Most marketing email lacks 'personal touch'
The majority of the UK's top retailers are adopting a 'one size fits all' approach to their email marketing, reducing the accuracy of communications and consequently risking lower conversion rates and marketing effectiveness, according to research from dotMailer.
The 'Hitting the Mark' study found that brands such as Amazon and Republic that get their approach to email marketing right are likely to achieve a higher return on investment (ROI) through the e-mail channel.
The annual study added a new criteria for 2011, scrutinising whether or not brands are using the customer data available to them to better target their email messages, and found that an alarming 69% of emails showed no personalisation at all, while 87% of messages that were sent following a purchase were no different to those sent to cold prospects. In fact, only one retailer (Amazon.co.uk) followed up an online purchase with an email marketing message tailored to that purchase.
The majority of retailers apparently made no attempt to drive cross-sell, up-sell or repeat purchase based on customers' previous online buying behaviour. Another surprising finding was that only 13% of retailers attempted to customise their email messages based on the known gender of the recipient.
However, 93% of retailers were found to be using triggered emails following a purchase to reassure and build customer loyalty, and 67% are keeping online customers informed about the progress of their order through timely email updates.
According to Tink Taylor, managing director for dotMailer, this study serves as a warning to those in charge of marketing budgets: "By their nature, online sellers should have access to customer data that can allow them to dramatically increase the relevance and impact of their email marketing communications with customers. In this tough economic climate, marketers who are not actively collecting and using that data to create targeted email messages that drive related sales are really missing a trick."
As a result, dotMailer suggests five key post-sale email targeting best practices:
- Invite web customers to sign up during checkout This is the point at which they are committed to making a purchase, and when they are most receptive to being asked for important personal data.
- Incentivise customers to sign up to your email marketing This could easily be achieved using loyalty points, discounts on future purchases, or exclusive special offers or product previews.
- Map out the data you need Identify what information you need to collect from your customers, what data you can collect from their transactions, and how can you use it to personalise and tailor post-sale communications.
- Customer surveys Use customer surveys as part of your post-sale messages to collect valuable data on the customer experience and to help build loyalty and trust.
- Basic good housekeeping Don't forget to send out the basic triggered communications (such as order confirmations), as most purchasers today expect this at the very least.
The report has been made available for download directly from dotMailer's web site - click here (free registration required).