Content Relevancy is key to enhancing any email program and as ISP's move to add engagement stats to there bulk/spam filters, you need your customers to be more involved in your email program. A recent stat from Jupiter Research says 51% of those surveyed will unsubscribe if content is not of interest. By not providing better content, you are losing opportunities to market to your customers later. And to keep things interesting, as email clients move to a more "unified" inbox (Outlook 2010 Social Connector, Gmail & Google Buzz), your messages will be competing with social messages as well as an increased email volume. So it is time to stop talking about creating better content and start taking the necessary steps to implement it within your email program. As Mike wrote about in a previous post about relevant content, there is tons of data out there to research customer vernacular, and understand customer interest through search volume and behavior. So using the findings from this research and incorporating it within your email program is the first step in ensuring your content is on point. By layering on a level of data about your customer, your content is now way more relevant to each customer and their needs.
If gathering customer specific data is too difficult within your current organization use the data being captured by your email program (opens and clicks). Subscribers are already “telling” you their interests by clicking on links within your email. Over a period of time and some categorization you can start to tailor your message to what their interested in. The image to the right is a screen shot from Emusic (sorry I love music) with various featured artist/albums (highlighted in screenshot). By categorizing these links (indie, alternative, hip-hop, etc.) we can start to build profiles for this subscribers interest. If they added navigation that included categories, we could have more data to help our profiling efforts.
The goal of any email marketing program should be to continue to enhance the customer experience, and create a better relationship between you and your customer. Sending the right message to the right customer at the right time. The best and most efficient way is through your content and data. By visiting your website and clicking content within your email, your customers are telling you what is of interest to them. Use this information to build a more robust program that is structured around your customers. Add elements of automation through triggers, and drip programs to save yourself valuable time, but at the same time enhancing the customer's experience. Communications that are a direct result of a customers actions or behavior will always be the best performing emails from an engagement standpoint, and increase the likelihood of a positive brand experience.
By creating content that is more timely and more relevant to the customers needs, you will build a stronger brand affinity, better relationship, and increase your overall ROI. By utilizing clicking behavior to help determine content in email, we've seen customer engagement increase by more than 300%, and the results have stayed at this level. Give it a shot, and share your stories in the comments.