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BizReport : Email Marketing : January 13, 2021


Expert: How to improve email connection with shoppers

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic many businesses pushed heavily into their email lists in an effort to connect with their shopping base. According to reports email volume increased aby about 25% in those initial weeks, and even months later many brands continue to send additional communications with their customer base. Here's how to keep those email campaigns fresh.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: At the beginning of the pandemic, many businesses had to shift to 100% digital marketing and communication efforts. What affects have you seen from this, and what are the most effective ways of doing this?

Guy Hanson, VP of Customer Engagement, Validity: We saw a massive surge in email volume at the start of the pandemic, as businesses reached out to customers with information on new safety guidelines, changes in business hours, and expressions of empathy and support. We have also seen shifts in how email subscribers consume information. To keep our customers informed, we created the State of Email webinar series, which now takes place every third week, to empower marketers with real-time data, best practices, and email program recommendations. Some of our early data found that people were 30% more likely to open a pandemic-related email, and open rates on COVID-19 messages tended to spike over the weekends. Before the pandemic, mornings had been the most effective time to send email, but as the pandemic took hold, we saw a shift to higher placement and engagement with messages sent in the afternoon. Reasons for this include more people now working from home and being on their computers helping with homeschooling.

Overall, this surge in email volume has made it more difficult to get into people's inboxes, and more difficult to get their attention once the message is there. The pressure is on marketers to improve the quality of their data, to have better list segmentation, to send more relevant messages, and to create more effective subject lines.

Kristina: When it comes to creating the most effective campaigns, what types of data should you be analyzing more closely?

Guy: It's important to look at the metrics that matter most to your business. Obviously, engagement and placement metrics are vital. This includes the number of emails that were delivered, deferred, bounced, opened, and clicked. All the better if you can view this data based on the different mailbox providers, the email subscriber's platform, and the time of day.

It's also important to keep your eye on the big picture. During the recent Validity Summit, Craig Hood, Channel Excellence Lead for Email, SMS and Mobile Wallets at AstraZeneca, shared that he avoids sending mass messages during busy time periods like Amazon Prime Day. Those kinds of extenuating circumstances can drive down open rates.

Also, if you're having problems with deliverability to a particular mailbox provider, it's helpful to be able to compare your metrics with other senders' to see if they're running into the same issues, or if the problem was caused by something on your end.

Kristina: What's ahead for email in 2021?

Guy: In the coming year, we predict companies will increasingly focus on relevance and segmentation: sending the right message at the right time to the right person. For example, food delivery services will see greater ROI (return on investment) from messages that arrive in the inbox when people are contemplating what to eat for dinner.

We also expect to see an increased use of augmented reality (AR) to provide more of an in-store shopping experience in the inbox, allowing people to virtually "try on" products. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is on our radar as well, which allows email to create a more website-like experience within the email itself. For instance, AMP can enable subscribers to complete a purchase or fill out a survey without having to leave their inbox.

As email continues to grow in popularity, fraudsters will always follow the crowd for easiest pickings. Additionally, many new subscribers have traditionally been more offline in their shopping behaviors and may be easier to fleece as a result of being less familiar with online scams.

These issues adversely affect all senders because anti-spam efforts hurt the deliverability of legitimate emails, too. To overcome this growing problem, we predict more businesses will implement certification and authentication procedures to help their messages land in the inbox and increase customer confidence.






Tags: ecommerce, email content trends, email engagement, email marketing, email trends, Validity








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