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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
Introduction
There’s a revolution going on in
marketing today. New technologies
continue to emerge. Communication
channels are shifting and fragmenting.
New social media channels change
the rules of marketing and customer
engagement on a daily basis. Meanwhile,
the pressure for marketing to deliver
measurable ROI has never been higher.
Although email marketing has been
around for more than a decade it is still
a complex and often-misunderstood
tool. Many marketers would argue it has
been both a blessing and a curse to the
practice of marketing. On the positive
side, email is an easy-to-use, low-cost
means of connecting with prospects,
customers and partners. However, these
positives can quickly become negatives.
Because of the low cost, there’s virtually
no limit to how many emails a company
can send, resulting in inbox overload.
Many customers and prospects feel like
they are constantly being spammed
with irrelevant messages, and email
marketers have had to face the rise of
spam filters – making it more difficult to
reach intended audiences.
Customers and prospects do want to
hear from companies, but the messages
must be relevant. The rise of recent
communications vehicles such as
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google
Wave, and SMS have gained popularity,
but email is still an important and
effective conduit for reaching customers
and prospects, launching interactive
White Paper
Ten Steps to Effective
Email Marketing
A successful email
marketing campaign
requires a diligent
and thoughtful approach
to the entire email
marketing process.
For the following media, what are your spending plans in 2010
100%
80%
60%
40%
20%
0%
Print Online Broadcast Radio Direct
Mail
Events Tele-
marketing
Outdoor
Increase
No Change
Decrease
B2B Magazine 2010 Outlook Survey - Nov 2009
32
48
20
4
23
73
14
84
3
15
82
3
20
43
38
27
37
35
10
70
20
14
84
3
marketing campaigns, and driving
conversations via new social media
and technology channels.
But email marketing is not just about
sending emails. The process has many
moving parts that must be well-
integrated in order to provide a content-
rich experience for customers and
prospects. Marketers need to manage
customer and prospect lists respectfully
and create well-targeted campaigns to
ensure that messages will be delivered
and not disappear into spam filters.
Campaign responses must be carefully
monitored in order to evolve content
and offers for follow-up campaigns.
Many email solutions can be used to
send messages, but unless the recipient
opens the email, engages, and takes
action, the campaign will not yield
results. A successful email marketing
campaign requires a diligent and
thoughtful approach to the entire
email marketing process. Following
the ten best practices outlined in
this paper will help improve overall
email marketing effectiveness, while
navigating the quickly-changing online
media landscape.
Step 1: Establish a Single
Marketing Platform
Thanks to the marketing revolution,
the days of “batch and blast” emails
are gone. Instead, companies are now
focusing on generating measurable
marketing ROI. Using a single source
or platform to manage email marketing
processes enables better and faster
campaign management, with more
predictable outcomes. Conversely, to
use disparate systems invites errors.
Using a single marketing platform
enables automated dialogs and
nurturing campaigns that target the
right person with the right offer at the
right time in the buyer’s lifecycle.
Step 2: Manage Customer
Data Effectively
As the breadth, volume and complexity
of data have exploded over the past
decade, data management has become
a well-known challenge for direct
marketers. Having the right data
available to help target customers and
present optimal offers is one of the best
ways for an organization to accelerate
its marketing efforts, and in order to
prepare data for email distribution, it
must be gathered from the multiple
sources and scrubbed to ensure ongoing
accuracy and compliance.
Gathering customer data: In most
businesses, multiple departments
gather and manage customer data,
often working in silos. Many online
marketing tools limit the amount
and type of customer data that can
be referenced. But in reality, deep
data should be drawn from multiple
channels such as offline connections,
email response, form and survey data
and company website browsing history.
Powerful new software tools can help
compile and track insights from all
existing corporate data assets as well
as create highly customized content
and interactive experiences based
on a complete transactional history
for each customer.
Scrubbing data: Marketing programs
will not succeed unless customer data
is clean and in compliance with global
government-regulated opt-in policies.
