Your Web Site's Role In Addressing Tricky Segments

Email has long had a strong relationship with the Web site as a channel. The primary purpose of an email is often to drive traffic to a site for conversions. Outside of some basic use cases like abandoned cart and abandoned browse campaigns, though, the relationship has long been one-sided, with Web sites getting most of the advantages.

It’s time to make this relationship between these two important channels symbiotic to amplify your relationships with hard-to-reach segments.

This strategy most likely requires a technology investment, but the benefits are well worth the cost.  

Here’s how a stronger relationship between your email and your Web site can make the following audience segments more profitable:

Anonymous Web site visitors. Through a brief interruption on the homepage or other page of a Web site, brands are able to drive significant numbers of new email registrations through email modals/popovers. The missed opportunity in doing this, though, is that most brands provide a generic experience for any new visitor to the site. Even worse, some brands serve up a modal/popover to any visitor — even those coming from emails. What a terrible experience.



Brands always have a segment of anonymous consumers — those who have yet to make a purchase or sign up for email. Instead of providing them with a a generic experience, though, brands should make an investment in leveraging Web behaviors to determine what should be shown.

For example, do you have a repeat anonymous visitor who always looks at women’s tops?  Instead of serving a generic popover, aim to show one that gives a discount on women’s tops as an incentive to gain permission. You should also personalize your site to show those items.  

Through either a purchase or email registration, you can close the loop on this visitor and turn her from unknown to known, building a more meaningful and useful customer profile that can be used for email targeting and personalization.

Non-purchasing or lapsed known customers. Both non-purchasing and lapsed customers have left behind a trail of data exhaust through interactions with your brand. Using this data, you should not only personalize the Web site experience, but also leverage any Web site behaviors to boost the response in email.  

It could be that you’re relying solely on transactional data for your segmentation because that’s what you have available to you. If the user has never made a purchase or if the last purchase was made a significant time ago, the data in your CRM is likely not going to have a big impact in driving purchase behaviors. What would work better is to evaluate more recent behaviors across channels — especially email and the Web site. What products is the customer viewing and clicking on? Use that data to personalize across channels. Don’t just bucket the users as lapsed and try to drive behaviors with generic discount offers.  

Inactive email subscribers. This group is a problem for any brand, dragging down engagement metrics and with the potential to become a deliverability burden.

There are a few scenarios that your inactive email subscribers can fall into. Here’s how you can address each:

(S)he’s inactive in email only, but has not lapsed as a customer due to recent purchase activity. Customers like this should be handled through similar tactics to anonymous users on your site — only the messaging should be changed to “We miss you” when serving up a re-permission popover. It could be that your customer no longer uses the email address (s)he gave you when she initially signed up for email. Don’t be afraid to ask for a new email address or to guide him/her down a permission path for other channels that might be more relevant.

(S)he’s inactive in email and as a customer, due to a lack of email behaviors and purchase activity. In that case, you’d follow the recommendation above, and if needed, use paid efforts to drive him/her back to your site if you’re not seeing any Web activity.  Of course, with any paid effort, you want to ensure (s)he’s a lucrative customer worth fighting to retain. If the potential lifetime value isn’t there, don’t make the spend.

What ways have you used your Web site to enhance your emails and segmentation?  How effective was it for you?  Let me know in the comments!

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