Target Practice!

Simple behavioural profiling techniques can improve email targeting and give a major boost to response rates says Tink Taylor, dotMailer’s Business Development Director and a member of the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Marketing Council.

Links, Landing Pages and Micro Sites

Previously I have stressed the importance of including links in your emails.

Before we move on, a quick word about how to maximise the effectiveness of those links.

Well two words actually – often neglected by the marketing community – landing pages.

Yes, click through data is immensely valuable. But to maximise your ROI you want to increase your chances of customers doing something useful when they get to your site.

So remember to send people to a page that is relevant to the promotion rather than your home page and, if you can, make sure the design of the landing page is consistent with the email.

For a high profile campaign, a micro site can give you the freedom to build specific content around the campaign theme.

It can also be invaluable if you want your campaign to go viral.

Going Viral

One more thing before we get down to the nitty gritty of behavioural profiling.

If you are going to include a viral element in your campaign, or invite recipients to tell a friend, you need to be aware of the restrictions imposed by the Data Protection Act.

Make sure that you use the appropriate privacy and permission statements and if in doubt contact the Information Commissioner’s Office helpline.

Details can be found at www.ico.gov.uk. You might also want to give visitors who came via a forwarded email the option to sign-up for future emails via your landing page or micro site.

Behavioural profiling

As well as providing you with key ratios to measure the success of your campaign, your campaign reports provide a wealth of behavioural data, which can make a huge contribution to future success.

This really is the fun part of email marketing and you don’t need to be an expert! Your ESPs should provide all of the tracking features listed below, in easy-to-use report formats.

Hopefully the tips provided here will provide the inspiration you need to get started.

Open rates

A proportion of your emails are going to sit, unopened in someone’s inbox!

Obviously the open rate is a key measure of your campaign. But it is worth focusing some attention on those customers who ignore your email.

They have obviously opted-in at some point, so why not invest some effort in bringing them back to the fold?

Track their responses to successive campaigns, look at what worked and what didn’t, segment your inactive customers into groups based on previous behaviour and then create mailings designed to appeal to their specific preferences.

Ultimately you will need to consider ‘How dead is dead?’ and, if your revival efforts have not worked, you will probably need to remove really inactive customers from your list.

This will help you improve delivery rates in future.

Tracking forwarded emails

Your campaign data should include an ‘actual forwards’ report, telling you which customers forwarded your email and to how many people.

Use this report to find out if your campaign has gone viral. You can also compile a very useful list of customers who have bought into your corporate brand message and clearly like spreading the word.

Clickthrough rates

The overall clickthrough rate is a good measure of the relevance of your email content. To make the most of behavioural targeting techniques though, you need to go further.

Your ESP should allow you to download lists of customers based on what they clicked on, as well as when and how often they clicked.

Use this data to create mailing lists for specific follow-up campaigns targeted at each group.

Even if you start by tailoring the content slightly, for example putting a different link at the top of the email for each group, you will be on the path to targeted email marketing activity.

Tracking page views

A number of ESPs, including dotMailer, go further than clickthrough rates, allowing you to track what recipients do once they have clicked through to your website.

For example, an e-commerce site can track pages viewed, and find out which customers made a purchase and what they bought.

It makes sense to target these groups with well-timed follow-up emails to encourage them to make a repeat or related purchase. Or if customers register for an event, to send them a follow-up reminding them to attend.

And, if a customer didn’t buy, you can check out which pages they visited. At which point you might want to send them a well-timed and relevant discount offer with an incentive to buy now to qualify for the offer.

This approach can be an extremely effective way to boost the overall ROI from your campaign. Finally, remember the possibilities are endless and experimentation is the name of the game.

Have another look at your campaign data provided by your ESP and see what it tells you about your customers.

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