This process includes:
>> Checking for bad email addresses
(including typos such as
name@yhaoo.com)
>> Tracking opt-in permissions
>> Learning about your customers
through their behaviors and responses
to your campaigns (building a profile)
>> Ensuring that email addresses are
valid so you can avoid sending to
accounts included in lists that are
designed to trap emails as spam
>> Leveraging customer knowledge in
customer targeting
Step 3: Form a Single View
of Customer Data
Once customer and prospect data has
been gathered and scrubbed, email
campaign processes can be significantly
streamlined by building a single view
of each customer across multiple
interaction points. Keeping this view
clean and up-to-date is a critical,
constant process. Allowing prospects
and customers to manage and update
their own data can ease the burden of
maintaining updates. For example, allow
customers or prospects to enter in new
email addresses as they change.
Handling bounced emails automatically
will also ease the strain of manually
updating customer records. The
records should be flagged as
“bounced”—and depending on the
type of bounce, the email address may
need to be cleared. Managing opt-in
and permission-based marketing, and
automatically processing bounces
(including recipient complaints), will
provide relevant customer data for more
discrete marketing. It will also improve
email deliverability by eliminating
erroneous data.
Companies that segment their audience
to drive relevant, timely, targeted
campaigns outperform the pack—and
companies that get permission to send
emails and maintain clean data have the
best chance of getting their messages
delivered. Conversely, companies
that cannot track message delivery
or manage bounces typically find
themselves wasting marketing dollars
due to poor list quality.
Step 4: Start the
Relationship Right
As soon the right processes are in
place for managing customer and
prospect data, start building a positive,
trust-based relationship by shoring up
options for opt-in, permissions, delivery
preferences and privacy:
Opt-In – Give subscribers detailed opt-in
options that make it clear what they will
receive and when. When collecting email
addresses, have a syntax validation
in place or ask the user to enter their
address twice to ensure it is valid.
Also, send a triggered opt-in
confirmation e-mail to that address.
This will provide an opportunity to
reinforce the opt-in, verify that the
address is valid, and confirm what the
recipient can expect to receive.
Permission – When customers or
prospects opted in to receive emails,
they didn’t give permission to overload
their inbox with messages. Respect
granted permissions by sending only
relevant, timely, appropriate messages—
and continue to build on the relationship
by asking permission for other types
of communications or confirming
frequency preferences.
Ask permission—again and again.
Use the highest permission standard
possible. At a minimum, use
confirmed opt-in.
Preferences – Do subscribers prefer
HTML, text or mobile messages? How
often? On what subjects? Continually
collecting preferences helps engage
the customer or prospect and build
knowledge that can be used in
segmentation and targeting.
Part of respecting each individual’s
preferences also includes respecting
when they no longer want to receive
communications. It is essential to make
it easy for people to unsubscribe, and
to respond immediately to unsubscribe
requests. An unsubscribe option
removes just one uninterested person
from a list—but if that person were
to click “Report Spam” because they
couldn’t unsubscribe easily, it could
affect the ability to reach thousands
of legitimately interested people.
Privacy – Customers and prospects
have increasingly strong concerns
about their privacy across all
communications channels, and part
of building trust is protecting privacy.
Privacy policies should be clearly
communicated and a central database
that tracks marketing and operational
interactions with each customer should
be diligently maintained.
Step 5: Create Compelling,
Relevant Content
Email marketing is not about doing
“batch and blast” or “load, list and
send,” and hoping the email lands
successfully. Today’s buyers and
consumers are educated and demand
concise, relevant information that
will empower them to make the best
choices. Overt sales approaches are
not effective. Content needs to be
compelling, relevant and delivered
at the right time. Emails must be
personalized to garner and hold the
attention of target audiences. To
ensure delivery and improve results,
email campaigns need to be tested,
monitored and measured so successful
approaches can be expanded and
unsuccessful ones abandoned.
Relevant emails pay off over time.
Imagine someone gets an offer that’s
relevant but not interesting. They may
delete that particular email—but they
will be unlikely to unsubscribe from
the list, and will remain open to future
offers. The incremental time taken
to refine and improve email content
relevancy will be rewarded with an
increase in response.
Four out of 10 subscribers “mark as
spam” when they receive irrelevant
content. It’s critical to improve
interactive marketing tactics to ensure
message and offer relevancy, and
increase marketing ROI. Messages need
to align with the preferences and needs
of customers or prospects.
To deliver relevant content, both
personal relevance and external
relevance should be considered.
Personal relevance takes into account
demographics, psychographics,
communication styles, buying
behaviors, life stages, and interests or
hobbies. External relevance considers
seasonality, upcoming events, news and
limited-time offers.
