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Email

23% more emails sent on Black Friday 2021

23% more emails were sent by ActiveCampaign’s 150,000 customers on Black Friday this year compared to 2020.

Key findings for analysis of it’s own data found:-

  • Friday was the biggest day for emails to be sent with 486m sent in 2021. That’s up 23% on last year’s figures of 393m
  • Brands increased their daily email sends leading up to Friday
  • Customers placed the most orders on Friday with over 290,000 orders placed on that day alone
  • Customers also abandoned more carts from last year. With abandoned carts in 2020 containing over $10 million in revenue compared with over $16 million in 2021.
  • Friday was also the day that saw the greatest abandoned cart efficacy by revenue. ActiveCampaign customers were able to recover 16% of abandoned cart revenue on Friday alone in 2021. This is up from just 7% in 2020 and 4% in 2019.

While Friday is still the biggest day of the week for ecommerce, there is a huge missed opportunity for ecommerce brands to continue the momentum on Saturday.

Friday to Saturday saw a big decrease (-85%) in email sends. Brands sent just 262,000 emails on Saturday, 85% less than they sent on Friday.

Customers left $76.4M in revenue in abandoned carts in 2021, but ActiveCampaign customers were able to recover $10.4M, 14% of that revenue. This is double the % of Abandoned Rev that was recovered 2021 v. 2020, and that’s up from just $1.2M recovered revenue in 2019.

The data is based on the email sends of 150k ActiveCampaign users and on the ecommerce integrations that their customers used during the week of Black Friday (Sunday through Saturday).

Email Marketing

Top tips for better email marketing

By Adam Oldfield, CEO at Force24

Email marketing has been around for a quarter of a century – and it shows no signs of slowing down. Not only does it provide a powerful way for marketers to tell recipients about promotions, brand messages and news – it’s a versatile, low-cost, and efficient tool helping marketers to deliver hyper-personalised comms that are measurable and create positive ROI.

This can certainly be the case if an industry professional chooses to use an integrated email marketing platform that supports their brand in customer engagement.

Of course, the next email campaign will go somewhere as soon as the organisation clicks ‘send’ – but how do marketers know if they’re sending the right message to the right person, at the right time? Plus, modern-day marketers are today battling with privacy and data protection pressures which have come to the fore following the introduction of GDPR so the vital nature of ensuring every piece of comms is compliant has never been more important.

What that also means is that there’s an even greater expectation for brands to only send hyper-personalised content to individuals who have consented to receiving it. With that, the power is ultimately with the recipient and – with data protection regulations and the ability to hit ‘unsubscribe’ at any given time at their fingertips – they truly have the sender right where they want them.

However, marketers are also in a powerful position if they couple email content with an intuitive marketing automation platform because it’s soon to become their most cost-effective, efficient marketing channel. When brands plug in automation too, it can help to understand the audience on a more granular level – resulting in professionals sending relevant digital comms as a result.

So, what are the benefits of email marketing platforms, and what should marketers be looking for when they’re ready to buy a savvy tool that could help transform their customer conversations and empower email deliverability?

  1. Liberating email marketing

As an email marketing tool, it’ll be able to take on the mundane and time-consuming everyday tasks that industry professionals end up putting to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list – such as retrieving data from each campaign which, when manually carried out, can take several hours to collate, and something that won’t ever be entirely complete.

With marketing automation, brands can disconnect from the wheels of the marketing machine as it’s able to manage those routine jobs. And the result? Organisations can spend more time focusing on strategy, creativity, and customer conversations and continue to ensure their brand is engaging the right people, at the right time.

2. Email marketing platform integration for multi-channel journeys

For comms to work in harmony and drive real results, companies need an email marketing platform that can segment audiences and talk to multiple groups of recipients at the same time – all from one email build.

A savvy email marketing platform enables teams to create hyper-relevant landing pages, microsites, newsletters and email journeys – in minutes. And if a marketer is saving hours each week thanks to automation, just think how much time they can spend creating their next campaign!

