient(such as a birthday email), or it may be to the social site of their choice, andbased on their behavior (such as a new when the recipient shares the offercustomer welcome message, prospect and related content with their socialemail with requested information, or network, use the application to gainevent follow-up email). At every stage, knowledge about any click-thrus,communication needs may change, so visits or referrals. Including socialcontinue to test content and frequency. sharing in email marketing strategies will give recipients the ability to shareOnline, automated two-way offers—not just follow or become acommunications allow marketers fan—and will provide tremendousto build trust and collect customer insight into who has been referred andinformation that can drive data and who has taken advantage of the sharedcustomer communication strategies. offer. This information is transparentDon’t try to get prospects to disclose and can exponentially increase reacheverything at once. Simple forms are the and response.best way to collect information and buildprofiles over multiple engagements. StEp 10: buIld a SolIdAsk questions to help improve targeting, InfraStructurE to EnSurEincluding demographics, interests, and EMaIl dElIvErabIlItyemail frequency preferences. Prioritize No discussion of email is completeneed to know over nice to know and without delving into deliverability.build stronger engagements over time. Although customer data, content relevancy, dialogs and social sharing
strategies may be in place, if the in place to provide the solid foundation message never reaches the inbox, no to build a good sender reputation. That actions will ever be taken. Deliverability infrastructure includes authentication happens (or not) across many layers standards, certification methods, IP and and, even in B2B environments, email Domain-based reputation management, deliverability is the second most ISP throttling, white list management, important challenge for marketers, black list monitoring, feedback loops according to Marketing Sherpa. and bounce management. By leveraging email deliverability services within According to Return Path’s recent the same infrastructure, the benefits study The Global Email Deliverability include lower total cost of ownership, Benchmark Report, 2H2009: “North seamless data integration, monitoring American inbox percentages remain flat and reporting—all from a single source. with 20% of email bulked or missing. The second half of 2009 showed an gaInIng thE advantagE inbox placement rate of just 80.1% Based on years of experience with some for permission-based commercial of the leading B2C and B2B companies email in the United States and Canada. in the world, Aprimo® has helped This represents a slight increase as companies address all the challenges compared to the first half of 2009.” of email marketing. To understand how Aprimo can impact each stage of the email marketing process, consider this case study: Global Delivery Rates, DH 2009100% Folksam, a Swedish financial services 86.9% North America provider, leveraged advanced90% 85.5% customer analysis including studies 80.1% Europe80% of customer demographics, buying Aisa Pacific70% habits, and the impact of different life events on buyer behavior. Using60% this information, Folksam sped up50% campaign development time, acted40% more quickly on new opportunities and more accurately targeted the pertinent30% customer needs identified from the20% 16.3% data analysis. The Aprimo suite enabled 11.0% 10.7%10% the significant change in marketing 3.5% 3.6% 2.5% activities that Folksam sought and0% Inbox Junk/Bulk Missing helped to automate the management of intricate, multi-channel conversations with the customer, via the appropriate channel, at the right time. Because the Aprimo solution is integrated with Deliverability starts with an Folksam’s data warehouse and customer infrastructure and set of services that management software, the company is provide a foundation for good email able to maintain a real-time, 360-degree to get through the inbox hurdle. Email view of how individual customers are deliverability infrastructure needs to be targeted, together with their responses.