The Email World: Segmentation vs. Irrelevancy

The Email World: Segmentation vs. Irrelevancy

Brand, marketing and PR manager at digital retail solutions agency IE Agency, Jessica Box, argues automated emails are becoming irrelevant. However automate in style and your customers may feel rewarded.

Emails have been, and will be well into the foreseeable future, a major player in the marketing stack.

Now, with the new filter segmentation in Gmail and as customers are increasingly interested in curating their content, automated and irrelevant emails are becoming just that, irrelevant.

Let’s look at the extreme. When I recently signed up for the Kookai mailing list, they mentioned emails would only be sent intermittently throughout the year – on average, one every 3 months. Since signing up in February of 2014, I have only received one email. Now, a big Kookai fan myself, I’m always thirsting for the latest product release details, editorial features or runway recaps. So in 3 months, this is the only email I have received:

On the other hand, I also recently signed up to Country Road’s mailing list and their send-out is far more frequent. After only signing up 4 weeks ago, I have already received 4 emails, which is 75% more content than Kookaii have sent out in triple the time.

To go into more depth, I made a purchase of shoes at Country Road when I signed up, and the only reason I did so was to receive $50.00 off my purchase on that particular day. I have since been sent content that relates to my purchase incidentally, and is not specific to me. Though this is fine, I enjoy receiving emails from my favourite brands, not all customers like to have their inbox inundated with a barrage of non-specific content.

Even the cheapest email marketing platform, cheapest being free, enables segmentation. MailChimp is the best to start with, but you can automate segmentation in any email platform to drive further conversions.

As a great example, our agency newsletter is sent out in 3 targeted segments. By doing this, we have open rates at 60% on average and click throughs at 17%, versus 19% and 2% as industry standards.

Segmenting by customer type, location, device, age bracket (if you collect these details) and previous purchases, enables you to send customers content they even didn’t know they wanted. Retailers can then surprise and delight customers throughout the entire purchase cycle.

Automating in style.
Do you love receiving that little thank you note right after purchasing in store? Or even online? I do. You’ve also created a suspension of disbelief for your customer, they think, “oh wow, how did they send that so quickly!?” when your customer opens the email.

Do this and do it well. A simple thank you goes a long way, as a customer feels important and appreciated for their love of your brand.

Subject lines. Be succinct and definitive. 
Avoid verbose and dry subject lines. The subject line is the store window of your content; you need to ensure it is attractive enough to drive customers to open. Your email sits in a congested inbox with many competing subscription emails, so making your subject line succinct and descriptive will increase the likelihood of it being read.

For example, I just received a fantastic line from Village Cinemas, entitled “Pop, Pop, Popcorn.” Not only am I excited to open this email, to receive obviously a popcorn promotion (not just because I love popcorn a little too much…), but also the subject line made me smile.

Ensure you create a meaningful connection with every word your customers read from your brand.

For the future.
As has been frequently discussed across the digital landscape, customer expectations are increasingly rising. An article in Econsultancy said “It’s a really fine line between the right amount of email and too much email, however no email whatsoever is unforgivable from a business point of view.”

Much like the newsfeed ‘top stories’ on every social channel, customers now expect to aggregate their own email feeds with relevant and current content.

Segmentation is the first step in this direction, along with some easy tweaks that will create great brand experiences. If your email results are a bit lacklustre, think about what your target audience wants and needs, make them feel engaged at every touchpoint.

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