Holiday Inbox Clutter

How Marketers Can Break Through The Holiday Inbox Clutter

As we approach the holidays, life gets a little crazier for everyone. This can also be said of our inboxes. Whether it’s endless holiday sales, end-of-season news, invitations to parties, charities, or events, or business updates, there are a flood of messages competing for our attention.

For marketers, capturing and maintaining customer engagement during the holidays has become more challenging than ever. However, many companies continue to break through the clutter and are achieving holiday email marketing success. Here are some of their secrets:

Be Relevant

According to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2015 National Client Email Report, email has shifted from “work-horse to work-horse with brains” when it comes to delivering relevant content. Today, an estimated 86% of email campaigns sent rely on advanced personalization tactics. Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenues for businesses, and more than a third of revenues are driven by emails sent to a specific audience. General emails may still have their place, mostly when it comes to deepening engagement and driving traffic. But, the highest revenue generation and conversion rates occur with expertly timed and contextualized content. Speaking of timeliness…

Be Timely

Triggered messages continue to gain some of the highest response and click-through rates of any other emails people receive. Per the DMA, triggered emails based on the customer’s lifecycle or on customer activity account for a third of all email marketing revenue. Moreover, that number is increasing – and has increased 19% since 2012. That’s a powerful return on investment, making it well worth the time to optimize triggered emails. So, what’s the key? Per the DMA, the uptick in return on investment is related to the improved data and timing of automated messages, ensuring that they come at the right moment. As with many things in life – timing is everything.

Along with the customer’s email address, real-time access to the most current data is critical for effective cross channel, real-time marketing. Marketers need to know what customers are doing in real-time in order to respond. However, in the study Email Marketing Trends & Best Practices for Data-Centric Organizations, conducted by The Relevancy Group in conjunction with MessageGears, we found that a third of marketers were unable to access the data they needed for their campaigns. This disconnect is a significant one, with respondents saying it was their top barrier to email marketing success.

Be Everywhere

Customers today are constantly in motion. They are balancing work and personal obligations and multitasking on multiple devices throughout the day. Businesses who want to succeed must keep up and that means maintaining a consistent message across touchpoints and channels. To do this, many marketers rely on email. Like a digital passport, the customer’s email identifies them whether they are using their desktop, mobile, tablet, or an app. This shift has made email more important than ever for connecting with and serving customers.

In “Email Marketing Trends & Best Practices”, most of the respondents reported that the data they needed was stored in different databases across their company, as opposed to a central location. This spread translated into more I.T. involvement, longer upload and access times, lost time spent dealing with third-party vendors, and, in general, an inability to leverage real-time data. Businesses who want to optimize and fully leverage their email campaigns need to give marketers the data they need in a central, internal database. This shift will allow businesses to create the organized, real-time marketing campaigns that convince customers to click.

While email marketing is the most effective way to reach customers, businesses need to do their homework so they send the right message at the right time with the right call to action. By following these rules they can expect a steady stream of clicks and conversions to carry them into 2017.

Will Devlin

A 14-year veteran of the email marketing industry, Will has been focused on leading marketing strategy and execution for MessageGears since 2014. He has extensive experience on both the retail customer and service side of email marketing, and he’s interested in helping businesses better understand how they can make the most of the work they put into their email campaigns.