The following is a guest blog post by Kara Trivunovic, Sr. Dir of Strategic Services at StrongMail (a leader in email marketing). StrongMail utilizes Rapleaf data to allow their customers (Travelocity, Zappos, IHG, and more) to leverage email marketing with data insight to personalize and build meaningful customer connections.
Right-time email marketing is one of the hottest new trends in the email marketing world right now. And for a good reason. It’s an extremely effective way to get customers to engage with your brand. Right-time email marketing is all about getting the right message to the right person at the right time. A simple “welcome” email after a customer registers online is a classic example. Most companies automatically will send an email right after a registration, because that’s when a customer is most likely to keep interacting with the brand. But there are lots of other ways to engage customers at the “right time”:
- Offers accompanying a reservation/order confirmation
- Birthday messages
- Thank-you’s on monthly/quarterly/annual anniversaries of registration
- Responses/solutions to complaints
- Dozens of industry-specific scenarios, like this one from StrongMail customer Travelocity: when a particular price drops, every customer that has looked at that product in the past 24 hours is notified about the change.
Right-time email marketing works. In general, right-time emails have a 200-300% higher response rate than batch emails. Right-time emails are usually automated responses (or “triggered emails”), meaning they don’t use up a lot of staff time once the programs are in place. In fact, InterContinential Hotels Group found that they were able to reduce stafftime 75 percent and save millions in email delivery costs when they started using right-time emails – all while watching email-generated revenue increase 16 percent. Travelocity generates click-through rates for its Low Fare Alerts that are 300 percent higher than their average outbound programs. Customer Service extraordinaire, Zappos, sees conversion rates for its cart abandonment emails that are 5X higher than any other promotional program.
How do you get started with Right-time email marketing? We suggest taking these five basic steps:
- Identify the data you have available to you. Which of your email marketing programs have had the most success? Which emails have had the best and worst click-through rates? What have your customers indicated that they would like from you? When are they most responsive to an email?
- Audit the data to make sure it’s accurate and up-to-date. You may need to do some marketing research, or use a third party like Rapleaf, to generate new data that will help you design a right-time email marketing program.
- Centralize your findings. More than one department may be involved in an email marketing program, but the overall vision (and justification) has to come from one source.
- Validate the plan. Make sure everyone involved in the program understands what’s going to happen and why.
- Integrate the plan with other marketing efforts. Right-time email is effective, but it should never be the sole focus of an email marketing strategy.
To learn more about email marketing, check out StrongMail’s white paper on The Right-Time Email Marketing Playbook.