"Recent unfortunate events have caused many consumer and business audiences to be more selective with the marketing messages and communications they open and act upon," said Al DiGuido, CEO of Bigfoot Interactive. "Email, when strategically employed, can be an effective, flexible and cost efficient channel for companies seeking to bolster customer relationships, stimulate additional sales and pinpoint valuable customer segments during this demanding season."
The guidelines, announced today at the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) 84th Annual Conference and Exhibition, follow below:
1. Think strategically. Review all components of the marketing mix and leverage each medium's strengths to maximize success and return-on-investment.
2. Integrate and cross-promote across marketing channels. Use email to alert customers of mailings, shipments and offline communications. Consider incorporating images of offline efforts including catalog covers and packaging to increase awareness and comfort levels.
3. Narrow the "Database Gap." Many organizations lack email information in their customer databases. Audit all customer touch points and offline promotional efforts to include email collection mechanisms. Scrub existing customer databases, and append permission-based email addresses if available and in accordance to industry-approved guidelines.
4. Include "email" or "promotional" codes in all email messaging. Incorporating email codes tied to special offers and discounts allows you to track the impact of email efforts on offline sales through other touch points, including in-store purchases, call centers, and other channels.
5. Develop preference pages and ongoing surveys. Implement customer controlled preference pages to better understand current and future customer needs.
6. Consider time-triggered or event-based messaging. Create a dialog with customers through a benefit-oriented, contextual experience that can extend throughout the customer lifecycle to continue the conversation.
7. Segment and personalize. Use existing customer intelligence to segment your customer base and personalize communications. Targeted, relevant and personalized communications can improve open and conversion rates.
8. Test, track, measure, and refine. Test various creatives and offers across segments. Measure successes and refine messaging for the larger rollout.
9. Be creative. Email's efficiency and real-time results provide marketers with additional freedom to test new ideas, concepts and offers which can ultimately improve return-on-investment.
10. Schedule and be persistent. There is still time to positively impact Q4 sales. By creating and executing on email strategies, marketers can schedule promotional messages and drive sales right up to the last minute this holiday season.