Activation Campaigns: Using Email Behavioral Data to Engage and Reactivate Your Customers

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  1. 1. Whats Inside? This paper addresses why activation programs are important and how a marketer should approach developing them. Specific topics include: Industry trends that uncover an increasing need for activation programs Goals and components of a successful email activation program Types of activation campaigns top brands are creating to wake up their sleeping subscribers Performance metrics for activation campaigns and how they stack up against base communications1Activate & Engage2Types of CampaignsActivation Programs: Using Email Behavioral Data to Engage and Reactivate your Customers Most marketers are well aware that using consumer behavioral data to create personalized marketing programs will net a significant increase in marketing ROI. But you may be surprised by just how much more effective these programs are - according to MarketingSherpa, targeted content is outperforming status quo messaging by 200% to 300% on both engagement and conversion metrics.1 In the field of email marketing, activation programs, in particular, have become a critical vehicle to drive engagement and revenue for top-performing marketing teams. The beauty of activation campaigns is that they empower marketers to be proactive, instead of sitting idly by as their customers drift away. Savvy marketers who implement activation programs can welcome recurring revenue and engagement from customers that might have otherwise become inactive (or from customers who are about to become inactive). Activation campaigns can also help identify the truly lapsed customers, so you can weed-out the zombies that hurt your email deliverability. The less engaged subscribers are with your emails, the lower your sending reputation and the higher the likelihood of deliverability issues. This is why more and more brands are implementing activation campaigns as part of a profitable email marketing strategy.3Using the Data1.877.937.6245 | | www.yesmail.compg. 2
  2. 2. Industry Trends90% of media interactions are screen-basedIt is a fascinating time to be an interactive marketer. Change continues to accelerate and consumers are adopting new technologies at a mind-blowing rate. A recent study from Google indicates that 90% of all media interactions today are screen-based.2 And because of the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, consumer attention is often split between multiple screens. Yesmails Email Marketing Compass report affirmed this finding by establishing that, on average, 30% of consumers view emails in a combination of mobile and desktop devices instead of exhibiting a consistent preference of one over the other.3 This trend has changed the way consumers interact with brands. It has changed their expectations about how they want to be reached, as well as how they research and buy products. For the interactive marketer, new channels and the variety of screens provide access to more information about customers than ever before. Consumer behavioral data is more readily available - marketers can access transactional and point-of-sale (POS) data, engagement behavior data like site visits and social activity, email behavior data like opens and clicks, as well as multiscreen behavioral data on the web, mobile, social, and email. Knowing your customers and how active they are, is a critical component of creating informed activation programs that cater to the composition of your unique database.1.877.937.6245 | | www.yesmail.compg. 3
  3. 3. Industry Trends 20%Engaged by marketers40%60%A recent report from Chief Marketer estimates that marketers engage with less than 20% of their overall database.4 Consequently, it comes as no surprise, that the average active subscriber rate across all industries is 7.4%, as per Yesmails Q2 Email Marketing Compass report.3 Marketers know they get the most value by identifying and targeting their highly engaged segments, but that doesnt mean they cant influence and bring back those customers who have become inactive (or the new subscribers who havent yet purchased). This is where activation campaigns can really impact a brands email programs and bottom line. Advances in technology are making it far easier for marketers to understand email behavioral data and build activation campaigns. Several of the top ESPs (email service providers) now have tools that help marketers continually analyze and segment subscribers, automate lifecycle marketing, and enable targeting based on activity level and customer tenure. As technology improvements continue to lessen the manpower needed to analyze email behavioral data and segment users, well begin to see more brands harness the power of activation programs.80%100%1.877.937.6245 | | www.yesmail.compg. 4
  4. 4. ers rib40InactiveUpThere is no benefit to wearing rose-colored glasses when it comes to understanding your database. You might find the number of inactive subscribers on your list to be frightening, but you are not alone. Depending on your industry, even an 80% inactive population is not unheard of. Before developing your activation strategy, you need to accept some of the bad news before developing a solution to the problem.%Active Su bs cThe Inconvenient Truth about Your Audienceto 7 The average retailer has 40-70% inactive subscribers (not opened/clicked in over 6/8/12 months). Confirming this stat, Yesmails Q2 benchmark report determined that almost 90% of the retail industrys mailable subscribers have not been active within 3 months.3 The first 90 days after you get a new subscriber are absolutely critical. If they are new to your list and they arent responding you need to immediately react because response and activity will drop over time. The number of inactive subscribers in your list will grow. As subscribers get used to hearing from you, their engagement will typically decrease over time. 0%1.877.937.6245 |When you consistently mail to an inactive population it brings down your overall performance, conversion, AND deliverability rates (for more information on deliverability, download Yesmails deliverability whitepaper, 10 Email Deliverability Myths Debunked).5The good news is that activation campaigns can and do drive customers to the next level of | www.yesmail.compg. 5
  5. 5. Reasons Subscribers Become InactiveIrrelevant contentThere are many reasons customers become inactive. As a marketer, you have control over some while othersnot so much. Why do customers become inactive? 1.They dont need or want the product/service at this time Are they not buying because they are not interested in the product or because they are not ready to buy at this time (seasonal purchase behavior)? You can get a sense of their need by looking through behavioral and past purchase data. 2.Your content is irrelevant Research shared by Social Barrel and Skadeedle indicates that 25% of recipients find content irrelevant.6Too many messagesToo busy 3.You send too many messages At a certain point, the customer gets so used to getting stuff from you that they begin ignoring your messages. Anyone with an email account has opened it in the morning to find it overflowing with messages. Inboxes are flooded and sometimes subscribers just get overwhelmed and tune out. According to research shared by Social Barrel and Skadeedle, 47% of consumers say they receive too many emails.6 4.They are too busy Whether it is because Bobby is home from school with the flu, they have a deadline at work, or they dont want to miss the finale of Game of Thrones, sometimes consumers are too busy to bother with your emails. Once they get used to ignoring your emails, engagement can drop off. 5.They dont see it Your messages may be getting caught in the junk folder due to deliverability issues. Also, email providers like Gmail have instituted separate folders for promotions that might not be viewed as often as the main inbox.Multiple mailboxes1.877.937.6245 | 6.They have multiple email accounts Whether it is because the customer got a new account and didnt close the old one, or because they have separate emails for work and personal, or they have a separate account for only marketing messages, most consumers have multiple accounts. In fact, 43% of voters in a Lifehacker poll said that they deal with 4-6 | www.yesmail.compg. 6
  6. 6. An Introduction to Activation ProgramsGoals and Strategies of Activation ProgramsMost marketers track opens and clicks, but too few of us are digging deep enough and using behavioral data to segment our customer base and create behavior-based email campaigns. According to the 2013 Marketing Sherpa email benchmark survey, only 37% of all surveyed marketers are segmenting email campaigns based on behavior to improve email relevance and engagement.8 And when you look at those marketers who ARE personalizing content, 55% are segmenting based on email engagement behavior and 53% do so based on purchase history.1. Drive customers to the next level of engagement (for example, drive to first or repeat purchase) 2. Bring back customers who are inactive (it is much more expensive to gain new customers than it is to re-engage existing, right?) 3. Help with list management (track segments and develop optimal content and contact strategies; like knowing when to remove inactive subscribers to protect deliverability)Inactive SubscribersActiveOpeners & ClickersActivation campaigns are unique in that they are specifically tailored to where your subscribers are interacting with your email and whether they are converting (typically to purchase) or not. If you can track email behavioral data to understand subscribers Are they opening? Clicking? Buying? What products are they buying? Which devices are they using? When did they become inactive and why? you