by Adam T. Sutton
, Senior Reporter
The marketing team at Artbeads.com wanted to pursue targeted email marketing. The beads and jewelry-making supply retailer sent marketing emails each week, but they were the same for everyone on its list.
Devin Kimura, CEO at Artbeads.com, wanted to avoid getting addicted to the quick revenue that can come from batch-and-blast.
"When you have to pay those bills, you run a big batch-and-blast promotion with a sitewide coupon that can bring a lot of money in the door. Then you have to replenish that inventory you just sold, so you have to run another discount campaign. Then your customers start to get hooked on the discounts coming… It's a very damaging cycle," Kimura says.
Kimura and his team needed to identify valuable segments, send targeted emails, and increase results -- all on a small budget.
Artbeads.com tested targeted emails in several one-off campaigns last year. The team hoped to prove the value of sending targeted emails, generate revenue, and spur the company to invest further.
Here are the steps taken to launch one of these campaigns:
Step #1. Target a high-value segment
Having studied email marketing for years and written heaps of email case studies, I've noticed that a good way to find a valuable segment is to start with the good ol' RFM model. You can look at your email subscribers across one of these three factors:
- Recency - how recently has the subscriber made a purchase?
Example: Subscribers who have purchased in the last 72 hours may be more willing to respond to a targeted email campaign than others.
- Frequency - how often does the subscriber purchase?
Example: Subscribers who purchased three or more times in the last six months might be more willing to respond than others.
- Monetary - how much does the subscriber spend? This factor can also be thought of as "volume."
Example: Subscribers who spent 50% more than your average lifetime customer value last year might be more willing to respond than others.
This is not the be-all and end-all of email segmentation, but it is a good start. It can also apply to almost any action, such as opens, clicks or downloads (not just purchases).
Target one-time big spenders
For this effort, Artbeads.com looked to the "monetary" factor. The campaign targeted people who had all the following attributes:
- Current email subscriber
- Made only one purchase in the last 18 months
- Purchase amount ranked in the top 25% of all orders placed in that period
This amounted to less than 10% of the team's database but still more than 6,000 subscribers.
"We were thinking that these would be good candidates to reengage to get them to order again," says Cortney Wright, VP, Artbeads.com.
Step #2. Craft email design and copy
Artbeads.com planned to send a one-time promotion to this audience to generate revenue and test the viability of the audience as an email segment. Instead of the generic, vague messaging that is common to batch-and-blast emails, the team worked for a personal connection.
Here are the key features of the email for this campaign
The email is written as a letter from Kimura, thanking the customer for purchasing. Here's the first line:
"My name is Devin Kimura, and I'm the CEO of Artbeads.com"
The only image in the email is a large picture of Kimura smiling. The copy maintains a personal tone and is about 10 short sentences in length.
Make them feel special
The email's subject line and greeting use the subscriber's first name. Since many consumers have seen this tactic before, the team took extra steps to ensure the readers realized that this email was especially for them.
The email said whom it was for in very specific terms:
- "I'd like to thank you personally for your purchase on our website. It was among the larger orders placed in the last 18 months!"
- "But we've noticed that you've only purchased one time!"
Give an exclusive discount
The single call-to-action in the email was embodied in a large button that linked to the homepage. The button included a coupon code and this text:
"Click here to use your exclusive 20% Off"
The email mentions that the recipients are "among the very few select clients" who are receiving the offer. This emphasizes the exclusivity of the offer and contributes to its appeal.
Add urgency to offer
The team sent the email on Dec. 21 and gave the offer a touch of urgency with the following copy:
"The clock is ticking, however! Use this coupon by December 24 to jumpstart your supplies for a new year of creating!"
Step #3. Send and track results
Artbeads.com had completed its largest holiday promotions in November. The team hoped this email, sent on Dec. 21, would spur purchases from some of the high-value customers who did not respond the month prior.
The team was thrilled with the results. The targeted, segmented send achieved the following:
- Open rate: 20.25%
- CTR: 4.36%
- Conversion rate: 0.71% (conversion defined as "purchase")
"Seeing these emails coming in at 0.7% was just wonderful to see," Wright says
That conversion rate is 208% higher than even the high-end of the team's typical batch-and-blast emails, which range from 0.04% to 0.23% for conversions. The email had similar increases in the open and clickthrough rates, Wright says.
"It's very easy to demonstrate ROI on a program like that," Kimura says. "It just opened my eyes to the different possibilities with what we are doing."
Keep the list strong
In theory, the team could have sent this email to its entire list and generated the same amount of total revenue for this one send. That, however, would have encouraged a large number of subscribers to start ignoring the company's emails (or even mark them as spam).
"These types of campaigns appeal to a specific group, and it's important that we maintain the integrity of our list. Marketing the wrong message to our group is going to increase our unsubscribe rate and [hurt] the response to our emails," Kimura says.
- helped the team identify the campaign's audience and craft the email
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