How to create a more balanced content diet
By James Glover, president/CEO, Coherent Path
For most people, the key to a healthy and scalable diet is balance. Eating nothing but steamed broccoli and quinoa for weeks on end can be miserable, and furthermore, it's usually not very effective. Most of us need variety in our diets to stay healthy, and the essential vitamins our bodies depend on can't be found in just one or two foods.
Today's consumers have similar needs. Their preferences are constantly changing, meaning they need a bountiful variety of products that keep them interested and engaged. In fact, data derived from personalization tools and machine learning technology can clearly indicate what consumers are already buying, and most brands would agree that consumers are rarely buying the same items over and over again. Given this reality, marketers must recognize that continually forcing the same static email content down consumers' throats isn't going to work.
To stay relevant and competitive, marketers need to move away from serving up the same email campaigns time after time or relying on heavy discounting to promote products. Rather than focusing on how their brand views its catalog or which products their company is interested in promoting, marketers need to prioritize what customers are invested in and build a balanced email content "diet" for each recipient. In doing so, marketers can tailor a variety of product offerings suited to different types of customers and further segment their email strategy, delivering as many email themes as they desire (or as many as the data indicates is optimal).
Below are four best practices for creating more effective and balanced email content diets that align with consumers' unique and constantly evolving tastes and preferences:
1. Build a library
For marketers looking to expand the lifespan of every email, get more click-throughs and generate maximum revenue from every existing piece of content, it's essential to consolidate and continually maintain a content library. Load your library with tags, start dates and launch dates, as data can then be mined from this information to test, analyze and retarget content. For instance, using your content library data, you can determine the ideal products and categories to send to each customer, as well as the perfect time to send it.
2. Test, measure, adjust
>Not all customers will react the same to any given email so it's important to treat them as unique shoppers. In fact, one luxury retailer found that, on average, certain product categories only appeal to 10 percent of recipients, moderately appeal to 10 percent and mildly turn off 80 percent of email recipients. This is why test sends — testing an email on a small group of customers and adjusting accordingly, based on their engagement rates — are so important. This gives marketers insight into what's working, what needs to be fine-tuned and ensures that consumer's evolving tastes are met and that your emails don't end up in the deleted folder.
3. Optimize cadences
In order to build a successful email content strategy, marketers need to pinpoint the perfect email cadence for each customer, while also building out each product category more. Different customers have different appetites, and those appetites change over time, so it's important to continually match the frequency and timing of emails to each customer's changing tastes. Make sure your content always stands out, and high-value customers stay engaged over the long-term. For example, every customer loves special promotions, but they likely want to see them at different times. Maximize your margins by only offering promotions to each customer at the times they'll be most responsive to them, while targeting other audiences with emails aligned to their own tastes.
4. Consider re-mailing
Many marketers create an email for a given day and then throw it away after one use. However, this approach isn't always best, because it assumes every customer who didn't open an email was actively disinterested in that part of your product catalog. If an email gets a large number of click throughs from customers who did open it, a more efficient solution is simply to resend the email to the rest of your audience a few days later to see if more customers will open it. Like other assets in your business, email is a tool that should be utilized again and again, whether that means deliberately reusing it, adapting it or both.
Email marketing needs to be a customer-focused initiative in order to succeed. To drive real revenue, increase brand loyalty and boost customer engagement, leverage real customer interactions to optimize your email targeting and use existing transactional data to create more meaningful relationships with your customers. Most importantly, by continually providing more balanced email content diets to consumers, you'll be able to cross-sell existing customers, build engagement with new ones and drive impact in the categories that matter most to your brand.