Machine Learning: A competitor email experiment

A firm belief of the dotmailer team is that marketing automation allows marketers to focus more of their time on the strategic thinking and worry less about the manual tasks and execution. And software like dotmailer is needed to do this in various facets, from sorting and cleansing data, to designing marketing messages, scheduling them and so on. This is why we appreciate when our partners work on projects that apply the same belief. Enter Other Media, a digital agency we work with…

If you’re considering how to make the most of your email marketing, chances are you’ve been investigating personalisation and automation. As an agency defining and designing digital solutions for clients, the machine learning techniques that underpin this intelligent approach to marketing have caught our interest and we wanted to investigate their potential a little further.

We partner with dotmailer (an email marketing automation software) to help our clients, and Other Media as an agency, to get to grips with understanding our customers, but what about our competitors?

It is absolutely the right thing to focus on your customers and understanding their needs and behaviours from analysing their interactions with your brands. However, we can all benefit from taking a more outward looking approach – remembering to look at the market in which you operate.

It can be very useful to take the same way of thinking and processes that you apply to your customer marketing and apply them to your competitors. Getting hung up on what your competitors are doing isn’t healthy but keeping an eye on what they are doing, with minimal input and effort required, can be a very useful thing.

So, how did Other Media do it?

Ok, so we didn’t actually train a puppy, we trained an algorithm to sort documents, but that doesn’t sound as fun or useful. Useful, though, is hugely underplaying the importance of our latest experimentation.  

At Other Media, we thrive on delving into new trends and technologies by experimenting with what is available to help us, and our clients, to provide the best solutions for business needs. And this time the trend we focused on is Artificial intelligence (AI).

The last few weeks have seen us utilising machine learning, a particular branch of AI, to enhance our ambient data technologies. We wanted to see what AI could do for us in terms of analysing vast swathes of data in order to help us understand competing brands.

The ambient data technology, JustNow, collects real-time or near real-time data from multiple sources including Google Analytics, social media, news feeds and email newsletter campaigns. Our custom data displays help our clients to see the bigger picture of how their marketing activities, and those of their competitors, might be driving visitors, sales and value.

We used machine learning technology to distil insight from data and present it through this ambient, real-time display. We looked at the collection and display of competitor newsletters and asked ourselves this question:

Can we build a picture of what is going on in a competitive market by using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to automate the reading and classification of news?

Well the spoiler is that, yes, we can.

To find out more about machine learning (what it is, what its applications and implications for businesses are), and see what our resulting data screen looked like and get a feel for how it could look for your organisation, download the experiment report here.

The post Machine Learning: A competitor email experiment appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotmailer.com

3 ways to add user-generated content to triggered email campaigns

Yet due to their automated nature, many marketers shy away from the idea of personalizing triggered email visual content beyond basic audience segmentation. However, adding personalized visual content to even the most specific triggered email campaigns can greatly impact their effectiveness. And, if done correctly, implementing this personalized content only requires legwork in the initial set up of the campaign.

User-generated content (UGC) can add that personal touch to triggered email campaigns — allowing email subscribers to see and interact with authentic photos and videos of your brand and its products. A study by Pixlee has shown that displaying user-generated content on marketing channels can increase online conversions 2-4x. The power of user-generated content can also be brought to different triggered email campaigns.

In this post, we’re going to explore three types of triggered emails that can be enhanced with user-generated content to increase click-through and conversions.

Abandoned cart emails

Marketers project almost visceral reactions when talking about shopping cart abandonment. They are aware that it’s a big problem yet at the same time a lucrative opportunity. Approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year and about 63% of that revenue is potentially recoverable.

Displaying product-specific customer photos and videos in abandoned cart emails can help to contextualize products for shoppers who are still in the early stages of the purchase funnel. It also adds a layer of social proof and peer validation to help shoppers, who may not be able to touch and feel a product as they would in a store, to make a purchase with confidence.

Browse recovery emails

While product page browsers may not have as high of intent to purchase as those who leave items in abandoned online carts, these browsers have still indicated some interest. Consider this: If you only send emails to subscribers who have abandoned items in cart, you’re ignoring 75% of shoppers who could be re-engaged to re-visit your website.

One way to display user-generated content in browse recovery emails is to highlight similar products to re-engage these browsers. It can help the browser to discover relevant products offered by your brand that he or she might be interested in.

Lifecycle emails

Finally, lifecycle email campaigns (such as Welcome emails, Order Confirmation emails, or Shipping Confirmation emails) can play important roles in your customer loyalty and retention.

