Monday Catch-up: Contextual Campaigns, Deliverability and ‘Harvesting’ Subscribers

Happy Monday morning, marketers. We scoped out the latest news and info from the wide world of email marketing to make easy for you to get your week off to an informed start. Read on, and have a great week!

Contextual campaigns provide value beyond marketing

“Contextual campaigns go well beyond ‘the right message to the right person at the right time,’” writes Rebecca Lieb at Marketing Land. “Linking context to the brand and your organization’s overarching strategy is key, not just using technology for its own sake. And with contextual, don’t forget that it’s not just the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me), but also what’s in it for my organization, my customers and my prospects.”

Lieb writes that the “obvious benefits” of contextual campaigns to marketers include the fact that “more targeted and individualized communications can result in amazing ROI.” She adds that “context also boosts campaign attribution and can be a great contributor to customer loyalty.” In addition, she suggests that organizations can use insights garnered from contextual campaigns to “develop new products and update existing ones” and to gain “visibility into areas that were previously black holes, such as the supply chains.” Lieb also cites several benefits to customers that contextual campaigns provide, include improved service and “simply being helpful and useful in a general sense in a way that’s relevant to the brand.”

Four types of emails that can damage your deliverability

“In love and in marketing, you have to learn to admit when a relationship isn’t working—especially when the email subscribers you’re attempting to woo are hurting your performance numbers,” writes Chad White at Marketing Profs. He suggests that not paying close attention to list maintenance not only creates the risk that you will send messages “to bots and people who don’t want to hear from you,” but that it can also result in “damaging your engagement rates and deliverability rates, making it harder for you to reach the subscribers who do want to hear from you.”

White identifies four types of email addresses that he claims can damage deliverability and provides specific suggestions for managing each type: invalid addresses, spam traps, role-based addresses (e.g., “sales@company.com”), and inactive subscribers. “Email is a great medium for connecting with leads and customers. But when your list becomes bloated with bad addresses and inactive subscribers, it’s time to clean house,” he writes.

Tips for a healthy subscriber ‘harvest’ to ensure a successful winter

As Game of Thrones often reminds us, “winter is coming.” That serves as more ominous warning for the beleaguered citizens of Westeros than it does for email marketers. Nevertheless, writing at the Huffington Post, Seamus Eagan wants email marketers to take action now, during autumn, to be sure they are ready for winter’s arrival. “For email marketers, this season is devoted to preparing for the busy seasonal sales ahead. In a way, they can take a cue from farmers by harvesting healthy contact lists from their fields of customer data and storing their most fruitful campaigns for future success.”

Eagan has three harvest-influenced tips to help email marketers prepare for winter. First, he suggests trimming your contact lists by “removing contacts who have shown weak engagement in the past, and let them lie fallow this upcoming season.” Second, “sow” your subscriber base by preparing contacts “with an explanation of the types of messages they’re likely to receive in the next few months — including promotions, company updates, one-time sales and newsletters.” And third, weed out ineffective campaigns by using A/B split testing of messages with different images, wording and length (in both subject lines and copy) and then monitoring results “to find out which of the messages you planted were the most fruitful.”

Cart-abandonment messages found effective

Jess Nelson, writing at MediaPost’s Email Marketing Daily, reports on a recent study conducted by Barilliance that showed that almost a fifth of all cart abandonment emails lead to a conversion. The study analyzed 200 e-commerce sites “to determine the frequency and best practices of cart-abandonment campaigns — emails triggered by a consumer leaving a digital shopping cart before completing a purchase,” according to Nelson.

The study found an average conversion rate of 18% for cart-abandonment emails – but indicated that that success is largely dependent on how quickly the consumer receives the email after leaving the cart without purchasing. “The conversion rates of emails sent to a consumer within an hour of the time they first abandoned an online shopping cart peaks at 20.3%, according to Brilliance, but a delay of one day nearly cuts that conversion rate in half,” Nelson writes. “Only 12.2% of emails convert to a sale if they are sent more than 24 hours after the initial cart abandonment.”