A hundred emails are sent, and 95-98 of them get delivered. 30-40 are actually seen, 10-15 of those on a mobile device. 5-15 of those that received it will click through and if you are lucky, 1-2 will buy something. This process, repeated weekly over a year, can add up to a lot of effort to reach less than half your audience. Do you know what your aggregate reach is for this email audience? If so, what are you doing with the other half that just don’t engage, or engage infrequently?
Is behavioral retargeting the answer? Over the years, there’s been many cases of 10X performance to traditional targeted advertising, even with the increased 2x-3x cost.
You may ask why everyone isn’t doing this today. It seems logical, when you send 100 emails and only 1-2 buy something. Why not retarget the other 38 who are on another website, or even simply retarget those with intent – those who have clicked through?
Taking this a step further, you have companies that specialize in delivering inventory within publisher emails, so in practice you can retarget your customer with your ad in someone else’s email.
It would seem this is a perfect world. We can maximize intent, timing and context all driven from outbound email, and ending with a conversion.
What about the other 50% whom you can’t reach or the 70% to 80% that doesn’t buy from you through email?
Here are some of the gaps in CRM thinking when it comes to retargeting:
1. You don’t do cross-attribution. Since you only know last-click, single-channel (email) conversion, you really have no measuring stick to substantiate trying this outside of a pilot or special promotion.
2. You struggle with real time. Email marketing operates in a static campaign world, and to make retargeting work perpetually in scale, you need to optimize the targeting criteria and performance very fast.
3. Media and email teams just don’t mix. They operate differently, they measure differently, and they spend differently.
So what does a CRM person do when half her audience doesn’t engage through her most cost-effective channel?
1. Send them a direct-mail piece? Sure, if you have the budget, time and brand engagement. But again, expect 1% response at best, and you’ve only fractionally solved your problem.
2. Wait for them to visit your site, and then maximize conversion? “Wait” and “marketing” are two terms that just don’t seem to get along. This will solve another few percentage points points, for which you will likely not get credit (unless within your attribution window).
3. Facebook and Twitter must be the answer? Good luck trying to convert with conventional tactics through social channels!
4. SMS must be the answer. Sure, if more than 5% of your database have mobile addresses and have them permissioned. Yet 160 characters doesn’t have the creative flair we love.
Imagine if you could use that audience (email addresses) of known people who have registered on your site, and you could reach them at the individual level on Facebook, on a TV cable network, or any third-party media network/site? Imagine if you could do this programmatically (which means economically) for all non-responders or non-converters, and do it episodically as your campaigns run? That would get your blood pumping again, wouldn’t it?
Operationalizing customer engagement cross-channel is here, it’s now, it’s real-time. We have to reach out past our email programs and campaigns and think of ways or driving value to our business in a coordinated manner. Take your pals that run media for your company to lunch and start with, “How can I target these customers in another channel?” Get them excited about what a valuable asset you have (an email database) and begin exploring how to make cross-channel work for you. I bet your perspective on messaging, cadence and email deliverability will change drastically. Think fast, act faster!