There are also different forms of
relevance to consider within each email,
including sender, subject line, message
and offer:
>> Focus on becoming a relevant
(known) sender
>> Use compelling subject lines to get the
recipient to read the email
>> Don’t try to sell in the subject line
>> Provide clarity in the message
>> Keep it simple and answer the
questions “What am I asking the
recipient to do?” and “Why should
they do it?”
>> Provide a relevant offer or simple call
to action above the “fold” of the email
“If you have unsubscribed or simply stopped reading emails from one or more businesses
in the last year, what were the primary reasons?”
Emails weren’t relevant
to me
Received too many emails
from the sender(s)
Simply receive too many emails
from all sources to pay attention
Doesn’t apply to me
My situation changed (baby
became a toddler, moved, etc.)
Using social networks, text
messages, etc. instead of email
0% 20% 40% 60% 80%
All Respondents
58%
44%
31%
20%
13%
3%
>> Create dynamic, personalized
landing pages based on the profile
of the individual who clicks the link
in the email
Once content is relevant and compelling,
ensure it can be read by previewing
emails in a variety of inboxes to make
sure it renders correctly. See how the
email will look in different email readers
(including mobile environments) in
multiple regions of the globe. Be sure
that images display. If recipients don’t
understand the message, they are more
likely to call it spam.
Frequency of communications is also
a relevancy concern. Tune across
campaigns to avoid overlap, and keep
in mind the anti-spam regulations and
practices when testing for frequency of
communications. Let the recipient know
what frequency to expect. For example,
how often can a new subscriber expect
to receive emails?
Don’t bombard people with content
just because they opted in generally.
Over-communicating can result in
lower response rates and higher
complaints that eventually equate
to poor deliverability.
Step 6: Have a Customer Dialog
The days of sending a birthday card
every year and calling it a customer
relationship building campaign are
over. Customers and prospects now
expect companies to engage them
in conversations, ask their opinions,
and present content that takes these
conversations into account. Marketing
strategies should build on these
interactions and mature over time.
All of the information marketers are
collecting—including demographics,
psychographics, online and offline
interactions, transactions and
responses—deepens customer profiles
and should be used to drive sustained
interactions in future campaigns,
triggered by events or over time.
As the complexity of dialog-based
communications increases, it might
be necessary to employ easy-to-use
software tools to drive personalized,
relevant, timely communications. Key
requirements for these tools include
the ability to execute triggered or
event-based email marketing, deliver
personalized content and automatically
schedule rules-driven communications
to meet campaign objectives.
Another challenge of any customer
dialog is deciding which campaign a
customer should receive. Customer
preferences, channel constraints,
line-of-business priorities and overall
corporate rules can have a huge
impact on the timing and distribution
of marketing campaigns. Ensuring
campaigns build on an individual’s
profile and past dialogs will allow
optimization of communications based
on learned preferences.
Step 7: Spam-Proof All Messages
Check content for spam. Will the
wording or content trigger spam filters?
For example is the word “free” used?
Identify any content issues that may
affect reputation. Check that links are
working and confirm that the
links themselves are not on any
blacklists. Determine if there are any
spelling or HTML errors. Perform
seedlist tests before sending out the
campaign to ensure there are no
issues preventing the email from being
delivered to inboxes.
This is more than good process. It’s the
law, and ensures CAN-SPAM compliance
and avoids civil lawsuits and fines.
In addition, by actively monitoring
deliverability and automating bounce
and data updates, email delivery rates
will be higher and sender reputations
and delivery successes with major
ISPs will improve.
Step 8: Respond in Real-Time
with the Right Content
Aim to respond to prospects and
customers with the right information at
the right time. The resulting dialog will
also help more accurately determine
the best time to engage in a buying
discussion. Use automated dialogs
and ongoing nurturing campaigns to
continue to engage customers, and to
monitor and immediately respond to
customer response cadences, lifecycles
or buying cycles. In an email “batch and
blast” scenario, it would be impossible
to influence the desired behavior in real
time. By contrast, the right software
tools can quickly and easily engage the
customer and take advantage of every
conversion opportunity.
Create triggered alerts for customers
or prospects by using their preferences
to support event dates that allow them
to tell you when something special is
happening. Use automated emails and
dynamic content to tailor the triggered
messaging to the customer. This may be
as simple as an event date-based email
(such as a birthday email), or it may be
based on their behavior (such as a new
customer welcome message, prospect
email with requested information, or
event follow-up email). At every stage,
communication needs may change, so
continue to test content and frequency.
