The vast 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 as a result, risking lower conversion rates and effectiveness, according to a new study.
Research from dotMailer has shown that brands like Republic and Amazon that get it right are more likely to achieve a better return on investment through this marketing channel.
dotMailer’s annual Hitting the Mark report added a new criteria this year which scrutinised whether brands were using the customer data available to them to better target their email messages.
The study found that 69% of emails showed no personalisation at all and 87% of messages that were sent following a purchase were no different to those sent to cold prospects. This vast majority of retailers apparently made no attempt to drive cross-sell, up-sell or repeat purchase based in the customers previous online buying behaviour.
What’s more, only 13% customised the email based on the gender of the recipient.
Shockingly, this year’s Hitting the mark study found that only one retailer (Amazon.co.uk) followed up an online purchase with an email-marketing message tailored to that purchase.
It wasn’t all bad news, however, with 93% using triggered emails following a purchase to reassure and build customer loyalty and 67% keeping online purchasers informed on the progress of their order, through the use of timely emails.
Tink Taylor, Managing Director at dotMailer, sees this as a wake-up call for 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 relevancy 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.”
dotMailer’s Top 5 Post-Sales Email Targeting Tips
1. Invite web customers to sign up during checkout – ask for the most important data.
2. Incentivise customers to sign up to your email marketing – e.g. with loyalty points, discounts off future purchases or exclusive special offers or previews
3. Map put the data you need to collect from your customers, the data you can collect from their transactions, and how can you use it to personalise and tailor post-sale communications
4. Use customer surveys as part of your post sale messages to collect valuable data on the customer experience and help build loyalty and trust.
5. Don’t forget basic triggered communications like order confirmations – purchasers expect this at minimum.
Read more email best practice advice on the dotDigital Blog and follow @dotMailer for daily tips.
The benchmark report, available to download from http://www.dotmailer.co.uk/emailmarketingreport, assessed emails sent by retailers in February 2011. Each email was evaluated against 17 criteria based on dotMailer’s Hitting the Mark scoring matrix, and awarded a total score out of 100.