Use Web Analytics To Take Email to the Next Level

As the email industry evolves, relevance will become ever more important because of overloaded inboxes, more competition from new delivery channels such as social networks and reputation challenges from spam complaints.

This year, the grim economy gives you yet another reason to focus on getting the resources to move your email program past the old one-to-many model in order to deliver more relevant messages. One of the best means is to incorporate Web analytics data into your email program.

Targeting messages to segmented audiences is usually the first step toward greater relevance. Pairing up Web analytics data with email delivers an even greater return, because it enables you to better engage with customers through their buying history or behavior at your Web site -- their clickstream activity. Once set up, your program can be automated so you spend less time testing and optimizing your overall email program.

A 2005 Jupiter Research study found that email messages based on clickstream activity deliver a staggering 30 times the monthly revenue of broadcast email.

Further, irrelevant messages drive list churn. Another Jupiter Research study found 53 percent of email users said they unsubscribe when the content doesn't interest them.

In other words, if you still rely on broadcast email, you likely are wasting a fair amount of money, either by spending too much or leaving money on the table, or both.

Despite Web analytics' benefits, incorporating it into email is still a challenge for many marketers. Forty-one percent told Jupiter Research they don't have the resources to do it, while another 36% said they couldn't integrate the two applications. Redeems Abandoned Carts

Despite those challenges, integrating email with Web analytics will pay off in more relevant emails and greater revenue. Here's one example that tackled the perennial problem of abandoned shopping carts:, the online baby-supplies retailer, knew that many customers had to abandon shopping carts to go tend to their young children. So, the company developed a cart-reclamation program that sends an email reminder to any opted-in customer who leaves a cart in the virtual aisle.

The company leveraged the partnership and integration of its Web analytics provider, and its email service provider, to create the program, which encourages shoppers to come back and finish the transaction.

In one month, the pilot program generated a return rate that was 129% higher than any other email campaign, with a click rate 78% higher than previous campaigns.

Cumulatively, the campaign generated a 24% click-through rate and a 110% increase in net conversions. Revenue from the reminder campaign brought in 9% of total revenue from email marketing, while representing only 2.7% of the total email volume.

The cart abandonment campaign, which generates its messages automatically based on customer actions, is able to recapture a continuous stream of lost sales for, just on the strength of the email alone. It runs in the background, generating messages and completed transactions.

Further, the company didn't have to shave off a portion of the revenue to cover additional promotional expenses. Many shopping-cart abandonment initiatives tack on an incentive, such as free shipping, a discount off the whole order or one item in the cart. decided against that approach, in part because it already offers low prices on its products, which are primarily staples as opposed to luxury goods, and standard free shipping, Assistant Marketing Director Matt Lindenberg says. In addition, rather than considering these emails promotional, they were seen as a service to remind busy moms that they might have forgotten to complete their purchases. The company also didn't want to train shoppers to wait for the deal-sweetener before closing their sales.

Three Action Tips from Matt Lindenberg

Matt has these tips for marketers looking to increase relevance by integrating Web analytics data with email:



  • Start small, using standard integrations such as URL tagging and remarketing campaigns (e.g., cart abandonment). Avoid complex customizations and minimize the need for IT involvement.

  • Frame the emails generated by your analytics integration as a service to customers, not just another selling opportunity.

  • Think progressive sophistication. Now that phase one has launched, is looking at increasing personalization and targeted messages in phases two and three.

    Pardon the pun, but the baby steps you take when integrating Web analytics data with email will help your email program grow even stronger.

    Until next time, take it up a notch!

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