Email marketers looked up from their screens and data sheets to look forward to the industries’ future at the 2017 Media Post Email Insider Summit. Industry leaders spoke on email marketing best practices and offered takes on the emergence of AI. There was also plenty of skiing, including Cheetah Digital’s big competition.
In case you missed the week of strategy on the slopes, Persado put together a SparkNotes version. Put these five email marketing best practices into your 2018 strategy for a truly happy New Year.
The Big Batch vs. Small Batch Balance
If an email marketer hasn’t had to explain to a boss that sending out a mass blast to the entire list isn’t a good idea, is s/he really an email marketer? It can be a constant debate, particularly as the holiday season approaches and brands are in a race to meet or exceed year-end goals. In the panel “Email and the Single Point of Truth,” Avery Products Senior Email Marketing Manager Carrie Knipfer offered her strategy for nixing the mass blast: “I just show the numbers,” Knipfer said. “We get the same conversions when we send to a small segmented audience as we do when we send a huge send.”
But if it’s the same or produces a quick spike in sales to meet a goal, might it be worth it?
“The hardest thing is the immediate result is always positive but you have to look at the longer term result,” said Sam Shannon, the senior manager of CRM for HP, adding that it could lead to a brand burning a critical investment: the customer relationship. Is that worth a short-term add in revenue?
Lapsed Customers Aren’t Lost Causes
Shoes of Prey CRM and Content Marketing Manager Chloe Dutschke compared the customer lifecycle to dating during a panel on re-engaging quiet consumers. First there’s some social stalking, then finally an email exchange, then some more communication and hopefully a date (or for an email marketer, purchase). But what if the customer ghosts after the first purchase? Or — worse — doesn’t make a purchase? It’s time to take a step back and figure out what the person wants. “Relevancy is the most important thing—making sure you’re still speaking their language,” said Sharon Foster, the director of CRM, consumer interactive at TransUnion. Technologies like Persado’s can help better customize messages to consumers. Other tactics panelists talked about included asking the consumer for feedback and using subject lines like “Hey! We miss you!” Persado has also found these strategies work well for clients
Content is King
Emailing consumers a deal or two a day may become annoying and cause subscriptions to plummet. And those not in the retail space may have different lifecycles with a customer. IHG Global Email Marketing Manager Slan Desmond pointed out that it’s silly to offer guests 500 points towards another stay a day after they leave the hotel. What if they want to go to another location? What if they won’t be traveling until next summer? That’s where content marketing comes in. IHG has travel blogs full of tips and wanderlust for travelers. Dutschke said Shoes of Prey sends out editorial content, such as tips on how to clean their shoes, which positions the brand as more than a shoe retailer but a shoe expert.
Machine Learning is Important
In a panel, AI and You — Decoding the Hype and Where to Start, New York Times Senior Manager of Email Marketing Kevin Kao (a Persado client) asked speakers why they thought machine learning was important. In a nod to her degree in history, Anna Bowles, the director of growth & retention at Square brought up the book Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. The book, a sequel to Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, hails AI as the next revolution. “[He writes that] it is going to be looked back on like the cognitive, agricultural and scientific revolution.” Though his view is a pessimistic one — that it will lead to the downfall of humans — Bowles doesn’t share it. “I would rather be on the forefront of something than the tail end,” she said.
And It’s Not Eliminating Marketers —It’s Making Them Better
When Kao asked the panel how machine learning is making them look better, Capital One Senior Managing Creative Director Anitra Fenderson pointed to it allows the creative team to actually be creative rather than focused on testing and data. “[I want my team] focused on innovation…and the new next thing we can do.” Bowles also pointed to the time it has saved her, adding, “If I can automate small tasks that can get to the right customer at the right time, that frees up time for me to focus on copy…or an awesome onboarding series or engagement series.”
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Bummed you missed MPEIS? eTAIL West will show retail marketing best practices without ego or commercials. We’d love for you to join us at a special rate for Persado readers.