Experiential or Promotional: How the Majority of Brands Misuse Email Marketing

Experiential or Promotional: How the Majority of Brands Misuse Email Marketing

Why do people travel to Paris rather than simply seeing the Eiffel Tower in photographs? Why were (and continue to be) so many people eager to attend live events such as sporting events and concerts during the COVID restrictions? It’s a matter of experience.

While we may not be able to fully explain it, there is something unique about attending a basketball game in person versus watching it on television. The distinction between engaging all five senses and simply watching something on a screen is enormous.

Marketing operates on a similar principle.

If you can create a relevant experience that is tailored to each customer, you can develop a relationship with them and tap into something that promotional campaigns simply cannot.

The Wrong Perspective

Retailers frequently view email marketing as just another method of advertising their products. While email marketing is an effective method of informing customers about your products and services, this should not be the primary reason for sending them emails.

Each customer should have a unique experience with email. You want to entertain and engage them so that they will return for (and spend) additional money. Similarly to how people recall concerns for years, you want customers to associate your brand and the email experience with excitement and positive emotions.

However, experiences must be tailored to the specific needs of each customer. Otherwise, you will be unable to provide them with content that is both relevant and engaging.

Consider buying everyone the same present for Christmas: say, a medium-sized men’s T-shirt. It may be the ideal gift for some people. However, for the vast majority of people, this would be the incorrect gift (they would dislike it) or the incorrect size.

If you continued to do the same thing every Christmas, your family and friends would develop “gift fatigue,” and you might be excluded from holiday gatherings.

Consider this situation as if it were your email marketing strategy. If you send the same email to all of your customers, it may work for some people on your list. However, for the majority, it would be irrelevant or a poor fit.

Your email messaging must go beyond “here’s a product, you should buy it” or “here’s a product on SALE, you should buy it.” It must engage customers on a personal, one-to-one basis, utilizing the information they provide to deliver an optimal experience each time they open your emails.

Otherwise, your emails will become undeliverable, and you will miss out on valuable opportunities to communicate with your customers about something relevant and interesting. Maintaining deliverability and keeping customers on your email list has a lot of value.

That is not an effective strategy for customer retention, is it?

Beyond that, email strategies can either increase or decrease the lifetime value of your customers. They can either focus on long-term value (by being relevant and timely, encouraging customers to shop across more categories, and decreasing their reliance on sales to purchase) OR on immediate value (by sending numerous coupons/discounts, eroding their own margins, and training customers to only shop during sales).

Which would you rather have?

The Personal Shopper Model

A fantastic way to retain and grow customers is to treat each one as if they were assigned a personal shopper.

Consider each customer to be the ideal version of themselves. Market to shoppers both where you want them to be and where they are. Reinforce the categories in which your customer already has an affinity, while also assisting them in discovering new products that may resonate.

Our clients have discovered that providing a personalized “balanced diet” of content results in improved customer experiences and “healthier” customers who spend more and remain on the email list longer.

This begins with determining the true value of each creative asset in order to determine its effectiveness across diverse audiences.

This graph illustrates the effectiveness of a single creative asset across multiple audiences (1.0 is average performance). We use a proprietary model to forecast the increase in a customer’s spending that will occur as a result of receiving this creative asset.

In this case, the creative asset being evaluated would have the greatest effectiveness among shoppers who have previously purchased in the “Infants” section.

By sending the most relevant content possible to customers, you can deliver the best experiences and increase sales, all while maximizing the LTV of each subscriber on your list.

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