Solving the unique requirements of promotional email
Promotional email is the most frequent touch channel for retailers which makes it the 'workhorse' of re-engagement, but this also creates unique requirements
While promotional email works as a powerful activation tool, there are challenges that need to be addressed or its effectiveness declines over time. These challenges include:
- An over-reliance on discounting which trains customers to wait
- Displaying stale content
- Subject lines repetitive with the content in the body (teaching that there is no need to open)
- A daily grind for marketers to produce fresh content for campaigns
Marketers struggle to generate fresh content at the same pace at which they send emails. As this happens, content becomes generic or repetitive, subscribers tune-out, and open and click-through rates decline. In the world of ever-smarter spam filters, low engagement leads to promotional email getting filtered out of a customer's inbox altogether.
When a customer allows you to send them emails, it's a privilege, with a short window for you to teach them that your emails are worth the click.
What kind of experiences engage customers?
Promotional email works for activation because it is a channel where a marketer can touch a customer frequently. Most retailers send between 12 and 20 promotional emails per month per user and some retailers will send 30+ per month.
High-frequency works to re-engage, but it also brings challenges that need to be addressed for a program to be sustainable.
Research shows that over time customers respond well to experiences with these characteristics:
Personalization - Customers expect content that matches their tastes and preferences, no matter how obscure or 'long-tail'. They should see items related to their interests, but over-persistence will turn them off and in recurring promotional emails, this is a real problem. If a customer has seen an item several times, and not acted, it is likely they are not interested and further displays annoy them.
Freshness & Adaptation - Customers want something new and delightful when they open an email. If they keep seeing the same or similar content (graphics, product, messages), they'll stop opening.
Diversity - Customers prefer to see content that span categories and brands. They want help discovering what else is out there. A retailer's catalog has all the content needed to deliver diversity. The key is to find a way to select what to show for each customer in a way that delights them.
Serendipity & Delight - Users want content that is personalized to them, but they also want to be surprised and delighted. Customers may be frequent buyers of a category, but that does not mean they only want recommendations from that category. There's a need to explore and discover what else might be of interest to them. If you discover a customer's interests and offer them intriguing new items, they will be delighted.
How to solve for these unique requirements?
It's about more than 'accurate' recommendations
The frequent touch of promotional email requires more than accurate product recommendations to succeed. While a certain recommendation based on click stream activity may accurately reflect a user's most recent interest, this recommendation alone doesn't meet the requirements to be effective 20X per month. If a recommendation in promotional emails doesn't change, or simply shifts to similar products in the same category, it becomes repetitive and customer will tune-out.
The catalog is your best source for fresh content
Retailers work nonstop to add new products and this content can be used to curate unique experiences that keep customers interested. However, it's impractical to select items from a catalog and personalize them for every email sent to every user. This 'hand-picked' approach simply does not scale.
This is where Jetlore offers a solution. Upper funnel customer experiences are a continuous and adaptive process with a number of repeating steps.
- Offering a real-time, context-aware prediction of what content interests a customer and delivering into an email.
- Collecting data on a customer's behavior including passive interactions when users ignore what they see
- Incorporate general site-wide product performance data.
- The process begins again with every promotional email you send.
Upper funnel adaptive experiences leverage a retailer's catalog to provide fresh, personalized content that will delight customers every time they open a promotional email. This kind of iterative style invigorates people who have 'tuned-out' repetitive messages and generates a steady baseline of higher-margin purchases.