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December 9, 2011, 4:25 am UTC
Email marketing has been through a transition over the last five years, adapting to the arrival of social media and maturing to be a key channel for marketers. While many more organizations are embracing social media marketing, email still remains one of the most effective tools for e-commerce and subscriber engagement. However, in today’s increasingly growing networked economy, improving customer relationships requires that you interact with them via multiple customer-facing channels.
Email Marketing is an important part of online marketing mix. Search engine marketing, digital display advertisements and social media are the digital media channels of choice for many marketers. Email marketing is popular because it is viewed as a low cost, high impact, one-to-one communication. However the performance of every email campaign can vary based on the design of the email, the time of delivery, the frequency of emails and the quality of the email list.
Today it’s a little more complex, the subscribers to your email program are not likely to be engaged with your business via a single channel. It’s possible that segments of your subscribers are also members of your brand’s social community: they may have “liked” your brand on Facebook and could be following you on Twitter. To measure true engagement at the subscriber level, one must aggregate data from multiple sources.
The customers are being more cautious and selective with their spending dollars and they are significantly less loyal to any one brand or company. Customers have expectations that you will treat them uniquely and engage with them in ways that give them more control over the dialogue. When it comes to their online marketing strategies, companies must increasingly rely on interactive marketing solutions to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
Following are seven trends for helping maximize email marketing success by Marianne Cellucci Senior Online Marketing Analyst, Net Atlantic.
1. Engagement: Raise the Email Marketing Bar
A company that treats all customers and prospects the same speaks to everybody, and thus nobody, rather than using a “one size fits all” approach, identify the most likely targets for a product or service. Use email to get to know customers better, and then serve them more relevant content.
2. Content is Key: Make It Matter
Increase engagement through relevant targeted marketing communications driven directly by user behaviour, profile or demographics — in real-time. Automating your emails is a great way to increase the success of your email marketing program, improve customer service and strengthen relationships
3. Customers Expect More: Motivate Them
Track customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction directly by surveying your customers. Ask them what they expect from you, what features of your product or service they most enjoy, what they think about your customer service, and what you could improve. Consider adding additional questions to gauge repurchase intention and the respondents’ willingness or likelihood to recommend your brand to others.
4. Right Frequency: Automate Your Strategy
We can’t tell you when and how often to send messages to your customers or subscribers — there is no universal “best” time or day to send email. However, we can tell you that if you capture the right data, you won’t need one. The timing of your email is dependent on the action of the customer or subscriber. Subscribers that are reading your emails, clicking on the links to gather additional information, and converting are the customers and subscribers you can send emails more frequently, but only if the emails contain relevant information that is anticipated and/or will be viewed favourably by the recipients.
5. Social Media: Drive the Conversation
Email marketing is complementary to social media and, in today’s multichannel environment, you can raise awareness of your brand and extend the reach of your online and email marketing efforts by incorporating social media into your overall marketing plan. Social media integration provides a way for your customers to share your email marketing content by posting it on the most popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
6. Influence Matters: Target the Powerful
Companies large and small have customers who absolutely love their products or services. Identify key brand advocates within your database, connect with them one-on-one, and motivate them to spread your messages, share your offers, and recommend your brand via their social networks (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and email. They are the same people who recommend your brand to their friends and family, and contribute to good ratings by posting positive reviews about your product/service. Get them to share it, in real time, with a broader audience of like-minded individuals.
7. Marketing Is Mobile: Be Accessible
Embrace the mobile channel and include it in your overall marketing strategy. You can reach your subscribers on whatever days, and at whichever times they are most likely to respond and, once they’ve opted into your marketing program and are in your database, they can be segmented by demographic data, mobile platform, and activities and behaviour such as favourite bands, events attended, and retail choices.
As customer communication evolves beyond email to include blogs, microblogs, social, SMS and mobile, you must integrate email with multiple customer-facing channels to increase engagement levels. Simply put, a single channel approach to customer engagement is not as effective as multichannel engagement. Meeting customer and subscriber expectations will be the key to maintaining long-term customer relationships and loyalty.
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