With 83% of retail marketers reporting email marketing’s ROI as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ (2016 Email Industry Census – Key Sector Report), it’s important to periodically check how your peers achieve success with this channel. As you analyse email campaigns on a regular basis, benchmark your results and draw inspiration from industry case studies and real-world examples to improve results going forward.

Most digital marketers already know the importance of understanding typical customer lifecycle stages, but have you mapped key email campaigns against them? Using a mix of automation, segmentation and personalisation across welcome programmes, nurturing and loyalty campaigns can significantly boost the performance. Highlighting some examples within each lifecycle stage from leading retailers helps bring that to life.

Make new subscribers and clients feel welcome with targeted messaging

Frugl specialises in organic clothing for newborns, children up to 10 and maternity wear. They are extremely passionate about their products and brand, and wanted to inspire the same emotions in their new subscribers and customers. With tailored messaging, precise timing and a good use of incentives, their welcome and nurture program had fantastic engagement and conversion rates alike. Some of their results include a £71 average order value from the first campaign and a 21% click-to-sale rate for repeat purchasers. The program succeeds in nudging additional orders with small tweaks to the copy and creative, thus maximising returns with little effort.

Nurture subscribers by sending more than just a sales message

Marketers usually include a mix of content and promotional messages in their emails. A 40% - 60% split appears about right, but test it with your audience over a defined period of time and then look at engagement rates to identify the perfect ratio.

Whatever the ideal split is for a brand, the tactic that will really impact results, in the end, is personalisation. Going beyond ‘Dear Anca’ and really tailoring the content of an email using buyer behaviour and activity will get subscribers’ attention. That’s what marketing agency Infinity Nation helped their client Meteor create - a hyper-personalised email with nine points of personalisation from name to number of transactions and time since they’ve become a customer. It helped them win Campaign of the Year 2016, improved open rates by 117% and brought an average revenue of £106 per customer. 

Encourage conversions with the right offer for each customer

A simple ‘thank you for your order’ email is part of building a relationship with customers. Add a promo code and it becomes a strong incentive for the new customers to purchase again. But when that promo code is unique to each customer, it makes it a lot easier to track their behaviour and lifetime value, while also decreasing the chances that your code will get shared all over the internet.

And when you know each code is unique and unlikely to go viral, you can afford to be more generous with your offers. Evans Cycles included it in their post-purchase campaign with great success. With a 19% click-through rate and an estimated £27K worth of additional revenue per year, this tactic is one you’ll want to adopt straight away!

Serious Sport took a slightly different direction with their product recommendations email. They didn’t include a code, but instead offered complementary products to the original purchase complete with the customer’s team logo and name. The campaign has a filter that runs in the background to check the recommended products haven’t been purchased since the original order and is populated dynamically via XML and API so every single campaign is different depending on who opens it. This campaign has a 146% higher open rate than regular emails and generates an average order value of £55.

To inspire loyalty, you need to show you care

Today’s customers have high expectations of brands: they want them to behave ethically, be responsible about the environment, handle data carefully and ultimately prove their worth for a share of wallet. That can’t be achieved unless marketers really put the effort to prove they care. Luckily, technology can help with doing that at scale – specifically automation and dynamic personalisation.

In a stellar example from Naked Wines, the brand created their email campaigns under the motto that ‘life is too short to drink a wine that’s not for you’. By combining a wealth of data such as account balance, basket content, number of wines rated and customer profile data, they created an email campaign that can recommend up to five wines with a certain percentage certainty (over 90%). The product details, price and savings are all calculated in the code so each email is truly unique to the person that opens it (unless, of course, they have very similar taste in wine!). This campaign resulted in a remarkable 40% conversion rate.

It’s ok to say goodbye sometimes

For a great example of how to give inactive contacts one last nudge before saying goodbye, look no further than Crabtree & Evelyn. Their re-engagement campaign ticks all the content advice boxes: short, designed to stand out and clear to the receiver as to what is expected of them. Result? They won back over 1,000 contacts the first time they ran it.

Whatever stage of the lifecycle your customers are, mapping email campaigns and personalised messages along their path will help you stand out in their inbox. By showing that you care about the quality of the messages you send, they will learn that your messages are targeted to their needs so they will open and engage more often now and in the long term.


By Anca Staples, content executive at Adestra

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