While the primary message of these emails is transactional, displaying user-generated content to upsell and cross-sell can help to personalize these email campaigns. Furthermore, incorporating real customer photos and videos into lifecycle emails can also help you to highlight your greater brand story through email touchpoints.

Conclusion

Triggered emails are a powerful way to personalize brand messaging and to recover revenue. To improve your triggered email campaign engagement and increase click-through rate, consider your visual content. Does it contextualize your products in an authentic way? Does it help your subscriber to discover similar or complementary products? If the answer is no, consider using real customer photos and videos to enhance your email engagement and encourage website revisits.

The post 3 ways to add user-generated content to triggered email campaigns appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 4 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Email marketing for ecommerce

As a marketer you know the importance of data. Without it you don’t know who your customer is, how to target them and, even worse, you don’t know how your activity is performing.

When you sell online your ecommerce platform collects a lot of data. Your chosen platform knows who your customers are, where they live and what they buy. It also knows about all your products.

Wouldn’t it be great to use all that data in your email marketing, without having to get a team of developers to do all the work to integrate the platforms? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could do it all yourself, and have the data flowing in minutes?

Well today might be your lucky day.

Introducing Commerce Flow

We’ve built our new Commerce Flow platform to make it easy for retailers to get data from their online store into dotmailer. By using Commerce Flow your customer, subscriber, product and order data will be made available in your dotmailer account without the need to bribe your developers to get the work done.
Once that data is in dotmailer you can use it to target your customer with laser-precision; personalise emails, easily showcase your products and power automation in record time.

The platform is currently compatible with Shopify Plus, Shopify and BigCommerce, but we’re not stopping there. Soon Commerce Flow will be compatible with over 50% of the world’s online stores, with additional support for WooCommerce and Shopware.

We look after the tough stuff

A welcome email is one of the most important emails for a new customer. Use our drag and drop Program Builder to design a welcome program, and you can use Commerce Flow to automatically enrol every new subscriber. You’ll be able to easily visualize the customer journey and engage every new contact without lifting a finger.

Set-up is super easy, and once it’s done you won’t have to worry about it again. Choose the data fields you want to sync and enjoy automatic targeting for both new customers and checkout abandoners.

“But I use Magento”

As a Premier Technology Partner of Magento, our integration with Magento 1 and 2 offers an even deeper connection. dotmailer for Magento gives you advanced data sync, along with detailed sync reports and single sign on. Plus, if you ever have a problem, our team of experts are on hand to help 24 hours a day, five days a week.

Drive your business with smarter targeting

Having seamless access to your ecommerce data allows better targeting on a mass scale. Score points for personalization and deliver relevant messages by using order history and customer information to create highly focused content for every contact.

Whether you’re using Commerce Flow or our Magento integration, our ecommerce partnerships allow you to better drive store revenue with your email marketing.

If you want to use Commerce Flow, we can help you get started. If you’re using Shopify, Shopify Plus or BigCommerce, you can get going today. If you’re using another platform, let us know.

The post Email marketing for ecommerce appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Can email newsletters be sexy?

Do you ever just open your mail app and think “what sexiness will I see today?” … no, I doubt you do. But think about this; there are specific reasons you’ve opened an email, clicked through to a website, or a completed an action – and that’s because the content is engaging and the email is visually stimulating.

So, what does make an email sexy? As above, content and appearance is key, but don’t forget about brand recognition. Keeping consistency between your newsletters will keep your customers loyal and of course get them talking to their friends; “Hey mate, you’ll never guess what I got emailed today, you’ll absolutely love it!”

Here are some of my recent favourites and why.

Brand: Paperchase

Why does it work?
Firstly, if you subscribe to Paperchase emails, you’ll know exactly why you like them: their subject lines! Secondly, if you aren’t a subscriber – do it now!

 

…. And the subject line for this email is *drumroll please*… Page Against the Machine – 20% off Notebooks.

Paperchase have fun subject lines throughout the year, often themed around seasonal events. And nine times out of then they tend to get a song stuck in your head!

So, what’s outstanding and sexy about this email? Besides the subject line, I absolutely love design; it’s like your very own notepad of things you want and are likely to buy – because you can never have too many notepads in my opinion (I have a huge soft spot for stationery). Paperchase doesn’t need to use large call-to-action buttons, because they’re heavily image-based newsletters and it’s easy to understand where you’ll be taken to when clicking on a product.

See the full email.

Brand: Daisy London

Why does it work?
Looking at the website, and looking back at this email, I don’t think I’d need to see the logo to recognise that this is Daisy London.

It’s one of the cleanest emails I’ve seen, and really utilises and makes the white space work for them.

