Click! Now What Happens? Optimizing Email, Site Experience

You create a great email program,optimizing creative, timing and targeting. The recipient finds it interesting and clicks through to the Web site. Touchdown! Or is it?

Just how well is are users paid off for their effort once they reach the Web site? Landing pages and direct response Web experiences can make or break the email marketer. Most companies develop site experiences based on marketing intuition instead of empiric data regarding the way a page, a group of pages or tasks render on a site.

In many cases, email or CRM has only downstream inputs on the Web experience, and you are simply one traffic source out of many.  

Sadly, the budget-constrained marketer will rely on Web analytics to inform what happened — yet using Web analytics only is like assessing personal health by how manicured your front lawn is.   Some correlation maybe, but not one I’d bet on.

You can research path analysis and drop-offs, and you can integrate behavioral and attitudinal data to visualize friction points and barriers to conversion.  We call this evidence-based site recommendations. But without known users, it’s all anonymous outside of what happens after a login or purchase.



All good, right? Now what?

Optimization generally falls within two categories: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative optimization typically involves the analysis of Web analytics data and also testing (either A/B or multivariate). Who has time to argue over how many button versions you want to test?  Qualitative? Who has time for focus groups, right?

So, how do you present a case when you mail to a million and 100,000 open it and 20,000 click on it and 2,000 buy something?    Statically this may make you a high conversion source, but not a high volume source.   

A few ideas to get a larger share of voice are:  

1. Look at anonymous visitor activity and general audience data through a day-part lens.   If your mailing cadence is mornings, focus on mornings. If you have cart-based triggers, look at high conversion windows.   Focus on optimization windows to assess path, category pages and site search activity.  Then overlay the promotional impact of this. (special promotion, discounting effects etc.)

2. Overlay your known “people” (notice I didn’t say “audiences’) tracked through email.  Don’t end with a click, but know where they went, what pages they consumed, what color shoes they added to their cart, and trend this by key cohorts (men, women, buyer types). And overlay it with details that help frame more about the people and what they mean to the business (age/gender bands, interest scores etc,)  If you are looking at email data for clicks and then Google Analytics for campaign results, I can almost guarantee you aren’t looking at this the right way, or it will take you a week, if ever, to make sense of source data from site, commerce, and CRM.

3.  Own the triggers.   If you have a robust portfolio of automations and triggers, even in simple form, you become part of the site optimization strategy and not just a catalog marketer blasting the masses.

Lastly, while site optimizers are even more budget-constrained than email marketers, they want the same things.  You need to be bigger than the 10th best traffic source, you are typically the only one with a FACE to the customer.   People over Audiences wins every time.

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