Online, automated two-way
communications allow marketers
to build trust and collect customer
information that can drive data and
customer communication strategies.
Don’t try to get prospects to disclose
everything at once. Simple forms are the
best way to collect information and build
profiles over multiple engagements.
Ask questions to help improve targeting,
including demographics, interests, and
email frequency preferences. Prioritize
need to know over nice to know and
build stronger engagements over time.
Step 9: Leverage Social Sharing
Everyone is buzzing about today’s
widely available social marketing tools.
Don’t let all the Web 2.0 and social
media buzz be a distraction. First,
define how social tools can support
commercial goals and enhance—not
replace—existing marketing channels
such as email. Many of us follow
companies or brands on Twitter,
Facebook or other social networks, but
as a marketer, it is important to define
goals and success criteria to leverage
social media effectively.
As one of the fastest growing opt-in
tactics for marketers, social sharing is
the new viral marketing. The biggest
barrier to integrating social sharing and
email is a lack of integrated thinking by
email marketers to take interactions
outside the email box.
There are three simple steps to
leveraging social sharing. First, create
an email. Next, create a microsite with
social site sharing from the content
library. Finally, direct the email recipient
to the social site of their choice, and
when the recipient shares the offer
and related content with their social
network, use the application to gain
knowledge about any click-thrus,
visits or referrals. Including social
sharing in email marketing strategies
will give recipients the ability to share
offers—not just follow or become a
fan—and will provide tremendous
insight into who has been referred and
who has taken advantage of the shared
offer. This information is transparent
and can exponentially increase reach
and response.
Step 10: Build a Solid
Infrastructure to Ensure
Email Deliverability
No discussion of email is complete
without delving into deliverability.
Although customer data, content
relevancy, dialogs and social sharing
strategies may be in place, if the
message never reaches the inbox, no
actions will ever be taken. Deliverability
happens (or not) across many layers
and, even in B2B environments, email
deliverability is the second most
important challenge for marketers,
according to Marketing Sherpa.
According to Return Path’s recent
study The Global Email Deliverability
Benchmark Report, 2H2009: “North
American inbox percentages remain flat
with 20% of email bulked or missing.
The second half of 2009 showed an
inbox placement rate of just 80.1%
for permission-based commercial
email in the United States and Canada.
This represents a slight increase as
compared to the first half of 2009.”
in place to provide the solid foundation
to build a good sender reputation. That
infrastructure includes authentication
standards, certification methods, IP and
Domain-based reputation management,
ISP throttling, white list management,
black list monitoring, feedback loops
and bounce management. By leveraging
email deliverability services within
the same infrastructure, the benefits
include lower total cost of ownership,
seamless data integration, monitoring
and reporting—all from a single source.
Gaining the Advantage
Based on years of experience with some
of the leading B2C and B2B companies
in the world, Aprimo® has helped
companies address all the challenges
of email marketing. To understand how
Aprimo can impact each stage of the
email marketing process, consider this
case study:
Folksam, a Swedish financial services
provider, leveraged advanced
customer analysis including studies
of customer demographics, buying
habits, and the impact of different
life events on buyer behavior. Using
this information, Folksam sped up
campaign development time, acted
more quickly on new opportunities and
more accurately targeted the pertinent
customer needs identified from the
data analysis. The Aprimo suite enabled
the significant change in marketing
activities that Folksam sought and
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
Folksam’s data warehouse and customer
management software, the company is
able to maintain a real-time, 360-degree
view of how individual customers are
targeted, together with their responses.
Deliverability starts with an
infrastructure and set of services that
provide a foundation for good email
to get through the inbox hurdle. Email
deliverability infrastructure needs to be
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
North America
Europe
Aisa Pacific
Global Delivery Rates, DH 2009
Inbox Junk/Bulk Missing
80.1%
85.5%
86.9%
3.5% 3.6% 2.5%
16.3%
11.0% 10.7%
About Aprimo
Aprimo’s integrated marketing software
enables B2C and B2B marketers to
successfully navigate the changing role
of marketing by taking control of budget
and spend, eliminating internal silos with
streamlined workflows and executing
innovative multi-channel campaigns to
drive measureable ROI. Only through the
use of Aprimo’s modular and on demand
software, Aprimo Marketing Studio B2C
and Aprimo Marketing Studio B2B, can
marketers truly integrate marketing
organizations, manage, deliver and
track the right message targeted
to the right audience over the right
channel and translate Marketing efforts
into measurable business impact and
revenue. Hundreds of thousands of
Marketers trust Aprimo to revolutionize
their marketing including Bank of
America, Honda, King Pharmaceutical,
Pearson Education Ltd, Time Warner
Cable-NY and Wal-Mart. For more
information, visit www.aprimo.com.