I love the Instagram-style imagery which represents the type of audience they’re marketing to: think boho-chic / Coachella. It’s also obvious that this is a seasonal campaign – and it certainly makes me want to sit in the sunshine with a fruit cider while making daisy chains!

Next, onto the content. It’s short, friendly and readable, and all the key detail is held above fold (before you must to scroll to see the rest). There’s also a strong call to action (CTA) that you’re immediately drawn to because of the tonal contrast.

See the full email.

Brand: Grenson Shoes

Why does it work?
I really like the clean block imagery and centralised content in this email. I don’t feel bombarded with information, either – which is always a good start.

 

Grenson is a very unique brand within its industry, with all shoes being completely hand-made – and I feel that that comes across in the personality of the brand’s email creatives.

A few things in this email stand out for me. For starters, the subject line “Thank you [First Name]” is sweet and modest. Typically, key content and CTAs (call-to-actions) sit above fold – not in this case, because it’s a ‘Thank you’ message and Grenson has used a letter-style format that feels more personal. They thank [you] for [your] purchase, ask you to complete a one-minute survey (it’s very important to state an estimated completion time when asking someone to complete a survey). What’s more, they advise on aftercare for your brand-new shoes which is a fantastic customer experience.

See the full email.

Still needing some inspiration?

Check out our Hitting the Mark benchmark report – a free download featuring the hottest insights into 100 brands’ email marketing strategy.

The post Can email newsletters be sexy? appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Deliverability: it doesn’t have to be the Pandora’s Box of email marketing

Email marketers should not be scared of Deliverability – it’s an essential part of email marketing that needs to be understood in order to drive best-of-breed sending practices.

What is Deliverability?

Deliverability is quite literally the ability for your email campaign to reach the inbox of the recipient. It is crucial not to confuse “Deliverability” with “Delivery”. According to Return Path, Delivery measures emails that have not received a hard or soft bounce – i.e. that haven not been rejected – but it does not measure where the email has landed. Deliverability on the other hand refers to the placement of your emails, be that in the inbox, the spam folder or a black hole in some galaxy far, far away.

How can I – as an e-marketer – maximise the deliverability of my email campaigns? Here are my top 5 tips:

  1. Get permission!

Make sure that the contacts you are emailing have given permission to receive emails from you and are expecting what you send. Getting consent from your contacts and setting the right expectations from the beginning helps build a strong sending reputation.

  1. Listen to your contacts

Target your engaged contacts; this helps you to maintain a healthy sender reputation which helps maximise your delivery to the email client (i.e. Hotmail) and placement in the inbox. The contacts that are continually engaging are showing you that they want to hear from you. Be strategic when emailing your un-engaged contacts; it is recommended not to email subscribers that have not historically engaged with your brand. This depends on your recipients – when does it make sense to remove them? Different product/service/email lifecycles will dictate different engagement strategies. As said in tip #1, this is a conversation. If the recipient isn’t interested in continuing, it’s time to change what you are saying to them. At this point, create a strategy that will target unengaged recipients with the purpose of wining them back. If they don’t respond to your “win-back” strategy, stop emailing them. Continually emailing unengaged subscribers weakens your sender reputation, causing lower inbox placement and response rates.

  1. Maintain your list hygiene

This will help you with targeting content to specific subscribers. Ensure that you are utilising the folder system within your account in order to manage address books. This will help you identify contacts and organise them in a way that best fits your sending strategy.

  1. Segment based on suitability and email behaviour

Look at contact interactions such as opens, clicks and conversions. Remember, a conversion does not necessarily mean a purchase, but rather a positive action in response to a call-to-action. This will give you more visibility of your contacts, helping you to target and engage with them further.

  1. Use in-built deliverability tools

Use the dotmailer-provided tools to help you maintain a strong reputation. Run your contacts against the Global Suppression list: this will help remove any hard bouncers/known unknown users (recipients that don’t exist). This tool is in place to help maintain your sender reputation.

As a last note, it is worth mentioning that the Email Marketing Industry – in terms of regulation – is becoming very focused on anti-abuse. With the GDPR coming in to effect in 2018, it is essential that email marketers enforce best sending practices. Conforming to these practices doesn’t just help with compliance, but it also protects your business interests. From a deliverability perspective, reaching your customers’ inboxes is a pre-requisite of driving ROI through the email channel.

Get a free copy of our deliverability myths guide, written by our Chief Privacy Officer.

