From the pandemic, to supply chain issues, to big changes from Apple and Google on the near-term horizon, old ways of working have been tossed out the window. Now, marketers are scrambling to innovate and find new, better ways to connect with customers.

And the smartest email experts out there are succeeding by using the combination of automation and first-party data to personalize interactions like never before.

The shift to online shopping isn’t slowing down anytime soon

Today’s consumers are savvy online searchers, shoppers, and influencers. They seek out companies that offer the best customer experience and are quick to leave if they don’t get what they want.

In fact, 66% of consumers agree that the pandemic has made them appreciate well-designed technology more than before. And this has put a lot of strain on marketers—including 59% who have already considered quitting their current position at least once over the past year due to all of this added pressure.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the entire digital marketing game is shifting. Planning in annual cycles, relying on cookies to help with targeting, assuming that customers will do what you want them to—these norms are gone.

Now, you need to be more flexible, more agile, and less reliant on big companies so that you can move at the speed of your customers, capture trends, and remain relevant. And while this sounds like a lot of extra work, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can probably achieve all of this with just a few tweaks to what you already have in place.

Download our latest resource—A Marketer’s Guide to Working Smarter Not Harder—to find out how you can add automation and first-party data into your email campaigns for extra flexibility, unlimited scalability, and even more impressive results going forward!

According to a 2019 Econsultancy survey, email is the most effective marketing channel, and it’s also an important link to other customer experiences on site, in store and on mobile apps. Getting email just right means making the entire customer shopping experience that much more relevant and effective. Hot Topic certainly does this, which is why the retailer won a MediaPost EIS Awards for Email Marketing Excellence in the Interactive Emails category.

Hot Topic used to have an animation in an email that looked like a scratch-off ticket, but wasn’t interactive. While the imagery was creative, it didn’t drive clicks to the site, and created a disappointing experience. The team knew that an interactive email experience could get people to go to the site at higher rates by increasing engagement

Working with Liveclicker, Hot Topic created a fully interactive email design that would click to reveal a personalized, integrated offer based on data inputs from past purchase behavior. The emails showcased seasonally themed animation teasing either a 30%, 40%, or 50% discount that the customer would reveal by clicking.

Hot Topic -- Interactive Offer

The retailer then added both “copy to clipboard” and “shop now” calls-to-action to drive customers to the site easily. Similarly, if a customer can’t finish shopping in that session, a “remembering” feature ensures that the next time they open that email, the offer is already revealed and the code is waiting. 

While Hot Topic and Liveclicker had done scratch-offs and coupons separately, the combination was new and innovative for the Hot Topic team. Liveclicker helped to streamline the back end experience so that both the engaging “scratch” interaction and the underlying coupon assignment could be integrated at moment-of-open in a consistent experience for all customers, and with minimal back-end work for the Hot Topic email team. 

Hot Topic measured click-to-open rates and click-through rates to see if the new interactive feature was successful at driving engagement. Comparing the interactive mystery scratch-off emails to other campaigns that promoted equivalent offers showed just how valuable the concept was for Hot Topic. The newly interactive mystery campaigns on average saw a 30% increase in click-to-opens, 25% increase in click-through rate, and because they were driving more people to the site, a 14% increase in conversion rate over equivalent campaigns without the new feature.

This wasn’t the only EIS Award win for CM Group, either. RevZilla and Raise, two of our sister brand Sailthru’s customers, won awards as well.