3. Measuring the metrics that matter

What is being monitored to discover whether the latest email campaign was a success or failure? Are brands analysing what improvements they could make? If they’re only looking at email open and click through rates, it’s vital that marketers delve even deeper into the data because these ‘vanity metrics’ don’t tell the full story as to howengaged a recipient was.

For example, a reader could’ve accidentally clicked on an email and discarded it seconds later. And unfortunately, not only are they not interested in what that piece of content has to say, but the organisation itself is getting skewed data as a result.

However, any savvy marketer will know that they shouldn’t ignore them altogether – it’s just a case of not relying on them as the only form of measurement. Instead, using an email marketing automation platform can monitor each campaign alongside what the lead scoring data is telling marketers about every individual’s interaction in their brand, and where they are in the buying funnel.

And, if marketing departments are  unsure as to what lead scoring is, imagine numbers above each recipients’ head based on how engaged they are in the organisation. The higher the figure, the more these individuals should be targeted with hyper-relevant content they want to consume.

4. Unlocking personalisation using email marketing platforms

And speaking about ultra-individualised digital comms, if brands are sending the right content to the right person, at the right time, email campaigns will be far superior to those of a manual send. That’s because customers are being targeted with the type of material they’re interested in, and it goes a long way towards showing that they’re the onlyperson in the room that a company is talking to (even when the businesses is speaking to multiple recipients).

Consumers no longer want bland, irrelevant ‘batch and blast’ emails because the overall message will be loosely received by all. An audience needs to be segmented into specific groups so they can receive tailored sends that show the brand understands their of-the-moment interests.

Plus, when marketers plug in an email marketing platform, they can help to guide audiences through their customer journey and support conversion thanks to their hyper-relevance.

Email Marketing

5 insights into email marketing from 2020

By Michael Trapani, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Acoustic

Benchmarking an unexpected year, like 2020, can be a significant challenge. With so many factors affecting your company’s performance, how do you go about it? Comparing your performance in 2020 to 2019 (or any other year) will hardly account for the outsized influence a global pandemic had on your business, and the market as a whole.

Our newly released email marketing benchmark report, though, showcases the influence that the pandemic has had on email marketing based on data from thousands of marketing teams.

This benchmark is an indicator for your performance through an unprecedented year and a source of insight into consumers’ responses to the pandemic, current events, and how email marketing prevailed. These metrics uncover five primary insights:

  1. Pandemic lockdowns drove a huge increase in email engagement by consumers.
  2. It wasn’t just the pandemic — other global events impacted performance of email engagement.
  3. Email has further established itself as consumers’ preferred channel of engagement.
  4. COVID-19 messaging grew tiring and drove unsubscribes.
  5. Key industries were affected in different ways as a result of the pandemic and current events.

Let’s take a closer look.

  1. Pandemic Lockdowns Caused a Spike in Engagement

In March and April of 2020, the world entered the first wave of pandemic lockdowns and most of the in-person economy paused. However, while in-person shopping came to a halt, digital soared, leading to a surge in engagement with email marketing. Email marketing open rates increased 31% from January 2020 to April 2020.

While consumers sat at home, they opened more brand emails. Constantly online, the spring of 2020 was the perfect environment for email engagement. With higher open rates, click rates rose too: from January to April 2020, click rates increased 28.6%.  

2. Email Open Rates Coincided with Current Events

The pandemic wasn’t the only event that impacted email marketing performance. Natural disasters coincided with increased email engagement in the energy and environment industry. Unfortunately, the second half of 2020 saw a historic number of hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts. The industry was a clear outlier in the second half of the year, with multiple months exceeding a 40% open rate as a result — well above other industries measured.

The political arena of 2020 also had an impact on email marketing performance. Government-related emails saw a large uptick in November, coinciding with the U.S. presidential election. Open rates continued its upward trajectory for the industry through December, too, after the election was called.

