3 quick wins to be sure you reach your customers this holiday

Email continues to be one of the strongest online and in-store drivers. In fact, according to the DMA “Take outs from the Email Deliverability Masterclass” (2012), 72 percent of marketers feel email is great for developing loyal and active customers.

But email communication is not always easy. A retailer’s email database is often plagued by inactive subscribers and bad email addresses collected across multiple channels. Bad email addresses lead to a high volume of bounces, which impact sender reputation and long term inbox placement rates.

These challenges become more prevalent as retailers enter the holiday season and look to engage consumers during one of the busiest and most profitable times of the year. While the overall cross-channel strategy is extremely important, email is a crucial component of any cross-channel marketing plan.

Those retailers who make time to truly know their customers and communicate with them effectively are more likely to outperform their competitors during the holiday season.

One of the main ways retailers can better reach consumers is by ensuring proper management of their email subscriber list. Databases are often riddled with errors or poorly managed, leaving carefully crafted holiday messages without a recipient.

Before the holiday season moves into full swing, retailers need to get back to basics and be certain they have accurate email addresses for consumers. Below, I’ve listed quick wins that many retailers leverage to help improve the quality of their email database.

Audit your database:

Most often, organizations do not have a system in place for recording, tracking and analyzing bounces. I’ve also seen that many marketers do not analyze inactive or incorrect emails within their database. Remember, not all non-responders are the same.

Marketers should take an assessment of what is correct within their database before the holiday season. It is important to understand which email addresses are bad and which email addresses represent consumers who are not engaged. From there, retailers can strategize reengagement campaigns and work to correct bad email addresses to stay connected with as many subscribers as possible.

Be proactive with new subscribers:

Make sure to validate all newly collected email addresses before they are introduced to your marketing campaigns. It is very easy for syntax errors to occur when entering an email address. A large portion of these errors represent interested customers who might potentially purchase, but whose information was likely submitted incorrectly.

The ideal tool will identify several types of errors, including syntax errors, invalid domains and spam traps.

Look for long term success:

By improving email data quality before the holiday season, retailers will ensure that coupons and other important marketing messages reach each consumer’s inbox. Accurate email data will help retailers fully leverage communications for the 2013 holiday season, but also in the year ahead. This improves customer insight over time and allows each retailer to build a single customer view and interact more intelligently with clients.

Be sure this basic component of your holiday planning is not overlooked.

For more information and tips view this recent webinar recording on engaging subscribers through email.

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