The post Deliverability: it doesn’t have to be the Pandora’s Box of email marketing appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Winning in customer moments: why email and lifecycle marketing go hand in hand

Today’s hyper-connected consumers are creatures of habit: they journey through lifecycles on the premise of conformity and uniformity, yet they’re also impulsive. They want to do what everyone else is doing; and most of all, they don’t want to feel left out. Marketers can leverage these shared human instincts with the data they hold on their customers; not necessarily in a big brother-esque ‘freaky’ kind of way, but rather in a soft approach that taps into our human nature. Lifecycle marketing messages should be emotive, precisely because their intention is to encourage an emotional response.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘lifecycle marketing’, Smart Insights defines it nicely as a “Contact strategy to prioritise and integrate the full range of marketing communications and experiences to support customers on their path to purchase.” And we know that adding an emotive and personalized layer to the messaging that’s sent to customers during their journey can really pack a punch.

We have all experienced this personal touch from an email marketing perspective – that birthday email from ASK Italian that made me book a table, for instance; the one-year anniversary email of my India trip which made me book a trip to Russia with the same company! Many brands are effectively using their customer data to drive brand loyalty and ROI. Nevertheless, there was one particular example I wanted to share because I consider it to be an exemplar of using email to enhance your lifecycle marketing.

In 2013, Mothercare had 280,000 names in their database, but now they have around 11 million in total – 3 million of which are active. According to Marketing Director Gary Kibble, the “richness” is in understanding the value of customers. For instance, a pre-natal customer is worth three times as much as a customer that shops after birth. This level of understanding comes from looking specifically at what, when and why customers purchase. Subsequently, Mothercare has built a “rich, visual picture” of customers based on information on the stage of their pregnancy.

Leveraging the above, Mothercare has created no less than 200 triggered emails to inform parents about what’s happening in their pregnancy, what they need to be thinking about, and what/when/why they need to purchase. Knowing the due-date means that this close, emotional relationship can continue after the baby is born and, importantly, remain relevant to the customer. This ties closely to the idea that humans (generally) conform, are uniform, and are impulsive. Here’s a typical example:

“Hmm, yeah, we need a baby rocking chair. It would be weird if we didn’t have a rocking chair, right? I mean, most people probably get one.

“Oooh, I really like that one; shall we buy that one?”  

In conclusion, Mothercare has effectively absorbed their customers’ insight, matched it with their product knowledge and, as a result, produced a great relationship with customers. Any retailer can digitally enhance their email marketing lifecycle with the end goal of driving customer value and increasing ROI. Core belief: the devil is in the data!

If you’d like to delve deeper into the world of lifecycle marketing, get a free copy of our guide that outlines why email is your lifeline when making customers for life.

The post Winning in customer moments: why email and lifecycle marketing go hand in hand appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

5 ecommerce automation programs that make email an essential marketing channel for retailers

Customer relationships are like any relationship – you need to put in the effort to make them work.  After the initial excitement of meeting, it’s important to keep letting them know you care and are there for them.

This is tricky enough in a 1 to 1 relationship.  When you, a retailer, have hundreds, thousands or possibly even millions of relationships to maintain, it’s impossible to do so manually, so use the tools available to you to take out the heavy lifting without letting engagement suffer.

Luckily, using customer data – their actions or inaction – you can send messages to your base tailored to where they are in their relationship with you, not where you are in your marketing plan.

Event triggered marketing and automation is highly effective way of keeping the love alive, while saving you time and money that you can reinvest in moving your business forward.

Here are 5 simple programs that will help your relationship tick over…

Thank you for subscribing

The first email any retailer should send their customers is, very simply, a thank you.

We’ve all seen stories and statistics on inbox overcrowding, so, if a customer has given you their email address you should recognize this is a privilege and thank them at the point of sign up.

You can extend this ‘thank you’ and send a short, automated welcome series, and use this opportunity to get to know each other better.  Retailers can use this opportunity to educate your new subscriber on the full range of your products, and in turn, invite your customer to provide further data and preferences on your site.

Automated Thank you or Welcome programs, when used effectively, help build brand engagement, trust and set expectations for a positive buyer seller relationship from the start.

Abandon cart

The people over at the Baymard Institute have compiled a survey review of the various reports available on online shopping behavior, and have concluded the average number of people abandoning their shopping cart is just over 69%.  This is a huge amount of potential lost revenue.

Reasons for customers abandoning vary.  They need either more time, more money, or more option to compare so make sure to send a timely reminder that you’re still there when they’re ready to purchase.

Depending on your product, the consideration cycle will range from 30 minutes to 30 days.  Use the insight you have available to target customers with an automated reminder message before they’re enticed away by your competitors. Around 63% of baskets are recoverable – find out more here.

New Information

If, like most retailers, you want optimum brand engagement through having your customers to engage with you across several online avenues then, there should be channel specific benefits to them doing so.