© Aprimo, Incorporated
900 East 96th Street, Suite 400
Indianapolis, IN 46240
317.803.4300 main
317.803.4251 fax
aprimo.com

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Aprimo 10 steps_to_effective_email_marketing_wp_05-14-10

  • 1. 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 Introduction There’s a revolution going on in marketing today. New technologies continue to emerge. Communication channels are shifting and fragmenting. New social media channels change the rules of marketing and customer engagement on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the pressure for marketing to deliver measurable ROI has never been higher. Although email marketing has been around for more than a decade it is still a complex and often-misunderstood tool. Many marketers would argue it has been both a blessing and a curse to the practice of marketing. On the positive side, email is an easy-to-use, low-cost means of connecting with prospects, customers and partners. However, these positives can quickly become negatives. Because of the low cost, there’s virtually no limit to how many emails a company can send, resulting in inbox overload. Many customers and prospects feel like they are constantly being spammed with irrelevant messages, and email marketers have had to face the rise of spam filters – making it more difficult to reach intended audiences. Customers and prospects do want to hear from companies, but the messages must be relevant. The rise of recent communications vehicles such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Wave, and SMS have gained popularity, but email is still an important and effective conduit for reaching customers and prospects, launching interactive White Paper Ten Steps to Effective Email Marketing A successful email marketing campaign requires a diligent and thoughtful approach to the entire email marketing process. For the following media, what are your spending plans in 2010 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Print Online Broadcast Radio Direct Mail Events Tele- marketing Outdoor Increase No Change Decrease B2B Magazine 2010 Outlook Survey - Nov 2009 32 48 20 4 23 73 14 84 3 15 82 3 20 43 38 27 37 35 10 70 20 14 84 3
  • 2. marketing campaigns, and driving conversations via new social media and technology channels. But email marketing is not just about sending emails. The process has many moving parts that must be well- integrated in order to provide a content- rich experience for customers and prospects. Marketers need to manage customer and prospect lists respectfully and create well-targeted campaigns to ensure that messages will be delivered and not disappear into spam filters. Campaign responses must be carefully monitored in order to evolve content and offers for follow-up campaigns. Many email solutions can be used to send messages, but unless the recipient opens the email, engages, and takes action, the campaign will not yield results. A successful email marketing campaign requires a diligent and thoughtful approach to the entire email marketing process. Following the ten best practices outlined in this paper will help improve overall email marketing effectiveness, while navigating the quickly-changing online media landscape. Step 1: Establish a Single Marketing Platform Thanks to the marketing revolution, the days of “batch and blast” emails are gone. Instead, companies are now focusing on generating measurable marketing ROI. Using a single source or platform to manage email marketing processes enables better and faster campaign management, with more predictable outcomes. Conversely, to use disparate systems invites errors. Using a single marketing platform enables automated dialogs and nurturing campaigns that target the right person with the right offer at the right time in the buyer’s lifecycle. Step 2: Manage Customer Data Effectively As the breadth, volume and complexity of data have exploded over the past decade, data management has become a well-known challenge for direct marketers. Having the right data available to help target customers and present optimal offers is one of the best ways for an organization to accelerate its marketing efforts, and in order to prepare data for email distribution, it must be gathered from the multiple sources and scrubbed to ensure ongoing accuracy and compliance. Gathering customer data: In most businesses, multiple departments gather and manage customer data, often working in silos. Many online marketing tools limit the amount and type of customer data that can be referenced. But in reality, deep data should be drawn from multiple channels such as offline connections, email response, form and survey data and company website browsing history. Powerful new software tools can help compile and track insights from all existing corporate data assets as well as create highly customized content and interactive experiences based on a complete transactional history for each customer. Scrubbing data: Marketing programs will not succeed unless customer data is clean and in compliance with global government-regulated opt-in policies. This process includes: >> Checking for bad email addresses (including typos such as name@yhaoo.com) >> Tracking opt-in permissions >> Learning about your customers through their behaviors and responses to your campaigns (building a profile)
