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What are the best ways to ensure potential customers don’t opt out from your marketing emails? Tom Waterfall, director of optimisation solutions at Webtrends, spills the secrets


rom a consumer’s point of view, subscribing to a company’s mailing list can be a double-edged sword.

While it can net the subscriber great discounts and ensure they are kept informed about the latest product news, it also potentially opens the door to a host of irrelevant emails that threaten to drown out the messages that matter. Now, it’s even easier to hit the unsubscribe button. User-friendly applications to manage email subscriptions, such as, have proved popular with people looking to clean up their inbox. All users have to do is input their email address and they are presented with a list of companies to which they are subscribed. They can then select which brands they want to hear from and have them rolled into one daily email – or sever all brand ties with one simple click. A survey from SilverPop found

that the industry with the highest email spam complaint rates is the travel and leisure industry. So how do you ensure your company doesn’t make the unsubscribe list? In this day and age it’s never been

more important to use existing intelligence to create the right content for the right customer, from your email communications to the entire online experience.

Contextual personalisation Traditionally, when companies have looked to personalise the online experience for customers (if they have at all), they’ve looked at one or two key factors:

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account is what their current situation is – real-time factors such as the device being used, the user’s location, time of day, and place in the customer journey. Contextual personalisation is the

Waterfall: Be personal when emailing ■ Who the customer is – known

information such as demographic, gender, region, credit rating, existing or new customer. ■ What they’ve done in the past (historical) – previous online behaviours such as browsing history, in-session actions and purchases. What’s often not taken into

What could this mean for your business? Let’s look at an example customer – James who lives in Reading. James is usually a business user, but when he returns to your website for personal use, he’ll want a different experience. By analysing his data, Webtrends’

next level of online personalisation – it allows businesses to look at all three of these elements simultaneously. By combining deep analysis of customer behaviour with real-time data, businesses can deliver interesting, relevant experiences based on the customer’s specific needs at that specific time – giving the customer what they want, when they need it.

tools can work out which “persona” he is using – work James or home James – and predict what he’ll do next. This allows your company to serve up the most suitable offers, for instance, a great family holiday deal rather than discounts on executive travel, resulting in greater conversion. Taking a step further, contextual

personalisation can look at what’s known historically about James and combine it with real-time data, such as the weather that day in Reading (it’s raining). Rather than sending a one-size-fits-all email, your business could personalise these for James and his current situation that day, for instance, suggesting holiday sun offers to help him escape the great British weather. Here are some more top tips for

travel companies to move from “batch-and-blast” email marketing to intelligent, relevant campaigns that customers want to read. ■ Be mobile-ready: With 48% of emails being opened on mobile devices, it’s imperative your email campaigns are mobile-optimised or you may see a decline in click-through rates or risk losing the customer. ■ Timing is everything: Be aware of when you send out promotional messages to ensure you stand out from competitors. A recent survey from Experian also found that late nights and weekends are key times for email marketing as there is less competition so open rates are higher. It’s also important to identify peak mobile-usage times to make the most of mobile reading during this time. ■ Get the all-important feedback: If a customer no longer wishes to hear from you, a simple exit- survey can give important insight into why they are unsubscribing. You can then use the feedback to improve your marketing efforts, benefitting the other customers on your mailing list as well as informing your business strategies going forward. Get all of these factors right, and

Timing emails correctly can help keep subscribers on the list

you’ll ensure your business avoids the dreaded “unsub” list.

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