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5 Ways to Keep Email ROI Healthy

October 17, 2012 By John Pinson
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Social media and mobile messaging have fundamentally reshaped the customer communications landscape. Smartphones and Facebook have become ubiquitous, and consumers now want their email and text messaging preferences met more than ever. Yet according to Message Systems' "Marketing Channel and Engagement Benchmark Survey," 51 percent of respondents do not yet offer their customers a preference center or have the ability to track customer preferences for how they prefer to receive communication.

This is alarming because there are real-world benefits for brands that accommodate these shifting attitudes and consequences for those that don't. As communication choices have become more diversified, consumers increasingly expect their messaging preferences to be respected. It's critical that marketers understand the unique messaging preference practices that can lead consumers to shop more frequently with their brands.

Here are a few tips on how to improve customer engagement and maximize the ROI of direct marketing this holiday season and beyond.

1. Engage with customers on their terms.
Catch customers when they are most willing to pay attention by giving them a say in how and when you reach out to them—especially in terms of message channel (email, text, social, IM) and content. A detailed preference center that allows consumers to make their own choices virtually guarantees more relevant interactions and better engagement.

2. Adapt to the small screen.
As more conversations take place through mobile text, IM and social media channels, it's critical that companies optimize their message creative to prompt engagement and conversion on the small screen. This means having the ability to customize email, SMS/MMS and other kinds of messages on the fly using all in-house data, including CRM data or outboard data sources or business logic, to target customers with customized creative, and structure campaigns for optimum response.

3. Use social media to engage in a two-way dialogue.
Social media are having a big impact on the way we all connect. As the channel keeps rising in popularity, it's bound to spread to more conventional industries like banking, health care and retail and be used in areas like customer care and marketing as a starting point for two-way interactions. Marketers need to think about integrating social with existing email, SMS text or IM operations so that the digital conversation can go beyond the initial message.

 

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