3. In the “New Normal,” Email is Preferred

Email has always been a popular channel, but in the “new normal,” consumers are favoring this channel more than prior to the pandemic. Across the board, open rates increased since the pandemic’s start. While engagement peaked while we were in lockdown in the spring of 2020, engagement rates, overall, increased during the “new normal.”

In fact, every region measured had a higher click-to-open rate in the second half of the year. Europe saw the highest click-to-open rate in H2 of 2020, with an average of 14.8%.

Globally, consumers are more likely to engage with emails. This signifies a growing affinity for email communications as well as brands getting better at targeting the right consumers with each email.

4. COVID-Messaging Grew Tiresome Quickly, Driving Unsubscribes

While engagement was up, so was the unsubscribe rate. Other than India and Asia Pacific, every region had a higher unsubscribe rate in the second half of the year compared to the first. Overall, unsubscribe rates were 34.4% higher by year’s end, globally.

This could be a result of the COVID-19 messaging sent en masse to “unclean” lists. It was common practice for CEOs and brands to send pandemic-related updates to their entire list about the state of their business, like processes installed that kept employees and customers safe. This likely alerted many customers that brands they no longer shop with nor have affinity toward had their contact information, prompting them to unsubscribe.

5. Industry Highs and Lows Throughout 2020

Not all industries were equally prepared for the rapid digital transformation that took place: some industries thrived in a lockdown environment while others suffered. Unsurprisingly, hospitals and healthcare enjoyed high engagement throughout the entirety of H2, ranging between about 30 to 35% open rates. Because consumers were anxious for COVID-19 updates, they were more likely to interact with related content.

Two industries hit especially hard by the pandemic were travel and retail. Travel, for the most part, came to a halt for much of the year and the pandemic’s impact on the retail industry has been well-documented as dozens of retail hallmarks went out of business. This performance is reflected in their email marketing, as well. Travel and retail were two industries with consistently low open rates and low CTORs compared to other industries, rarely eclipsing 15% for open rates and hovering around 10% for CTOR.  

Getting Back to Basics with Email

While 2020 saw unexpected global changes, the “new normal” demonstrates that email marketing is a reliable tool with staying power. Comparing your performance from before and after the pandemic can signify how your brand is performing in the “new normal” as well as how you stack up in your market. Overall, global open rates increased in the latter half of the year by 6.5%. If you trend under the industry average, you can implement strategies to improve your email engagement, such as more advanced targeting to understand what content your audiences interact with more.

Despite many new marketing technologies and opportunities seeming to emerge daily, email is still growing. Make sure your email marketing strategies can keep pace. 

If you’d like to review the results of the full Acoustic report, download it here.

Don’t trick your customers this Halloween, treat them with spooktastic content

By Katharine Biggs, Content and Marketing Manager at parcelLab

When I read that notonthehighstreet.com searches for Halloween are up 889% and already features in its top five search terms, I had to stop and think for a second: it’s still only just September, right? And we’re talking about 2020 – the year when Covid-19 turned the retail world upside down and left many bricks and mortar stores with no other option but to shut their doors for good. And then of course there is the long-term economic impact which last month saw the UK declared officially in a recession for the first time in 11 years. 

As summer draws to a close, I’m sure many of us find ourselves in this position every year, asking ‘Where has this year gone?’ But this has been a year like no other and now we find ourselves with 79* days left until Black Friday and 107* days left until Christmas for brands and retailers to navigate what the “new normal” will look like, adapt and prepare for what is traditionally the ‘peakiest’ season in the retail calendar. 

But Halloween is usually a slightly different story. Generally, this high level of searching and buying activity isn’t expected until October but still with 52* days to go until Halloween, it seems that consumers are already planning out their frightful activities. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise; for three-months, families were confined to their homes and staying in has become the new going out. So if you can’t go out trick-or-treating under social distancing rules, what better way for families to celebrate than in their own haunted house? 

According to Leanne Osbourne, Commercial Director at notonthehighstreet: “Customer searches for Halloween products such as unique food and drink, partyware, decorations, games & activities and clothing/accessories traditionally increase around mid-September, but this year searches began in early August as customers are planning further ahead for special occasions and celebrating key dates in the diary with loved ones at home.”