  • 3. >> Ensuring that email addresses are valid so you can avoid sending to accounts included in lists that are designed to trap emails as spam >> Leveraging customer knowledge in customer targeting Step 3: Form a Single View of Customer Data Once customer and prospect data has been gathered and scrubbed, email campaign processes can be significantly streamlined by building a single view of each customer across multiple interaction points. Keeping this view clean and up-to-date is a critical, constant process. Allowing prospects and customers to manage and update their own data can ease the burden of maintaining updates. For example, allow customers or prospects to enter in new email addresses as they change. Handling bounced emails automatically will also ease the strain of manually updating customer records. The records should be flagged as “bounced”—and depending on the type of bounce, the email address may need to be cleared. Managing opt-in and permission-based marketing, and automatically processing bounces (including recipient complaints), will provide relevant customer data for more discrete marketing. It will also improve email deliverability by eliminating erroneous data. Companies that segment their audience to drive relevant, timely, targeted campaigns outperform the pack—and companies that get permission to send emails and maintain clean data have the best chance of getting their messages delivered. Conversely, companies that cannot track message delivery or manage bounces typically find themselves wasting marketing dollars due to poor list quality. Step 4: Start the Relationship Right As soon the right processes are in place for managing customer and prospect data, start building a positive, trust-based relationship by shoring up options for opt-in, permissions, delivery preferences and privacy: Opt-In – Give subscribers detailed opt-in options that make it clear what they will receive and when. When collecting email addresses, have a syntax validation in place or ask the user to enter their address twice to ensure it is valid. Also, send a triggered opt-in confirmation e-mail to that address. This will provide an opportunity to reinforce the opt-in, verify that the address is valid, and confirm what the recipient can expect to receive. Permission – When customers or prospects opted in to receive emails, they didn’t give permission to overload their inbox with messages. Respect granted permissions by sending only relevant, timely, appropriate messages— and continue to build on the relationship by asking permission for other types of communications or confirming frequency preferences. Ask permission—again and again. Use the highest permission standard possible. At a minimum, use confirmed opt-in. Preferences – Do subscribers prefer HTML, text or mobile messages? How often? On what subjects? Continually collecting preferences helps engage the customer or prospect and build knowledge that can be used in segmentation and targeting. Part of respecting each individual’s preferences also includes respecting when they no longer want to receive communications. It is essential to make it easy for people to unsubscribe, and to respond immediately to unsubscribe requests. An unsubscribe option removes just one uninterested person from a list—but if that person were to click “Report Spam” because they
  • 4. couldn’t unsubscribe easily, it could affect the ability to reach thousands of legitimately interested people. Privacy – Customers and prospects have increasingly strong concerns about their privacy across all communications channels, and part of building trust is protecting privacy. Privacy policies should be clearly communicated and a central database that tracks marketing and operational interactions with each customer should be diligently maintained. Step 5: Create Compelling, Relevant Content Email marketing is not about doing “batch and blast” or “load, list and send,” and hoping the email lands successfully. Today’s buyers and consumers are educated and demand concise, relevant information that will empower them to make the best choices. Overt sales approaches are not effective. Content needs to be compelling, relevant and delivered at the right time. Emails must be personalized to garner and hold the attention of target audiences. To ensure delivery and improve results, email campaigns need to be tested, monitored and measured so successful approaches can be expanded and unsuccessful ones abandoned. Relevant emails pay off over time. Imagine someone gets an offer that’s relevant but not interesting. They may delete that particular email—but they will be unlikely to unsubscribe from the list, and will remain open to future