Email has surpassed and has been surpassing all the marketing channels when you compare the revenue/expense ratio for each of them.
Also, it is one of the preferred channels to receive marketing messages (source) and requires relatively lesser maintenance, skills, and cost, making even small businesses have the benefit of larger enterprises.
However, not surprisingly, our tolerance level towards non-contextual emails is declining.
Amid the technological advancement that makes capturing customer data and leveraging it for personalization easier than ever, this development is fairly understandable.
For a brand, personalization is quickly transitioning from ‘advantage’ to ‘imperative’.
For instance, DMnews had published this story in 2016 where it compiled the opinions of nearly 16 CMOs about what they think is the most critical expectation of customers from marketers. The most repeated answer was ‘personalization’.
Personalization focuses on consumer needs. It is the by-product of targeting. That implies if your email strategy lacks the component of targeting, it isn’t going to yield anything.
What is Targeted email marketing?
Targeting email marketing, like the name suggests, is when you skip the spray-and-pray method of email marketing and restrict your campaign to a qualified, segmented list of users who would find context in your email.
Amazon is the role model for targeted email marketing. Taking their example alone makes anyone sound like Captain Obvious. But Amazon is Amazon. Not every business can emulate Amazon in the level of targeting that their emails have. Or, can it?
In this post, we are going to mention what is a targeted email campaign? and some of the successful targeted email campaigns launched by our own clients, which are businesses of varying sizes, which would rival Amazon’s any day.
1. Targeted page abandonment email
Less than 3% of users actually convert on their first visit to the e-commerce website. Site abandonment is one of the major opportunities cum challenge, mostly for e-commerce businesses. In fact, that’s one of the first use-cases that e-commerce prospects come to us with during their onboarding.
Product page abandonment is one such opportunity- user viewing the product page but not completing the checkout.
What’s the solution? Contextually engaging the lost users like Zivame did.
Zivame, India’s largest lingerie retailer, worked on this use-case. They created a journey which nudges user to purchase the same product that they abandoned.
They were previously accomplishing it via web push which gave them a whooping 20% uplift in conversion. (case study)
2. Reactivation email
Users previously showing intent in your product but then bouncing off to never return is everyone’s problem. To mitigate that, businesses run reactivation campaigns like Testbook did.
The following email was sent to the users who registered but didn’t return to Testbook for a period of 15 straight days.
The campaign was spread across multiple channels- web push, mobile push including email and eventually managed to reactivate 15% of inactive users.
3. Booking abandonment email
Booking abandonment is one of the most critical use-cases for OTA (Online Travel Agencies).
Goibibo, one of the largest OTAs in India, addressed this use-case. Here is the email that went to the users who searched for the flight but didn’t complete the booking.
The above targeted email alone managed to achieve 11% uplift in conversion. You can read what they did in detail here.
Most of the personalized elements that you see above were being stored in the WebEngage system. For the data which weren’t stored, Goibibo guys made API calls in real time to fetch data from their external CRM and incorporated it in the email. Check out the journey in the previous link.
4. Encourage targeted repeat purchase email
Slicepay is a fintech company which gives microcredit to college students. The success of Slicepay lies in students making repeat purchases with the credit they provide.
Slicepay sends this to users who have not made any purchase in past 30 days.
The most impressive part of this email is the custom credit attribute (highlighted in the above image)- telling users exactly how much they have to spend- an example of acute personalization.
5. Targeted Cart Abandonment Email
If your website is built on CMSes like Magento, Shopify or WordPress, then there are various readily available free and paid apps that allow you to send cart abandonment emails.
A simple query on Shopify app store gave me around 50 such apps which let you address cart abandonment use-case via email. However, with readymade products, the scope of customization decreases. Further, adding complex personalization, like user’s wallet balance- something which is stored in your external CRM, (what Slicepay did above) looks implausible with these apps.
Either way, let’s come back to the example and see what Housejoy did.
Housejoy, a hyperlocal services startup, simply ran a journey to nudge users who showed the intent of purchase (by filling up the form) but didn’t ever complete the transaction.
Following is the email that was triggered to the user who didn’t complete the transaction for 15 days
The email is personalized in the subject line, which is fine. But the unique thing is the CTA URL that takes users back to the page where they had abandoned the purchase.
How is this powerful? Housejoy user transcends through multiple pages before completing a transaction. The above email takes you to the exact page where you left the booking- a brilliant example of hyper-personalization.
6. Time based reminder email
Amazon sent me this when a year had passed since I purchased my phone.
A year is an average time when people replace phones. (for iPhone users it depends on Tim Cook’s fancy) So, one would be certainly tempted to purchase if he comes across such message.
Sending a message when the time of a certain product is up can be a powerful trigger. We don’t get to see such messages often from other brands because it requires complex condition at the event level.
Testbook sends such email, although at a lesser granular level, when subscription of the certain product has expired. (remember, their user can buy multiple subscription-based products)
There could be myriad variations of the time-based reminders. Subscription reminder is just the basic example.
7. Goal Targeted Emails
Zengaming is an esports network. Unless you are a gamer it’s going to be difficult understanding their business so let’s skip what they do.
Let’s just only know that their first goal is to make user visit the ‘cases’ page. To accomplish that they trigger a notification as soon as the user registers.
However, if the user doesn’t react to the notification then he receives the following email.
The best part is that the notification is triggered when the user is live. The email is sent only when there is a timeout i.e. user is no more on the site- a prudent use of the two channels, without over notifying users to the point of annoying them. (Read full story here)
8. Re-targeting email
Local services platform Sulekha sends this email when a user leaves the platform without completing the service request.
This communication is actually spread across multiple channels and is sent to the user depending on his reachability. You could view the journey that triggered this journey and read more about its success here.
Ready to start targeted email marketing?
There are some truly awesome tools out there, to help you do email marketing, like Sendgrid, Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor etc. MailChimp even offers a free plan (minus support) which has made targeted email marketing accessible to even private individuals like designers, freelancers etc. But these tools stand out only if you have just started.
It is not possible to address the use-cases discussed in this post with the aforementioned tools.
The use-cases that we discussed are examples of behavioral targeting- taking action based on user action. Tools like Sendgrid, at best, allow you to do targeting based on profile data- which you upload via CSV.
But segments built on profile attributes are static. They are only good when you have a certain simple use-case like sending newsletter to all your subscribers.
To execute such level of targeted email marketing you need a tool that captures user actions- custom events. The event data can then be leveraged to personalize content, create segments and most importantly understand user behavior on your product.
Check out this content- docs.webengage.com/v1.0/docs/events. It’s a doc article but very useful if you are it.
Speaking of the engagement platforms that capture and let you leverage user actions, there are plenty of choices out there. WebEngage is one of them. If you need a demo, you can schedule it here.