Email as the Killer App—The Latest

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Email has been around for many years. Just like other Internet marketing techniques, the way in which we go about using it has evolved dramatically since its introduction. When using email today, it is important to have a plan to quantify success, provide consistently valuable content, and build a profile of everyone in your database.

With today’s sophisticated mail list programs, you are able to build a profile of everyone in your mail list database. You can do this in one of three ways:

  1. Track the click.
  2. Ask the question.
  3. Track the behavior.

By building a profile, you are able to distinguish which of your customers are interested in the various bits of information you may send out. Once you have these profiles in place, you will be able to send out messages that employ dynamic personalization. With dynamic personalization you can use each customer’s profile to send them targeted emails based on their individual preferences.

Dynamic personalization is being used by many businesses to track users’ clicks in order to determine their priorities and preferences. Using this information, you are able to send customized emails based on the customer’s individual preferences. Let’s say we have a bookseller online that sells all kinds of books. If someone in their database has shown interest in the business books and nothing else, then this person would receive customized emails about the business books and nothing else. If, however, someone in their database has shown interest in both their business books and children’s books, then this person would receive customized emails that list both business books and children’s books. These dynamically personalized emails are customized and personalized to also include the individual’s name and other information based on their priorities and preferences; all of this information is provided in their profile.

Another great application of direct mail list marketing is the ability to perform behavioral targeting. While dynamic personalization focuses on the individuals’ preferences and priorities, behavioral targeting focuses on the actual behavior. Behavioral marketers target consumers by serving ads to predefined categories. Let’s say a user visits several Web pages related to business books. On the next page the user goes to, he or she will be presented with a businessbook-
related ad. The key for this ad is not the actual profile, but the user’s behavior. Had the user visited several pages related to amusement parks, he or she may have been presented with an ad for Six Flags Amusement Parks. Amazon.com uses a type of behavioral targeting. On Amazon.com when you search for, or purchase, a book, you are presented with “people who bought this item also bought. . . ,” and a list follows.

The Good News—Social Media, RSS, and Email Are Not Mutually Exclusive

A better alternative to choosing one over the other is to incorporate email, social media, and RSS as parts of your marketing mix. It is not a bad idea to make your content available through all means or offer some of your content through email, some through your social media, and some through RSS.