As email engagement slips in the face of information-overload, marketers increasingly should draw inspiration from best practice data-driven marketing innovators, adopting real-time advanced analytics and algorithm based software to anticipate and influence customer behaviour.

 

First things, first marketers need to get data savvy
As email engagement slips in the face of information volumes, marketers should look to best practice data-driven marketing innovators like Amazon, by adopting real-time analytics and algorithm-based software to anticipate and influence customer behaviour.

Rather than thinking in silos, your communication strategy should be integrated across   channels so that you can accommodate which channel the customer prefers. After all, the many touch-points customers have with your brand – good or bad – are all part of a singular brand experience.   Automated email preference centres based on customer behaviour are integral if you want to keep customers engaged.  Similarly, the more marketers can leverage analytics and algorithm-based software to anticipate customer buying behaviour in real-time, the more they’ll be able to influence it.

Data gets personal
In theory, the data you collect theoretically allows you to send unique emails to every lead and customer. As personal as one-to-one communications? Getting pretty close. With enough data and the right software, you can customise emails in the same way an algorithm decides which search results to show you. Based on [this data], [these past results] and [these similar customers], you can send the perfect email. Now that’s personalisation!

Integration of communication platforms is on the rise
Use your social media platform to crowd source for ideas, insights and to address concerns about product ingredients or after sales care. Then use email to expand on what you’re delivering via social media or to drive your content strategy.

A/B testing will fall away
Today companies are able to test messaging in real-time, trying dozens of variants to discover which ones create the desired behaviour most efficiently. For emails A/B testing is rapidly being replaced by far more sophisticated methods designed to optimise on an individual, per-user basis.

Seven hints to help you navigate the landscape:

  1. Business Intelligence tools are increasingly important to track customer behaviour across multiple platforms.
  2. Segmentation of your database ‘hygiene factor’ for delivering dynamic content that is relevant to your customers in a relevant way at a relevant time. Going a step further predictive analytics provide advanced segmentation and achieve better conversion rates.
  3. Lifecycle automation is a great tool to achieve timely delivery of messages and increase customer dialogue.
  4. Create a unique voice that differentiates itself from the competition, while creating less content but more that’s relevant.
  5. With high rates of mobile penetration, ensure that your users can view your content optimally by making responsive design a priority.
  6. Engagement is about a conversation, while ‘shouting’ sales messages has its (limited) place, it’s not going to achieve long-term results.
  7. Email is not a set-and-forget. You must test and refine. Test and refine everything from send day, time of message to headers, colours and call-to-action buttons. Optimise and then do it all over again.

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Lindy Shuttleworth is a Digital Marketing Strategist at APD Group