Many businesses still rely heavily on daily blast emails in their marketing campaigns—and that is a big mistake. I see it every day with clients, most of whom are reluctant to shift away from daily blast email campaigns toward a more personalized, targeted approach.
In my experience, that's because most companies believe their email marketing revenue is entirely dependent on their daily blast emails. They're used to spraying and praying, and they worry that reducing email frequency and targeting smaller audiences will undermine sales.
Our research and experience, however, show the opposite to be true: Segmentation and personalization have a dramatic positive effect on revenue.
Why You Need to Leave the Daily Blast Behind
When you target a specific segment of customers with smaller campaigns, the cumulative revenue is much greater than that of a "spray and pray" blast email campaign. And the more you cater to increasingly refined segments, the average uplift you gain from your total customer base grows—as does the average uplift from each individual customer.
Perhaps more important is that daily email blasts are notorious for chasing away customers. No matter how beloved your brand might be, no one wants to be on the receiving end of continual, impersonal communications. Customers will soon start ignoring your campaigns or opt out completely.
If your customers are accustomed to receiving daily emails, they are also less attentive to your offers: If every day brings a new one, there is no sense of urgency to act. Because there is no fear of missing out, your customers will wait for a better offer.
What You Need to Do
So, it's time to shed bad habits and graduate from the daily blast email. But how do you make the shift?
Here's how to get started.
- Isolate a single segment. Personalizing your email campaigns needs to start with one small step. Don't throw your existing campaign strategy out the window and start from scratch; instead, exclude just one segment from your blast campaign and instead target it with meaningful content, such as an exclusive offer based on their previous purchases.
- Start with new customers. Your new customers have yet to form an opinion about your campaigns, and so they are a great target group for experimentation.
Put yourself in your new customers' shoes: Imagine you've just done business with a new brand; you most likely wouldn't want to immediately receive hard-sell daily emails; instead, you might prefer a sequence that includes a thank you note and an email making sure that you're happy with your purchase. After that initial connection, you might be more open to an offer for a similar product, a sale notification matching your preferences, or information about other offerings.
- Make your content stand out by doing less. Design your content with a different look and feel from regular blasts. Use cleaner templates to reduce clutter. Your customers are bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages a day; make yours stand out by giving their eyes and minds a much-needed break.
- Measure and repeat. Allocate a control group for your new campaign. And as you repeat this campaign for new customers and new data comes in, you'll be able to assess the effect of your work.
It's important to keep in mind, however, that common metrics such as clickthrough or open rates can be misleading, in the sense that you have no real way of attributing revenue to the actual campaign. The only way to scientifically measure campaign impact is by allocating a control group for every campaign you send out.
You might also be surprised to learn that revenue you may be attributing to your blast emails can't actually be attributed to your campaigns. Don't be misled by a high open rate: You have to establish a connection between that metric and the business being conducted with you.
- Like what you see? Keep going. Other great segments to target individually are reactivated customers (who are similar to new ones), customers in risk of churn, or churned customers.
While targeting churned customers, keep in mind that you're not giving away any revenue by taking them off your daily blasts, as they've already left your brand.
- Prioritize and exclude. If you're happy with the results, you'll want to designate tailored campaigns for other segments. Using prioritization and exclusion will ensure you can do this while using your daily blasts for the rest of your customers.
Exclude the segments you're now targeting from your blast customer coverage and prioritize their personalized campaigns. This strategy will guide you toward targeting more of your customers with personalized campaigns at lower frequency, but higher profitability.
- Over time, target more of your customer base with tailored campaigns. As you repeat the above steps for more segments, the number of customers receiving your daily blast will decrease substantially. Optimally, your daily blasts will start to function as a default bucket for the parts of your marketing plan not covered by personalized campaigns.
- Rethink the purpose of your blast email campaigns. Consider other ways daily blast emails might be effective. For example, they can be redesigned for special events (back-to-school season, Valentine's Day, sale of the month, etc.) that are appropriate for your complete customer base.
If you implement this approach to personalizing your campaigns for your customer base, within weeks you'll be able to graduate from an outdated daily blast email strategy into an intelligent segmentation strategy that will result in a measurable increase in revenues.