An examination of stale experiences in promotional email
The special role of the promotional email channel
Your customer has agreed to receive regular content from you in their inbox. How you treat this access has serious implications for your long-term relationship with each customer.
The goal of any CRM team is to engage customers and inspire purchases with a long-term relationship in mind. This is the one channel where the customer has agreed to let you take the wheel and guide their online experience, and as such it is important to provide relevant content that keeps customers engaged.
Unfortunately, stale content in email is detrimental to customer relationships
If a customer stops opening your emails, it’s likely they will unsubscribe or your emails will eventually be filtered as spam. As your open rates drop, you relinquish the influence you have over user behavior.
Causes of staleness
There are a number of causes for stale, repetitive promotional emails including:
Repetitive recommendations caused by misapplication of lower funnel recommendation technology. Continuous mails get sent with no adaptation of recommendations. (real life example)
Generic discount driven emails - an all too common scenario
A brute force solution
Some marketers have tried to address stale content through segmentation, separating customers into attribute specific groups and hand-picking products for each one, but there are several challenges with this method:
- It’s time consuming - granular segments are needed to make this work at a basic level.
- It’s still quite generic - segments can only be so fine, and it’s not possible to capture every customer’s unique preferences and interests.
- Content is static - once a campaign is started, content cannot be changed to reflect inventory levels or freshness of content.
The solution: unique, curated content for each customer, adapted for every email.
In 2015, global leaders like eBay, One King's Lane, and Paypal seized the opportunity to address promotional email and realized benefits including:
- Revenue lift per opened email ranging from 15% to 80%. (Multiplied across promotional emails this can lead to enterprise revenue gains of up to 10%).
- Rising customer engagement while having a high frequency of email.
- Dramatic increases in activation of low purchase frequency customers.