Getting your knickers in a twist over email

by Deni Simeonova, Email Consultant

Working as I do in the world of email marketing I like to sign up to email marketing campaigns to see what’s out there.  Some are inspiring, others are just plain annoying…

I recently signed up to receive emails from Agent Provocateur and have, for the last couple of months, been receiving (rather too many) emails from them.

Just to set the scene – In January alone I received 15 emails (6 of which in as many days, ouch).  To date in February, I have received no less than 11 (4 sent on consecutive days, double ouch)…

I’ve had my finger poised on the ‘mark as spam’ tab for a while now and I’m fairly sure I’m not alone.  As a result of their rather overzealous contact strategy, their unsubscribe rate is probably also through the roof (assuming recipients even use it over the spam button).

The frequency of emails suggests that they’re either speaking to all the people all the time (and I mean ALL the time), or using the wrong metrics to segment their database.

With the introduction of engagement-based deliverability, relying on historical deliverability or open rates as assurance that your messages will get through is ill-advised.  In the world of email marketing, engagement is the new black.

What Agent Provocateur’s scattergun approach really drummed home to me was the absolute importance of a well-formed engagement plan.

Email marketers have to make a point of monitoring customers’ behaviour from the very start of the email campaign – looking at which emails people are receiving and opening or simply ignoring – and build up strategies based on the results.  Companies can’t assume that people will be willing to interact with their messages when they‘re clearly not relevant.

A quick fix is to split your data into openers and non-openers at various date ranges.  For example, people who have opened an email in the last three months are probably hotter prospects than those who’ve been unresponsive for six months, nine months and so on.  Ease off on the non-openers for a bit, sending less frequent emails with a different message.

Going forward, use these segments in conjunction with a Recency, Frequency, Value (RFV) project.

Recency – when they last bought a product from you

Frequency – how often they buy from you

Value – the value of their past purchases

The picture that you’ll build up will give you a much better idea of how to approach the different groups of customers, and will add real relevancy and value to your campaigns (for ‘value’, read customer experience and loyalty, rather than cold, hard cash).

Companies need to learn to treat their customers with respect and stop bombarding them with unwanted emails.  Like all good relationships, it’s more about listening than talking.  So, on that note – why not let us know if you have any emails you particularly like or loathe?