By allowing brands to create dynamic content that can change in real-time, contextual marketing has opened up new opportunities for email marketers to connect with customers and offer them more personalized experiences.
This is how Kat Johnson, Marketing Manager of Allen Edmonds, has started creating new kinds of email campaigns for customers. We had a chance to catch up with Kat about how Allen Edmonds is using email today.
Here’s what she said about Allen Edmonds, context, segmentation, and more:
How often do you take a chance with your email marketing, not knowing if a new approach could be an unbelievable success or a complete flop?
At Best of the Best, a UK-based company that offers their customers the chance to win luxury automobiles through online skills-based competitions, they’re more than familiar with the idea that taking a chance can result in a huge pay-off. Perhaps that’s why when Jarrod Purchase, Email Marketing Manager for Best of the Best, wanted to try something entirely new with an upcoming email campaign, he thought it was worthwhile to give it a shot.
We caught up with Jarrod to learn more about his recent “Hold onto this email” campaign, which encouraged subscribers to check back on the same email message over the course of three days to see new offers. Best of the Best had never launched a multi-day, single-email campaign like this before. Would taking a chance pay-off?
Brooke Burdge, Marketing Manager, Movable Ink: Jarrod, what was the main goal of this campaign? Jarrod Purchase, Email Marketing Manager, Best of the Best: We run a competition every 15 days to promote discounted tickets for dream car giveaway competitions. We had a few main goals for the “Hold onto this email” campaign. Of course, we were aiming to increase revenue and strengthen customer engagement in a new way. But we also wanted to drive more customers to participate in the competition earlier on in the 15-day period, and to make repeat purchases. Typically, customers participate more towards the end of the competition period since there is less waiting time to find out if they won, and they very rarely purchase more than once in each 15-day competition period.
BB: What did you do differently with this campaign to help you achieve your goals? JP: Instead of sending three separate emails on consecutive days with three varying offers, we decided to consolidate our efforts into one, fully dynamic email that changed depending on when it was opened. The email became almost like a scavenger hunt in the inbox, where customers could come back the next day to discover something completely new.
BB: Can you walk me through how the user experience changed depending on which day the email was opened? JP: Sure. If you opened the email on the first day of the campaign, you would see images of three car types in a row. The Aston Martin was labeled “Today,” the Range Rover was labeled “Tomorrow,” and the Porsche was labeled “Wednesday.” The Aston Martin image—the featured deal of the day— appeared in full-color, with the other two brands in black & white. This allowed recipients to see what deals were coming up, but kept the focus on the current deal. At the bottom of the email template, we included five images of different models of the automobile brand being promoted that day. For example, on day one, subscribers would see promotions for five different Aston Martin vehicles in this space. A live countdown clock at the top of the email showed how much time was left until the next day’s featured offers became available.
If the same subscriber re-opened the same email again on day two, they would notice that major changes have taken place. Now, the center image of the Range Rover is in full-color, and the five images at the bottom of the email are promoting various Range Rover models. Also, the headers of the other deal offers have changed—the Porsche is now “tomorrow” versus “Wednesday.” The experience is similar on day three. When the campaign was finished, all images turned to black & white and the call-to-action changed to visit our site for other great offers.
The last thing to point out is that the email was also mobile optimized. When opened on a mobile device, the images in the bottom section dropped underneath each other to better fit the width of a mobile screen.
BB: How did this email perform? Do you have any results you can share? JP: Overall, the campaign was a success. We saw positive results in re-opens, revenue, repeat purchases. For re-opens, 23% of subscribers who opened the email on the first day returned to open it again on the second day. 7% of the “day 1” openers returned again on the third day.
For revenue, we experienced a 170% increase compared to our forecasted revenue for the 3 days. The campaign was launched at the start of the 15-day period, and as I mentioned earlier, we typically see the most revenue coming in toward the end of the competition. The campaign significantly lifted our early sales, which in turn increased the likelihood of repeat purchases made throughout the rest of the competition period.
Approximately 7% of customers purchased more than once. This number is much higher than what we typically see for repeat purchases during our 15-day competitions.
BB: What might you do differently if you were to launch a similar multi-day, single-email campaign in the future? JP: We’re curious to see what would happen if instead of giving subscribers a glimpse of the upcoming offers in black-and-white, we simply showed black boxes with question marks to keep future deals a surprise until they were available. It’s unclear whether our subscribers returned to the email because they were anticipating the upcoming Range Rover or Porsche offers, or if their curiosity about upcoming, unannounced offers would have driven even more re-opens. In the future, I’d like to run an A/B test to see which option drives more re-opens and revenue.
BB: How did Movable Ink help you out with this campaign? JP: Our team at Movable Ink is always a reliable source of new ideas for our email campaigns. Movable Ink’s technology makes it easy for us to experiment more, and to get more creative with the emails we send.
People don’t expect interesting things to happen in their email marketing. They’re used to seeing interactivity and real-time content on the web, but that experience isn’t as common in email. Movable Ink helps us bring that experience into email to strengthen the overall effectiveness of our email marketing channel.
At Best of the Best, we rely strongly on our email program for driving visits to our site and participation in our competitions. This campaign was an entirely new approach for us, and it was risky to try something that we had never done before and weren’t sure how it would turn out. But in the end, we’re happy we did it. It was fun to experiment, and taking the risk certainly paid off for us.