offers. The incremental time taken to refine and improve email content relevancy will be rewarded with an increase in response. Four out of 10 subscribers “mark as spam” when they receive irrelevant content. It’s critical to improve interactive marketing tactics to ensure message and offer relevancy, and increase marketing ROI. Messages need to align with the preferences and needs of customers or prospects. To deliver relevant content, both personal relevance and external relevance should be considered. Personal relevance takes into account demographics, psychographics, communication styles, buying behaviors, life stages, and interests or hobbies. External relevance considers seasonality, upcoming events, news and limited-time offers. There are also different forms of relevance to consider within each email, including sender, subject line, message and offer: >> Focus on becoming a relevant (known) sender >> Use compelling subject lines to get the recipient to read the email >> Don’t try to sell in the subject line >> Provide clarity in the message >> Keep it simple and answer the questions “What am I asking the recipient to do?” and “Why should they do it?” >> Provide a relevant offer or simple call to action above the “fold” of the email “If you have unsubscribed or simply stopped reading emails from one or more businesses in the last year, what were the primary reasons?” Emails weren’t relevant to me Received too many emails from the sender(s) Simply receive too many emails from all sources to pay attention Doesn’t apply to me My situation changed (baby became a toddler, moved, etc.) Using social networks, text messages, etc. instead of email 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% All Respondents 58% 44% 31% 20% 13% 3%
  • 5. >> Create dynamic, personalized landing pages based on the profile of the individual who clicks the link in the email Once content is relevant and compelling, ensure it can be read by previewing emails in a variety of inboxes to make sure it renders correctly. See how the email will look in different email readers (including mobile environments) in multiple regions of the globe. Be sure that images display. If recipients don’t understand the message, they are more likely to call it spam. Frequency of communications is also a relevancy concern. Tune across campaigns to avoid overlap, and keep in mind the anti-spam regulations and practices when testing for frequency of communications. Let the recipient know what frequency to expect. For example, how often can a new subscriber expect to receive emails? Don’t bombard people with content just because they opted in generally. Over-communicating can result in lower response rates and higher complaints that eventually equate to poor deliverability. Step 6: Have a Customer Dialog The days of sending a birthday card every year and calling it a customer relationship building campaign are over. Customers and prospects now expect companies to engage them in conversations, ask their opinions, and present content that takes these conversations into account. Marketing strategies should build on these interactions and mature over time. All of the information marketers are collecting—including demographics, psychographics, online and offline interactions, transactions and responses—deepens customer profiles and should be used to drive sustained interactions in future campaigns, triggered by events or over time. As the complexity of dialog-based communications increases, it might be necessary to employ easy-to-use software tools to drive personalized, relevant, timely communications. Key requirements for these tools include the ability to execute triggered or event-based email marketing, deliver personalized content and automatically schedule rules-driven communications to meet campaign objectives. Another challenge of any customer dialog is deciding which campaign a customer should receive. Customer preferences, channel constraints, line-of-business priorities and overall corporate rules can have a huge impact on the timing and distribution of marketing campaigns. Ensuring campaigns build on an individual’s profile and past dialogs will allow optimization of communications based on learned preferences. Step 7: Spam-Proof All Messages Check content for spam. Will the wording or content trigger spam filters? For example is the word “free” used? Identify any content issues that may affect reputation. Check that links are working and confirm that the links themselves are not on any blacklists. Determine if there are any spelling or HTML errors. Perform seedlist tests before sending out the campaign to ensure there are no issues preventing the email from being delivered to inboxes. This is more than good process. It’s the law, and ensures CAN-SPAM compliance and avoids civil lawsuits and fines. In addition, by actively monitoring deliverability and automating bounce and data updates, email delivery rates will be higher and sender reputations and delivery successes with major ISPs will improve.