Yet the almost 900% increase that notonthehighstreet has reported wouldn’t usually be expected until the week before Halloween itself. 

Where are shoppers turning for inspiration? The digital screen in their home or pocket, of course. Great news for ecommerce, multi- and omni-channel retailers! Well, yes. But only if you are making the most of this opportunity by maximising value for your customers, and that includes after they have checked out. The post-purchase phase of the customer journey, where customers are tracking their delivery via email and text updates, is a prime time to put all your Halloween marketing efforts to good use. 

With open rates as high as 75% – significantly higher than the standard marketing emails that brands and retailers might put out – these email updates are a great opportunity to engage your customer and offer them something of value – which, in the spirit of Halloween, could be anything from how-to video tutorials, decoration inspiration, candy treats or ghoulish recipe ideas and other themed content that shows you, as a brand or retailer, care about your customer beyond the sale. That’s the foundation of long-term brand loyalty right there. As well as letting them know how, when and who will be delivering their items, it’s an opportunity to up- and cross-sell complementary products that will add to their Halloween festivities and ensure that they don’t go looking elsewhere for it. 

It’s all about communication. Create an open dialogue through this channel with your customers and give them an exceptional customer experience. Show them that you’ve got this covered and they’ll be coming back for more, well after the fake cobwebs have been dusted from the party – in prime time for the peak season to come. 

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

The best times to send a marketing email? 10am & 1pm

The best times to send a marketing email are around 10am, shortly after people arrive at work and have their morning coffee, and 1pm, when people are catching up on emails after lunch.

That’s according to the latest quarterly report from GetResponse, which analyzed around 4 billion emails sent by its customers from January to June 2019, in 126 countries across 19 industries.

Similar to its previous reports, it has seen an increase in click-through rates later in the afternoon, around 6 PM when many people return home.

Other key findings include:

  • It’s become very clear that consumers in various locations show different levels of engagement when interacting with email marketing campaigns. Take Europe and North America for example. The difference in their average email open rate is 7.84 percentage points (26.84% vs 19%). For click-throughs it’s 1.37 percentage points (4.35% vs 2.98%). This may not seem like much at first, but given the fact that the average click-through rate (CTR) in North America is 2.98%, the difference of 1.37 percentage points accounts for +46% more clicks (if we ignore the sample size difference) for the campaigns sent by European marketers.
  • GDPR appears to have had minimal impact a year on. The strongest markets like Germany, France, or the Netherlands, still dominate the top of its table for CTR. Although France saw a loss of 1 percentage point in CTR, Germany observed an over 1.7 percentage point increase around the same time. Countries that were primarily unaffected by GDPR, e.g., Brazil, the US, and Canada, saw their average open rates and click-through rates drop (continuing the decline from last year.). GetResponse believes that’s because other regulations like the CCPA are making global consumers more aware of their rights – and why and how to unsubscribe.
  • In terms of industry engagement trends, restaurants and food, non-profits, and publishers are still on top. This suggests brands that send content about things we like and care about will always get the highest engagement. At the same time, legal services, agencies, and healthcare have seen a drop. This could be because of their campaigns – or the nature of the industry.
  • Want high open and click through rates? Send automated emails triggered by subscriber behaviour. GetResponse says it’s even worth doing for simple messages like RSS emails sent when you publish a new blog post. Newsletters and one-off emails still work. But triggered emails bring the best results.
  • When it comes to content, emails with video still generate the highest engagement rates. The problem is not all email clients support it, which is why only around 8% of the emails our customers send contain links to videos. For now, GetResponse says the best workaround is to use an image (maybe even a GIF) that looks like a video player and links to your page.

To read the full GetResponse Report, click here.

Top 10 tips for email signups

It’s no secret that experts and surveys put email marketing as a ‘must’ for digital marketers looking for effectiveness and return on investment (ROI). 41% of marketers polled rated email as their best performing channel, along with 47% who said that email delivered the most ROI, ahead of social at 19%

 But, how of you get website visitors to subscribe to emails and improve sign up rates over 2%? A survey by global digital analysts Econsultancy provides useful tips and tricks.

