Is Your Email Program Experiencing That 2:30 Feeling?

tired guy at work

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That 2:30 feeling doesn’t just hit people. Think about your email program and how energized it is. If email marketers are honest with themselves, many would admit their programs have hit a lull.

They’ve become sluggish, struggling to make it over the afternoon hump and burst with life again. Fatigue has set in and productivity has plateaued. The program needs an energy boost, and fortunately there are a lot of flavors to choose from.

Flavor 1: Triggerlicious

No doubt your email program has all the requisite triggers in place today — welcome, cart abandonment and transactional. These types of campaigns can facilitate laziness, though. The ability to “set and forget” them is both their appeal and their Achilles heel. After all, if the campaigns are going out and they are generating solid revenue, why revisit them? They are not broken, and there are 100 other things on your plate today.

The counter-argument is that these are the most successful campaigns being sent, and as such, enable some of the greatest opportunity to move the needle on your program. These campaigns are the most opened, clicked and anticipated by your consumers. Just because they are working well enough doesn’t mean they are working as well as they could.

Let’s take a look at the welcome program. Does your program differentiate between those who are new to file versus those that have already purchased from you?

Think about how different the welcome experience should be for a consumer whose email was gathered from the capture box on the home page (where that is all you know about the individual) as opposed to one captured for the first time during the online checkout process. The orientation experience for these two consumers should be very different, including the content, the number of touches and even the timing.

For cart (or browse) abandonment triggers, have you really evaluated and tested those thoroughly recently? While these triggers likely paid for themselves long ago, are they performing as well as they could? Have you tested timing for cart abandonment recently?

Most effective deployment time can really vary between brands — it may be 20 minutes or it may be 20 hours. You should also consider if timing should differ based upon product category. A considered purchase might warrant a more delayed trigger than an impulse purchase.

The key to all of this is ongoing tracking. While most companies track performance of their ad-hoc campaigns at a granular level, those that are automated get short shrift and often are not treated with the same importance when it comes to monitoring over time. Do you know how the click-through rate of your welcome campaign compares to this time last year? Is it trending up or down? Monitoring this on a monthly basis can help raise opportunities for improvement.

Flavor 2: Activity Segment Fizz

Do you know what percent of your subscriber base has been on file for six or more months and received 30 or more emails, but neither clicked nor opened any of them? It’s higher than you want it to be. Beyond trying to re-permission them, you can try and profile them. Do they over-index for a particular source (perhaps a sweeps you ran last year)? Can you map them to a purchase or to engagement with your brand via another channel? What other ways do they differ from your average subscriber?

These “zombies” are just one example of segmenting your file based on engagement data. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the “hyper-actives.” This audience, believe it or not, might not be receiving enough email from you. If the size of this audience is justified, they may warrant an increase in messaging, or at the very least, some additional encouragement to share your messaging with friends and family, a more concerted social push and other like treatments.

A similar exercise should be conducted here to profile this audience – you want to know how to get more of these subscribers and fewer of those that are completely unengaged. Does this audience over-index for a certain source? Do they have similar characteristics that can inform your acquisition strategies going forward?

Of course the majority of your file will be in the middle of the bell curve, but can also be broken out by engagement tiers. Most notably, there is an “at-risk” segment — individuals that have engaged with the email program in the past, but their interactions have slowed down.

Is 60 days since last click a bad thing? Perhaps not if you are a car rental company that targets leisure travelers. But if you are a CPG firm, that is a warning flag and warrants a shift in messaging to wake the subscriber back up. In general, if your subscriber hasn’t clicked in 30 days, they are 50% more likely to churn than a subscriber that has!

Flavor 3: Multichannel Madness

I’m in the process of moving. Not just down the street but across state lines to a city I know very little about. As a “new mover,” I’m the target audience for a lot of companies right now — for example, television service. I’ve noticed that as I move online between various cable provider websites, I’m experiencing site re-targeting in the form of banner ads from certain companies. This is something that every email marketer should be considering to extend the reach of their programs and orchestrate customer experiences across channels.

At Responsys, we’ve found that new subscribers to an email list are up to 57% more likely to make a first purchase if they are shown a display ad. This orchestration between email and display works really well and boosts the performance of both channels were they not acting in concert.

Another great opportunity to coordinate messaging occurs with email and mobile. Think about the opportunities that have an expiration date: big sale events, expiration of miles, etc. If a subscriber hasn’t opened their email notifying them of the upcoming offer deadline, that would be a perfect time to trigger an SMS message reminder. Or, imagine cart abandonment alerts being sent via push notification in addition to email as a way to further reinvigorate your program.

In summary, is it as easy as twisting off a cap and slugging back a couple of ounces of an energy drink to infuse your email program with a spike in performance? Of course not. But by not focusing resources on it, your program will continue to languish, allowing competitors to bypass you, and your subscribers will become less enthusiastic about your messages. So, hop up, test some of these ideas out and you’ll find your program refreshed and rejuvenated all without the crash that quick fixes offer up.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Email Marketing | Email Marketing | Email Marketing Column


About The Author: has been in the digital marketing space since 1997 when he started at one of the first email marketing companies in the marketplace -- Mercury Mail. He's been addicted to email marketing ever since working on both the product and consulting sides of the fence. Currently Clint serves as the Senior Director of Digital Strategy at Responsys where he helps inform and impact client's digital interactions with their customers.

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