We all see the early signs of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning-powered solutions in email marketing. A variety of tools can write (or choose) an optimal subject line for you, or determine the correct product or article to feature in order to optimize clicks for a given subscriber. So what does the future hold for email marketing? Will smart machines supplant humans?
Many shoppers are flocking to e-commerce for the convenience, but brick and mortar is still an important part of the omnichannel experience for those customers that want to touch and feel your products in person. Here are some ways email can help retailers shine:
There is no doubting the effects of personalizing email. Content should be relevant to the audience and as timely as you can possibly be. I've been a huge proponent of personalization in general for a long time, but I don't believe it's valuable if you look at it like a mail merge. The methods to measure impact can only be seen realistically, over a period of time, not one dynamic image/link at a time. Your program should adapt over time, not be relegated to the constraints of resources.
One of the biggest problems with email marketing is that it's easy to be mediocre and still achieve decent results and ROI. Over the last decade, sophisticated email marketing technology has become affordable and easy to use for companies of all sizes, budgets and abilities. As a result, even less-than-stellar marketing efforts can produce acceptable results. This paradox is what keeps so many marketers on the hamster wheel of mediocrity. Why put in a lot more effort if you're achieving your minimum goals?
Perhaps it's time to think about data differently. Many companies that I have worked with over the years often cite lack of budget and IT resources as the reason for not doing a better job of managing data. The problem with this way of thinking is that it completely disregards the amount of potential revenue that could be realized through reducing major losses. Here are the areas where companies are hemorrhaging revenue as a result of not focusing on putting their data house in order:
Mistakes happen to all of us, no matter how infallible we believe ourselves to be. Some are big mistakes, some small, some expensive, some of no consequence -- but they are mistakes nonetheless, and we should be learning from each and every one of them. Learning from your mistakes is much easier when you know you are making them. It's the mistakes you don't realize you're making that are the most dangerous, because you continue to make them again and again. The world of email is no different. There are the mistakes marketers know about, which are typically remedied by …
With all the hype about machine learning, I've been thinking a lot about testing lately. Experimentation should help answer questions for you, not cloud your view, right? I asked a blind question of a variety of retail marketers, technology marketers and "insiders" recently, just to gauge if people are thinking about this opportunity differently now. The question was simple: "What are the three biggest challenges you face in doing any type of testing for email marketing?"
Yes, marketing budgets are tight. However, employee development is no longer optional. It's a "must do" in an increasingly competitive environment where marketing channels, technologies and practices evolve like teenage fashion trends.
My kids have been exploring the world of online gaming, and in a (probably futile) effort to balance the scales, I've been encouraging them to try some educational sites as well. As a result, I've been seeing a lot of daily emails dedicated to getting us to come back and continue interacting with a Web site. Encouraging repeat visitors is tricky stuff at best. Trying to do it daily can be a daunting task. Why? Well, the daily cadence risks more unsubscribes and spam complaints, so each email must do as much as possible to appear helpful and relevant. To …