 Targeting. Don’t treat all site visitors the same, they aren’t. Detecting them as individuals and personalising the experience will convert more site visitors to sign ups.

 Placement. Think about where the signup will sit on a page. The norm is to run in the footer of each webpage, but this might not be as effective as placing the call to action above the fold. Dynamic methods are more common in the US and also ensure visibility, viewed as a popup or overlay, but can have a negative impact on the user experience.

 Visibility. There are two aspects to making your call to action more noticeable, the look (size, shape, text size, colour and boldness) and the prominence.

 Anything that requires an action, moves or gets into a persons face is likely to get their attention, but this could be for good or bad… Research by Privy found that a banner that starts ‘hidden’ and rolls out on activation had the best conversion rates (2.2%) over email bar (1.34%) and popup (1.31%).

 Timing. Audience targeting and the time the user has spent on a site are the two main types of timing important to email call to actions. The checkout is a retailers’ favourite time to capture sign ups, while a display of a cal to action cold be triggered by time, scrolling or a mouse movement. Further research by Privy found that visitors were 25 times more likely to subscribe when they triggered the signup form themselves by clicking a tab, than if it was automatically triggered by time, scrolling or exit.

 Proposition. You’re more likely to get signups if the individual is persuaded in doing so because there’s a special offer, or something in it for them. Conversion rate by campaign content type found that entering into a prize draw had a conversion of 15%, as opposed to standard sign up 1%.

 Copy. Sell your email like it’s a product! Convince the individual that by signing up they’re going to be rewarded.

 Ease. Keep signups simple! The longer the form, the less likely the signup. Only ask for information you actually need, such as first name and email address. Privy research found that every field added reduces the sign ups by 25%

 Legitimacy. There are three basic elements that must be followed; sending emails to people who did not sign up is bad for brand reputation and can incur legal repercussions, the customer should always feel in control of the relationship and a successful email list is quality of subscribers.

 Clarity. Setting clear expectations of the kind of frequency of emails new subscribers will receive will help reduce opt-outs in the near future.

 Testing. Test different models, by doing so you’ll have a clear understanding of what works and which work better, such as placements, copy, campaigns, etc. A/B testing of alternative webpages can determine effectiveness of various methods. Measure and track results using web analytics and behavioural tools such as heatmaps.

www.econsultancy.com

SNP-Social

SNP won the marketing election

Email service provider Mailjet has analysed the recent general election campaign and found that if results were based on direct marketing performance alone, the Scottish National Party (SNP) would walk away with a clear victory, ahead of Labour in second place and the Conservatives in third place.

Communications sent out by the major political parties were analysed over a four-week period by marketing experts at Mailjet, who then scored emails on seven separate performance indicators including design, personalisation, cross-channel marketing, automation and creativity of content.

With a total of 29 points up for grabs, the research shows all parties are failing to make use of email communications as effectively as they could to reach voters. In fact, the Conservative Party only sent two emails throughout the four week test period, achieving just 10.5 points, compared to the other parties sending seven on average.

Analysis showed that camping leaders failed to make use of personalisation techniques, with the only details required to sign-up for each party’s emails being name, email address and postcode.

All parties bar Conservatives address emails by individual name, with the Conservatives sending emails as a collective group.

Josie Scotchmer, UK marketing manager at Mailjet, commented:  “The generic mass messages being shared by parties in this snap election show no evidence of audience segmentation to increase the relevance of emails to their recipients. The only use of personalisation was using the first name to address readers; parties fail to take advantage of huge opportunities to resonate with voters based on their location and demographic data.”

When it comes to subject lines the Green Party took the lead, with 2.67 points out of 5, with Labour just ahead of the Conservative party with 2.55 points against the Tories’ 2.5 points.

