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The power of personalized emails

We all get them, whether we’re normal consumers or marketing experts: email advertisements.

personalized-emails-300x214They inundate our inboxes in the middle of each night like unwelcome presents left by a mischievous digital Santa Claus. Those of us with Gmail accounts have them categorized neatly into our “promotions” folder where we couldn’t care less if their sales offers decay and die a natural death.

However, businesses would be foolish to completely discount marketing emails as a means of recruiting customers or increasing sales. Because once in a while, consumers will visit that promotions folder and they’ll be prepared to be sold to. Promotional emails have power in them when marketers know how to do it correctly.

Helping shoppers find what they’re looking for

That’s why the editors of Internet Retailer recently released a white paper document titled, “Pump up the volume with personalized email.” Notice the operative word there: personalized. Generic, mass emails have lost their power in the face of the digital revolution. Business marketers must now focus on personalization as a tool for showing consumers what it is they’re looking for (whether they knew they were looking for it or not).

Using analytics effectively

Internet Retailer explained, “To maximize results from your email campaigns you must make sure you are putting the right products in front of the right customers at the right time.” To do this, marketers should take note of analytic results, which can tell them a lot about an online shopper’s interests and buying habits, including past purchases, shopping cart contents that go unpurchased, and what they’ve been browsing through.

A recent Harris Interactive survey recently found, “69% of customers are willing to share their preferences with businesses in order to receive emails that are more relevant to them, while 77% of shoppers say they are more likely to buy from a retailer that sends them personalized emails featuring products based on their shopping behaviors and preferences.”

Checkout process surveys

One option retailers have for discerning user preferences is by providing a survey at or after the checkout process. Make it short, 5 questions or less, and allow the user to indicate what topics or products they are most interested in receiving information about. Be transparent about the reason you’d like them to take the survey, as the Harris Survey indicated that consumers appreciate the chance to indicate their preferences, and if they suspect any ulterior motives they likely won’t complete it.

There’s a balance, however, between sending too few and too many emails. More emails doesn’t necessarily equal higher click-through rates if you aren’t spending enough time on their content, subject lines, or realizing that customers get irritated when you fill up their inboxes. Irritated customers tend to unsubscribe themselves from future emails. The secret number may be different for each type of business, but the 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide found “leading e-retailers in North America sent 12.86 emails per month in 2013.”

Source: Internet Retailer

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