Commentary

What Do Top Emailers Get Right That The Worst Get Wrong?

It's the same old story in email. A lot of European companies are succeeding and setting the benchmark in the latest Dotmailer "Hitting the Mark" league table. Then again, there are a lot who are not. The difference between two at the very simplest level is just a case of getting the basics right.

First the good news. Top of the pile in the email service provider's league table comes online fashion store Asos. Then in joint third place we have John Lewis, easyJet and Asda. Pretty good for a study that takes in both the U.S. and the UK, no? Holiday Extra, New Look and Trainline complete a top-ten dominance that says a lot about how British companies have risen to the challenge of getting email right.

And what is it they've got so right? Well, Dotmailer points to the really obvious things -- which, I guess, doesn't make them any less important. The top guys are using data to segment audiences and personalise campaigns so they cut through the rest of the inbox clutter. The researchers estimate that as an average, the top 100 brands on their league table send four emails per week. That's a lot of messages to stand out from.

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It's perhaps just as interesting to look at what the researchers are revealing that companies are getting wrong. 

Dotmailer's big new point here is that nearly two in three carts are abandoned, according to its estimates, yet 40% of the companies it studied do not use abandoned cart email retargeting campaigns to tempt people back. This, it estimates, is a huge untapped opportunity. 

It will come as a major surprise that the researchers also found that one in six companies are not bothering with the simplest loyalty-engendering tactic of sending out a welcome email. Furthermore, nearly a half of companies are not sending follow up emails to consumers who have made a purchase. Add to this the lack of data being applied to campaigns to allow for better targeting, and the gap between the winners and losers is very clear.

It was interesting to see, then, that LondonLovesBusiness is drawing its readers' attention to a recent DMA piece of research. Staggeringly, around half of all business admit they don't know that their email campaigns are actually going to the right people. Correspondingly, nearly half of consumers report they are regularly deleting emails. 

So there you have it. It's pretty simple stuff. It might be hard to implement -- don't get me wrong -- but the premise is straightforward enough. Apply data to ensure your lists are segmented so campaigns can be targeting and then send out cart abandoned emails.

At the very, very least respond to a new registration with a welcome message and a purchaser with a thank-you follow up. It's simple, and those last two points are just plain good manners.

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