The experts look at the optimum length, word inclusion, whether subject lines are personal and include a call to action, and whether they’re creative. For example, the Green Party shared an email titled ‘OK I admit it. I’m lonely’ where Caroline Lucas calls on the party’s supporters to elect another MP alongside her.

The Labour party’s email subject lines also include snappy statements such as ‘Dodged questions’, ‘Last chance’ and ‘We will be outspent’ to drive open rates and action from the recipient.

In contrast, the SNP won the majority of their points on core content and call to action, scoring 3.0 out of 5 and 3.27 out of 5 respectively. The party’s emails include video content as well as strong calls to action, asking its subscriber base to volunteer and donate highlighted with the design of buttons. Labour also scored well here, sharing their manifesto amidst the news it had been leaked, and offering branded Labour campaign bags for the supporters quickest to donate.

Two other areas of email marketing the political parties are not utilising at the moment are automation and cross-channel marketing inclusion. For example, social media buttons, redirecting to app or website content were only used by the Scottish National Party and Green Party. The Green Party are also the only candidates showing signs of using automation techniques, but even this was minimal.

Scotchmer concluded: “In failing to adopt automation throughout their election campaigns, these political parties have missed a huge trick. Automation can greatly affect relationships with supporters as they now expect engagement from organisations that is tailored to their interests and delivered in real-time. In addition, it’s not expensive to deliver campaigns in this way; the market for this technology is now competitive and it’s increasingly possible to invest in automation at every level.”

www.mailjet.com

Email marketing top of the ROI Charts

The 2017 Econsultancy/Adestra email Marketing Industry Census has revealed that email marketing is top of the ROI Charts for the third year in a row.

Based on a survey of over 1,200 marketers undertaken between February and March 2017, 73% of companies along with 76% of agency respondents rated it excellent or good.

Budget allocated, however, was only 15% of total marketing budget, with a feeling that the growing complexity of the digital marketing landscape still left many marketers confused as to how best allocate funds to create a more complete campaign.

Those marketers who are more tech savvy and able to master the data and successes within email marketing are set to gain business advantages over competitors over the next 12 month period.

“The results of this year’s Census show that marketers are struggling to see the bigger picture and stand by their choices,” explained Henry Hyder-Smith, Adestra CEO. “By getting the fundamentals working together – personalisation, automation, integration, optimisation – they can make the most of the technology available, offer their customers the experience they are looking for, and realise the benefits of becoming First-Person Marketers.”

Monica Savut, head of research services at Econsultancy, said: “Email continues to be one of the most effective marketing channels and it’s encouraging to see that marketers are looking beyond standalone campaigns by embracing marketing automation and personalisation. However, this year’s Census shows that marketers need to adopt a more rigorous approach, keeping a sharp focus on both technology and strategy while never losing sight of the customer.

“The rewards are there for the taking, but reaping maximum value is dependent on two key success factors: investment that is proportional to any potential returns and a comprehensive strategy that focuses on continuous measurement, testing and optimisation.”

The full report can be downloaded here:

2017 Email Marketing Industry Census

Mailjet crowns Waitrose winner of best Christmas email campaign…

The email service provider Mailjet has revealed that Waitrose is ahead of its competitor supermarkets in the email campaign stakes, analysing key metrics including the chain’s subject lines, automation, cross-channel marketing and personalisation.

Reaching a total score of 21.3 points out of an available 29.0, this marks the second consecutive victory for Waitrose in the study and represents a significant improvement on supermarket’s performance from last year, rising 10 per cent overall.

Mid-market brands Tesco and Asda closely followed Waitrose’s success, hitting 20.0 and 19.9 respectively, however, Marks & Spencer struggled to compete scoring just 17.4 in total.

With regards to emails prospecting new consumer audiences, the research places Morrisons and Sainsbury’s joint last as both failed to send any communications to consumers who haven’t yet purchased through their online shopping platforms.

Josie Scotchmer, UK marketing manager at Mailjet said: “Consumers buy from the brands they build emotional connections with, particularly during the Christmas season. With low scores in critical areas for digital marketing like personalisation and automation, many supermarkets are not making the most of their emails to engage consumers with powerful storytelling.

