It’s the age-old question in email marketing: What can brands do to create email campaigns consumers actually want to receive, but those that also help the company achieve its specific goals?
The good news is that, unlike other age-old questions (like the “chicken or the egg”), there actually is an answer. By helping consumers—giving them what they really want—the brand can also achieve its own objectives.
How to accomplish this win-win was the very premise behind a new research report, “Customer Experience Email Marketing: Getting Ahead of the Consumer.”
Produced by Holistic Email Marketing and sponsored by Liveclicker, this new report judged actual emails from 82 different travel and retail brands and scored them on three pillars of “Customer Experience Email Marketing”:
- • Helpfulness: These are the elements of an email message that help recipients succeed when it comes to achieving their own objectives.
- • Personalization: Here, personalization includes the larger strategy—the plan to help marketers achieve their goal—as well as the tactic they use to execute the strategy.
- • Customer-focused: The ability of marketers to show how a product or service benefits customers, instead of attempting to sell on features.
According to Holistic Email Marketing, these three attributes are essential as brands strive to improve their Customer Experience (CX) Email Marketing. This concept centers on relationships and helping customers become successful, not pure salesy, one-size-fits-all email campaigns.
CX Email Marketing can be a powerful advantage. “More brands are recognizing the critical role that email marketing plays in the customer experience,” says Dave Holland, regional director at Liveclicker. “It’s the center of every digital relationship, and when focused on ever-changing consumer preferences, behaviors, and context, can sustain a customer throughout their lifecycle with a brand.”
Holistic Email Marketing suspected that the three pillars described above are instrumental in achieving CX Email Marketing, so this became the hypothesis of the research report. Specifically, would improving in these three areas deliver higher engagement results? If so, would these translate to better business results for the brands?
In other words, can marketers successfully balance their business goals with their customers’ needs, wants, and objectives?
It turns out that the answer is a resounding yes.
To understand why, it might help to have a little background information on the research methodology. The Customer Experience Email Marketing report looked at three different emails from each brand and scored them from 0 to 3 in the three pillar attributes (helpfulness, personalization, and customer focus).
The results were relatively low (see the graphic below), but there’s still reason to be optimistic. The same research noted that “67 percent of brands that scored over the average score earned higher read rates than those that scored lower than the average.”
So clearly there’s a correlation—and a real opportunity—between improving in each of these three areas and delivering high-performing email campaigns.
It is interesting to note that personalization received the lowest average score, which was a 2.09 out of 9. In fact, the vast majority of brands, (74 percent) scored the lowest (0-3 points) while only 6 percent of companies ranked the highest. (7-9 points).
If the old saying is true, and “every challenge is just an opportunity in disguise,” those companies that can do more with personalization and deliver highly relevant, highly engaging emails will gain a significant edge over those that don’t.
To help you see how, the report also provides real-world examples of emails that achieved a perfect score in personalization (as well as the other two pillars). It also includes a detailed explanation of what each brand did well. These actionable insights serve as specific best practices that you can implement to improve your own results, and judging from the key takeaways it’ll be well worth the effort.
3 key takeaways
- • You don’t have to tear everything down and start over. Instead, you can build on what you have accomplished already when you want to move up to CX Email Marketing.
- • Making your emails truly customer and service-focused will require some investment of time, but the rewards will repay your efforts. Turn the question around and ask it of yourself: “What’s in it for me to evolve my program to CX Email Marketing?”
- • CX Email Marketing has a “halo” effect that makes all your other emails more attractive to open and act on. One example from the research: One brand scored well on helpfulness and personalization but poorly on customer-centricity. Despite that, the brand achieved a high overall ranking in the study.
Side note: If you’re looking for another great resource to show you how you can improve personalization strategies and tactics, check out Liveclicker’s new LookBook, “Real Examples, Real Impact.” This guide shows you how Liveclicker clients have implemented successful personalization strategies at every step of the customer lifecycle. Download it now, and get inspired!
Are your emails focused on the three pillars of CX Email Marketing? If not, download “Customer Experience Email Marketing: Getting Ahead of the Consumer” for new ideas on giving your customers what they really want. Not only will they thank you with improved engagement, conversions, and retention, but you’ll achieve better business results.