Sometimes a bit of that déjà vu feeling can be a giggle, but when repetition is costing you time and money, it’s a little less amusing.
We’ve just been given first access to The UK Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Email Tracking Report 2017, sponsored by dotdigital. Awesome statistics, actionable insights, and a little bit like something we read this time last year.
The good news is that email is still firmly seated atop the throne as consumers’ preferred marketing channel. In fact, according to the report, email use is still on the rise, with the DMA likening the act of checking your inbox to a routine as subconscious as brushing your teeth in the morning. That’s the kind of healthy recurrence we like to hear about.
And the bad news?
Email marketing is in danger of losing its crown. And the culprit? It’s not new laws, or poor technology, or pesky Millennials whining and moaning and taking everything for granted…
Back in yesteryear, our Client Services Director Skip Fidura wrote a blog post to accompany the recently published DMA Email Tracking Report 2015, detailing a call to action for the prioritization of relevant content in email marketing campaigns. 63% of the 2016 versions of our consumers had said: “Most of the marketing emails I receive include NO content or offers that are of interest to me.” Subject lines were generic, offers were universal, and content was characterless. We all took note; relevancy needed to be improved if email marketing was going to continue to top the charts.
So why are we now looking at a 5% rise in consumers failing to identify the relevancy of our campaigns? 68% now agree with the above statement, and 84% now find less than half of their emails ‘interesting or relevant’. And that’s if they even get to the campaign itself; the DMA Email Tracker Report 2017 reveals that only 6% of consumers opened and read all of their emails – 67% read fewer than half. This is hardly a surprising statistic, when you consider that most feel there’s nothing of worth to them inside.
Email marketers are losing their customers’ trust because they’re not able to prove that they know how to engage with them. When you don’t feel like somebody knows you, you’re not going to open up, invite them in for a cup of tea, give them the nice biscuits with chocolate on. And if you feel like someone else is making a better attempt to get to know you, you’re going to turn your attention to them. It’s that simple.
Is it that we just don’t like “simple”?
Why is it that we haven’t yet cracked relevancy in email marketing campaigns, when we’ve got the tools at our fingertips? We can track consumer behavior; we can segment our contact lists by gender, location, and shoe size (if appropriate) we can test subject lines, copy, images and layout at the click of a button, and all of this data can be fed into a campaign that reaches Mrs. Smith when she gets home at 7pm on a Monday and starts surfing for size six shoes.
We need to start effectively using the tools that are available to us.
What can you do before the year is out?
Ask if you are relevant – When we released last year’s results, one of our clients took some of the key metrics, built them into a survey and asked her recipients the same questions. It would be inappropriate to share what she found, but it was interesting to compare the responses from her recipients with those of the average consumer.
Pay your data some attention – If you have gaps in your database, create a campaign via email or on your website that seeks to gain a better picture of both your prospects and your customers. Alternatively, you can connect your email platform to your CRM or e-commerce software to get access to live customer data
Strategize your segmentation – Dividing by two and hoping for the best hasn’t worked since school, so start thinking about what your brand can offer to different consumers, and create intelligent segments based on your results. Quizzes, competitions, and preference surveys are a great way to collect additional explicit data, on top of implicit data – such as order history and behavior.
Think harder about context – You need to keep up to date with what’s happening with your different audiences. Got an internationally active brand? Make sure your content is going to be relevant to everyone – and don’t forget about delivering your emails at a time that the recipient is likely to be looking at email, or at least be awake. dotdigital’s Send Time Optimization feature gets your message to your recipient’s inbox at the time that is best for them.
Split-test ‘til the cows come home – Performing a split-test is a brilliant way to find out what works for your brand in a time-effective manner. You can afford to be creative when your ideas are backed up by intelligent reporting.
What can you put in place for 2017?
Get better insight – dotdigital’s WebInsight tool lets you track prospects’ and customers’ online behaviors. You can then use the data you receive to send relevant, automated campaigns that “react” to your recipients most recent actions on your site.
Nurture your valued customers – With a tool like dotdigital’s OrderInsight, you can quickly and easily data-mine your customers to identify those highest scoring by frequency and value of purchase, as well as product category. Then design a targeted appreciation campaign for your most valued segments in minutes using our drag-and-drop segmentation tool.
Get to know our friends – We’ve got the top pick of partners to boost campaign relevancy. Phrasee gives you the insight on what subject lines will perform best for you, Sweet Tooth is the number one platform for points based loyalty programs, and Moveable Ink eats real-time relevancy for breakfast.
Want to get more of the most up-to-date data on the habits of email consumers? Download the DMA Insight: Consumer email tracking report!