Creating an enterprise digital strategy can be a tremendous undertaking. From email marketing to PPC, SEO to social media, the bigger the company, the more complex the approach to different channels.
That’s why enterprises tend to evaluate new products and strategies for a very long time before taking a dive – will this be worth the investment? Will there be a return?
But rarely, when enterprises are considering a digital marketing strategy, does the company think about whether or not a digital channel can influence in-store visits.
Google is changing that with a digital marketing product called Local Inventory Ads. By geo-targeting the mobile device being used, these ads offer real-time inventory information for local stores. That means displaying products that are actually in stock in those locations whenever nearby customers are using Google from their mobile devices.
Real-time inventory information can really work for enterprises – Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores (owned by Sears), has been working with Google to use Local Inventory Ads and seen some big results, driving 122% more visits to the 1,240 Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores.
By using mobile, enterprises can actually create a link between retail visits and digital marketing spend. But what if that kind of real-time inventory content could be paired with geo-targeted email?
This creative Cyber Monday campaign from RadioShack encouraged subscribers to open the same email at the top of every hour to discover a brand new deal. The featured deal updated automatically within the email so that whenever a subscriber chose to open the message, the latest offer was always displayed. The offers promoted in the email corresponded directly with the hourly deals featured on RadioShack.com.
This year, RadioShack incorporated even more real-time email content and interactive cross-channel functionality to fully amplify the Cyber Monday shopping experience:
A countdown clock animated to show how many minutes and seconds remained until the next big “deal reveal”. The timer automatically reset at the start of each hour.
Subscribers were encouraged to tweet their guesses for the next deal, and RadioShack made it as easy as possible for recipients to participate by deep linking to Twitter with a pre-populated tweet. After clicking on “Tweet Your Guess Now”, a ready-to-send tweet loaded in twitter.com if the email was opened on desktop. If the email recipient was instead using a mobile device, the tweet loaded within the mobile Twitter app.
A live social media feed showed @RadioShack’s latest tweets, which included hints about upcoming deals.
To get you in the Halloween spirit today, here’s one of our favorite spooky emails sent from ivivva, a member of the lululemon family. The email promotes Zombie Yoga Month, a series of local community events held by ivivva where girls all over North America took to their yoga mats to join the “zombie yogapocalypse.”
The agile email included a real-time local map which showed the nearest ivivva store location, hours, and contact information at the moment of email open.
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.