The same is true with email, and retailers can effectively make their beloved customers feel they are getting value from subscribing by automating worthwhile information for them.

Providing that you can get the product feeds into your email platform, you can send customers notifications on new stock, price drops or reviews to keep them engaged during the sale cycle.  Keeping them up to date on what matters most to them is a great way to show you that you really care.

It’s your birthday

As with any good relationship you’re trying to nurture, anniversaries are important.

You can choose what anniversary you want to acknowledge based on what makes sense for your business – sign up date, purchase date (high ticket items),or a customer’s actual birthday.  Using the date provided you can send a short personalized message to commemorate the date and given them a voucher, upgrade or other incentive you see fit.

This personalized touch of surprise and delight creates a deeper relationship and is a quick win to keeping your customers happy.

We miss you

If it looks like your customer is losing interest, you don’t have to let them walk away.

Convincing them to stay is easier when they’re still with you than once they’ve unsubscribed.  If a loyal customer has stopped buying from you then treat this like anyone else you’re trying to win over.  Make the effort to get in touch, help them feel special, remind them why you’re good for them, and if needs be, maybe give them a little incentive to come back to you.

Done well, the act of recognizing the relationship isn’t what it was will reignite the feeling that were once there, and if not, then, you tried and you know it’s over.

 

The Golden rule is that if you’ve got the data, you can automate the message. Start simple and scale, it’ll make all the difference to your relationships.

The post 5 ecommerce automation programs that make email an essential marketing channel for retailers appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 3 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Faster, smarter email marketing for APAC customers

Another exciting landmark in dotmailer’s APAC expansion sees the launch of our brand-new data centre in Australia. As well as enhancing performance, the new instance of the platform also offers enhanced security and privacy, thanks to the combination of a physical data centre in Sydney and the utilisation of Microsoft Azure’s cloud technologies for security and encryption.

The upgrade to our infrastructure means we’re now able to store our customers’ data within the region, fully complying with the 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APP).

We opened our first Australian office in 2015 and the warm reception of our software led to the opening of a second office in Melbourne in 2016. Globally, there are around 80,000 marketers in 150 countries using the dotmailer platform – so partnering with leading technologies like Microsoft Azure truly underpins our growing presence.

“dotmailer’s customers consist of marketers and businesses that want an intuitive yet sophisticated online tool that helps them engage with their customers more effectively. By launching in Australia, we can offer customers a secure and faster service in the APAC region,” said Steve Shaw, Chief Technology Officer for dotmailer.

You can find out more about dotmailer’s infrastructure and the seriousness we place on privacy via our Trust Centre.

The post Faster, smarter email marketing for APAC customers appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 3 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Marketers can now combine the power of email with Salmat’s SMS platform in Australia

We’re delighted to announce that Salmat’s SMS distribution platform, MessageNet, is the first Australian extension to be integrated into dotmailer, making SMS easier and more cost-effective than ever before.

Salmat’s Digital Business Manager for Lifecycle Marketing, Melle Staelenberg, believes that the combination of MessageNet’s SMS capabilities and dotmailer’s excellent marketing automation platform is primed to deliver great benefits for marketers and drive overall campaign effectiveness, particularly for time-critical campaigns.

“The SMS functionality integrates seamlessly with dotmailer’s clear, easy-to-use drag and drop campaign interface, making it simple for marketers to build automations with both email and SMS interactions at appropriate points in the campaign. Not to mention with SMS, marketers can expect an open rate of around 98%,” said Melle.

MessageNet for dotmailer enables marketers to automatically deliver an SMS when emails show no engagement. This is ideal for more urgent, time-sensitive messages such as sales promotions, password resets and other account-related information.

Founder & President of dotmailer, Tink Taylor, said that Salmat has been a Gold Partner of dotmailer for more than two years and the integration of MessageNet further strengthens this relationship:

“We’re pleased to continue building our strategic partnership with Salmat by making MessageNet available as an integration in the dotmailer marketplace. Combining SMS and email is a proven success formula for retailers. We see great potential for marketers to take advantage of this extension to achieve even greater results in a cost-effective and efficient way,” said Tink.

MessageNet complements email marketing, delivering undeniable benefits to marketers:

  • SMS has an open rate of around 98%
  • MessageNet is ideal for messages that can’t wait
  • 90% of all SMS messages are read within three minutes of delivery
  • Average click-through rate for SMS is 36%; more than five times what is typically achieved with email

Why not give it a try by signing up for a free MessageNet trial or for more information visit our App Directory.

The post Marketers can now combine the power of email with Salmat’s SMS platform in Australia appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 4 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com