2/15/11 Keeping Customers Loyal with Targeted Email

Loyalty programs more effective than average

Email marketers have big incentives to improve the relevancy of their campaigns. Not only are they interested in increasing their own success metrics, but there is also the chance that mailings that don’t interest recipients could eventually push them to unsubscribe. ExactTarget and CoTweet released research in February indicating that nine in 10 email subscribers have later opted out of permission emails, mostly because they came too frequently or became repetitive or boring.

Segmentation can improve relevancy and ensure recipients are more likely to be targeted with messages that will interest them, keeping them subscribed and also getting them to open, click and convert. According to research from Experian CheetahMail, loyalty-related emails can be a powerful tool for this purpose.

Mailings targeted to loyalty program members outperformed overall bulk mailings, with open rates 40% higher, click rates 22% higher and transaction rates 29% higher. Revenues per email were also up 11% for the loyalty program group. Similar results came from targeting prospects for loyalty programs.

Specific types of loyalty-related emails performed differently; recipients showed a clear interest in those messages most relevant to them, such as ones indicating they could redeem a reward.

Experian has consistently found that targeting email subscribers based on their customer lifecycle or recent behavior can increase performance by increasing relevancy. Research on welcome messages and shopping cart abandonment showed similar results.

Still, many email marketers are not yet sending the types of emails that show success. Just 40% of retail email marketers surveyed by Silverpop, for example, deployed shopping cart recovery emails in 2010. With marketers sending more emails than ever, according to Responsys, at an average of 152 per subscriber that year, marketers will have to use all the tools at their disposal to put the most relevant messages in front of the right subscribers, to keep them opening, clicking—and subscribed.

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