Almost all marketers (97%) now use e-mail to communicate with existing and potential customers, and that's simply because it works, according to research from the DMA that suggests e-mail provides cost advantages and the best ROI of any online marketing strategy.
As a result, e-mail marketing services firm e-Dialog has created a strategic framework of six factors that guides marketers in achieving the highest possible customer relevance in their e-mail campaigns.
Cluttered inbox syndrome
It has never been more difficult to get messages noticed in a consumer's e-mail inbox, e-Dialog points out, let alone getting the recipient to respond positively or take some affirmative action.
Today's consumer has come to expect sophisticated, highly personalised communications that deliver what they want, when they want it. It has been widely accepted for some time that personal relevance in electronic communications (whether by e-mail, text message, or on a web site) generates a greater ROI, increases revenue and profits, and builds more solid and meaningful customer engagement.
Irrelevance is the enemy
However, because of e-mail's low costs and potentially high ROI, many e-mail marketers continue to broadcast messages, regardless of personal relevance, in the hope that customers won't get annoyed and 'burnt out' by frequent and irrelevant campaigns.
But consumers learn quickly, and many now have software that easily and conveniently cuts out all future messages from any given sender. It has never been more critical for marketers to become so individually relevant that customers feel like they have a personal relationship with the company and would never consider hitting the 'junk mail' button.
So how exactly does e-Dialog define this 'personal relevance', and how can an e-mail marketer achieve it? Although the general principle is easy to identify and define, there are specific ways in which relevance meets e-mail as a marketing medium.
e-Dialog decided to create a single standard definition through its new Relevance Trajectory framework that helps marketers measure and improve the relevance of their e-mail marketing programmes. The Relevance Trajectory strategic planning framework defines the essential factors that go into truly relevant e-mail communications, and provides a mechanism for scoring programmes based on those elements. The resultant rating allows marketers to benchmark their campaigns and identify specific opportunities for improving e-mail relevance. They can then follow a step-by-step process to help them move further up the 'Relevance Trajectory'.
Six key relevance factors
The Relevance Trajectory methodology outlines six factors of relevance:
- Lifecycle management;
- Testing and measurement.
These factors, the company asserts, form the basis for measuring and improving e-mail programmes. They allow marketers to grade e-mail campaigns on a defined scale of 0 to 3, using either a Quick-Start method to score overall e-mail relevance or a Detailed method for closer examination of individual programmes.
Taking corrective action
Of course, there is no pass or fail grade. A relevance score is a data point by which marketers can plot, compare, and demonstrate movement in campaign relevance and effectiveness over time. Relevance scoring also provides a basis for further discussion and new campaign recommendations.
According to John Rizzi, president and CEO for e-Dialog, "Until now, no clear definition or KPI has existed for e-mail marketing relevance, and marketers haven't had a comprehensive framework for identifying specific applications of relevance that will increase e-mail productivity. The Relevance Trajectory is a series of logical steps involving information gathering, opportunity identification, programme development, and results measurement. Together they form a roadmap for continuously improving e-mail marketing programmes."
White paper on relevance
The Relevance Trajectory was designed to provide a way of measuring e-mail effectiveness at a more granular level than other typical metrics. It was then developed into a methodology and a guide to understanding, measuring and improving relevance factors that directly impact a company's return on investment.
A white paper explaining the Relevance Trajectory has been made available for download from e-Dialog's web site - click here (free registration required).