  • 6. Step 8: Respond in Real-Time with the Right Content Aim to respond to prospects and customers with the right information at the right time. The resulting dialog will also help more accurately determine the best time to engage in a buying discussion. Use automated dialogs and ongoing nurturing campaigns to continue to engage customers, and to monitor and immediately respond to customer response cadences, lifecycles or buying cycles. In an email “batch and blast” scenario, it would be impossible to influence the desired behavior in real time. By contrast, the right software tools can quickly and easily engage the customer and take advantage of every conversion opportunity. Create triggered alerts for customers or prospects by using their preferences to support event dates that allow them to tell you when something special is happening. Use automated emails and dynamic content to tailor the triggered messaging to the customer. This may be as simple as an event date-based email (such as a birthday email), or it may be based on their behavior (such as a new customer welcome message, prospect email with requested information, or event follow-up email). At every stage, communication needs may change, so continue to test content and frequency. Online, automated two-way communications allow marketers to build trust and collect customer information that can drive data and customer communication strategies. Don’t try to get prospects to disclose everything at once. Simple forms are the best way to collect information and build profiles over multiple engagements. Ask questions to help improve targeting, including demographics, interests, and email frequency preferences. Prioritize need to know over nice to know and build stronger engagements over time. Step 9: Leverage Social Sharing Everyone is buzzing about today’s widely available social marketing tools. Don’t let all the Web 2.0 and social media buzz be a distraction. First, define how social tools can support commercial goals and enhance—not replace—existing marketing channels such as email. Many of us follow companies or brands on Twitter, Facebook or other social networks, but as a marketer, it is important to define goals and success criteria to leverage social media effectively. As one of the fastest growing opt-in tactics for marketers, social sharing is the new viral marketing. The biggest barrier to integrating social sharing and email is a lack of integrated thinking by email marketers to take interactions outside the email box. There are three simple steps to leveraging social sharing. First, create an email. Next, create a microsite with social site sharing from the content library. Finally, direct the email recipient to the social site of their choice, and when the recipient shares the offer and related content with their social network, use the application to gain knowledge about any click-thrus, visits or referrals. Including social sharing in email marketing strategies will give recipients the ability to share offers—not just follow or become a fan—and will provide tremendous insight into who has been referred and who has taken advantage of the shared offer. This information is transparent and can exponentially increase reach and response. Step 10: Build a Solid Infrastructure to Ensure Email Deliverability No discussion of email is complete without delving into deliverability. Although customer data, content relevancy, dialogs and social sharing
  • 7. strategies may be in place, if the message never reaches the inbox, no actions will ever be taken. Deliverability happens (or not) across many layers and, even in B2B environments, email deliverability is the second most important challenge for marketers, according to Marketing Sherpa. According to Return Path’s recent study The Global Email Deliverability Benchmark Report, 2H2009: “North American inbox percentages remain flat with 20% of email bulked or missing. The second half of 2009 showed an inbox placement rate of just 80.1% for permission-based commercial email in the United States and Canada. This represents a slight increase as compared to the first half of 2009.” in place to provide the solid foundation to build a good sender reputation. That infrastructure includes authentication standards, certification methods, IP and Domain-based reputation management, ISP throttling, white list management, black list monitoring, feedback loops and bounce management. By leveraging email deliverability services within the same infrastructure, the benefits include lower total cost of ownership, seamless data integration, monitoring and reporting—all from a single source. Gaining the Advantage Based on years of experience with some of the leading B2C and B2B companies in the world, Aprimo® has helped companies address all the challenges of email marketing. To understand how Aprimo can impact each stage of the email marketing process, consider this case study: Folksam, a Swedish financial services provider, leveraged advanced customer analysis including studies of customer demographics, buying habits, and the impact of different life events on buyer behavior. Using this information, Folksam sped up campaign development time, acted more quickly on new opportunities and more accurately targeted the pertinent customer needs identified from the data analysis. The Aprimo suite enabled the significant change in marketing activities that Folksam sought and 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 Folksam’s data warehouse and customer management software, the company is able to maintain a real-time, 360-degree view of how individual customers are targeted, together with their responses. Deliverability starts with an infrastructure and set of services that provide a foundation for good email to get through the inbox hurdle. Email deliverability infrastructure needs to be 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% North America Europe Aisa Pacific Global Delivery Rates, DH 2009 Inbox Junk/Bulk Missing 80.1% 85.5% 86.9% 3.5% 3.6% 2.5% 16.3% 11.0% 10.7%
  • 8. About Aprimo Aprimo’s integrated marketing software enables B2C and B2B marketers to successfully navigate the changing role of marketing by taking control of budget and spend, eliminating internal silos with streamlined workflows and executing innovative multi-channel campaigns to drive measureable ROI. Only through the use of Aprimo’s modular and on demand software, Aprimo Marketing Studio B2C and Aprimo Marketing Studio B2B, can marketers truly integrate marketing organizations, manage, deliver and track the right message targeted to the right audience over the right channel and translate Marketing efforts into measurable business impact and revenue. Hundreds of thousands of Marketers trust Aprimo to revolutionize their marketing including Bank of America, Honda, King Pharmaceutical, Pearson Education Ltd, Time Warner Cable-NY and Wal-Mart. For more information, visit www.aprimo.com. © Aprimo, Incorporated 900 East 96th Street, Suite 400 Indianapolis, IN 46240 317.803.4300 main 317.803.4251 fax aprimo.com