As Mailjet suggests there has been much discussion on the importance of campaign personalisation this year, just two of the total eight supermarkets surveyed registered a score above 0.0. Specifically, Asda fell short on the top spot for its lack of personalisation, losing five points by omitting any room to add personal messaging to the email in favour of a singularly product-focused, visual structure.

Scotchmer added: “Winning greater share of the market in run up to Christmas holiday relies on having an online and offline campaign that fires on all cylinders. There are opportunities for all of these brands to learn from one another and broaden their use of digital strategies to engage and build loyalty with consumers at this critical period in the retail calendar.”

Industry Spotlight: Is this the end of the email discount?

Consumers and marketers alike enjoy a good old email coupon. So much so that various studies have found a staggering 20 – 30 per cent of marketing emails now feature a discount, voucher or giveaway based incentive; and, understandably, evidenced by their tenure as a long time favourite in a marketer’s archive.

The critical factor in the promotional arena is the perceived level of exclusivity to the recipient, and this goes hand-in-hand with how well past data has been used for personalisation. But in the absence of perfect execution, is there still a place for incentive-based email? Here’s a closer look at its pros and cons in today’s digital landscape.

 

The Pros

Quickly gain brand traction: There’s no faster way to boost subscriber rates than by offering a strong incentive or freebie, and is also a great method for brand exposure and starting conversations. Krispy Kreme growth hacked their email list by 71 per cent thanks to their “Friends of…” campaign offering free doughnuts in return for referrals to family and friends.

Boost product uptake: Flooding the market with fast moving consumables is a powerful way to generate recurring demand. Freebie uptake is admittedly less effective in Services and SaaS where tactile value is not immediately realised on redemption. Creating urgency (time limits or download quota) is an effective way to boost uptake in these markets.

* Something to say: Don’t let competitors get a word in – end it with a promotion! Being delightfully creative is one thing but doing it consistently is another. A discount or voucher keeps you in the foreground and provides something worth saying while working on your next marketing masterpiece.

* Build an audience profile: A strong promotion is a big opportunity to profile new and existing data. Carefully consider the requisite fields and leverage that data in future to create a continual improvement cycle.

 

The Cons

* Change in list composition: Yes, you’ve increased subscribers by a million percent but your list composition will be drastically different. One-off giveaways tend to attract low lifetime-value subscribers so solid expectation management and segmentation is essential.

* Demand fulfilment: Even the best laid schemes go awry and with digital especially, things can quickly get out of hand. Oversubscription will turn a potentially positive brand experience into a bad one. Be upfront about quantities and don’t let promises go unfulfilled!

* Effect on brand positioning: Your email subscribers are often your most loyal customers so cheapening the brand with precipitous promotions is ill-advised. If you are positioned as the market premium, then a subtler incentive that does not implicate future pricing and brand perception is required. Don’t over-promote at the expense of brand.

* Risk of escalation: Competitors will soon catch wind of aggressive promotions (they have definitely subscribed to your email) and will soon respond with their own incentivised promotions. Discounts are easily countered and squeeze margins over time, so focus on the experiential, creative and personal instead.

 

Takeaways

Arguably the biggest positive for promotional mailers is the ability to use past insight to make ever-more effective campaigns with a greater degree of personalisation. Choosing not to customise campaigns to the recipient’s exact needs comes with the tacit understanding that everyone is entitled to the same advantages – and where’s the added value in that!

There are still benefits to the old-school, generic incentive but they are contextual, and highly dependent on industry and brand positioning. Giveaways can elevate new brands and quickly establish voice in new channels, but established names beware.

So while the coupon survives to fight another day, its rule as the marketer’s darling is certainly contested. Its day is certainly not up yet, but the mindset must soon evolve to stay relevant. And as other marketing tactics such as native and inbound continue to mature, so must email.

 

Words by Ross Carroll, senior email marketing manager at Fat Media