Issue #049  |   June 2012

StrongMail Advisor
In This Issue
1. Industry Watch: Three Trends and Tips for Mobile Marketing Success
2. On-Demand Event: Leveraging Pinterest to Drive Email, Engagement and Business Results
3. Tip of the Month: Three Cross-Sell and Up-Sell Tactics
4. Featured Resource: The Ultimate Lifecycle Email Marketing Guide to Welcome Programs
5. Deliverability Corner: Email Append, A Cautionary Tale

Industry Watch
Industry Watch

Get Mobile Now: Three Tips for Gracefully Addressing Growing Customer Demand for Mobile Experiences
By Justin Williams, Senior Marketing Strategist Services

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By now, if you’re not tired of hearing about mobile, you will be soon. There is, however, good reason for all the buzz. A plethora of studies and surveys indicate three trends that should make you drop everything and make sure your mobile marketing strategy is up to snuff.

Trend 1: More consumers are shopping and purchasing on their mobile device, regardless of location
Your customers and prospects are shopping, comparing, downloading and redeeming coupons from their mobile device. They are doing this everywhere—in retail locations, on their couch, and anywhere else they use their mobile device.

Trend 2: Consumers are growing more responsive to SMS offers, and they are redeeming more email offers on mobile devices
26% of consumers receiving text message promotions say that the information has led them to take advantage of the promotion, according to a recent survey. Further, 25% say they at least buy something from the store that sent the promotion.

Text promotions, however, cannot thrive alone. Consumers trust emails and websites more than text messages. These tactics should not be viewed as separate silos of distribution. Rather, the consumer wants them to exist in a way that he or she can fluidly use any option.

Trend 3: More consumers are expecting that their shopping needs can be met on their mobile platform
Across the consumer lifecycle—from searching for a store and making a shopping list, to considering offers, to making a purchase, to sharing offers with friends, all the way to maintaining loyalty program accounts—shoppers want the flexibility to use their mobile devices.

The cost of not meeting these expectations can be higher than just a perceived inconvenience on the part of your shoppers. If you have brick and mortar locations, you should be well aware of the “showroom effect.” Other retailers are, and they’re looking to capitalize on your ignorance.

Even if you’re 100% online, the showroom effect applies. Imagine a man waiting in the airport, shopping on his mobile device for a gift for his daughter’s upcoming birthday. While reviewing built-up offers in his email inbox, he’s probably more likely to use one formatted for mobile which allows him to finish his purchases without squinting or breaking out his laptop. (Don’t forget that location really doesn’t matter anymore; replace ‘waiting at the airport’ with ‘sitting on the couch watching TV’, or ‘spending idle time at work’, and you’ll still find consumers using mobile devices more and more.)

So it’s obvious that mobile is going to become (if it isn’t already) mission critical to meeting your customers’ needs, and your revenue goals. Here are some tips on how to get started now so you’re not left in the dust:

Tip 1: Model success
Many retailers are getting mobile right. One that stands out is Home Depot.

Home Depot has covered almost all the mobile use cases. They have apps for the top mobile platforms, plus a mobile-optimized site that allows you to find a store, shop, and even buy items to pick up at a store.

Plus, Home Depot makes great use of text message marketing to notify consumers of current promotions.

(Still, Home Depot could expand on their mobile offering by tying in their text message capabilities with a lifecycle marketing management program, allowing them to follow up with targeted email and SMS messaging, thus allowing the fluid experience consumers desire. Overall, they are a step ahead of many retailers in the mobile space.)

Tip 2: Start small
After reviewing the robust offerings of a giant retailer like Home Depot, don’t try to build Rome in a day. Start small.

Build a responsive email template that is mobile-friendly so your subscribers see your offers, regardless of their device.

Build a mobile-optimized landing page for key offers and promotions. You don’t have to capture every feature of your full site. Think about what a consumer might want to accomplish when accessing your site with a mobile device (maybe the latest offers). Test to verify your assumptions.

Consider building a native mobile application. Perhaps the potential benefits of having an app in addition to a mobile-optimized site are minimal. But don’t rely on your intuition. Ask your customers what they would like to see.

Tip 3: Measure the impact (or potential impact)
Find out how many people are accessing your content with mobile devices, and measure the change over time. This may provide the necessary impetus to justify investment in mobile optimization.

Once you begin optimizing for mobile platforms, track the success or lift from the enhancements. For example, you can run A/B tests to see if a responsive email template leads to a better conversion rate for mobile users than a non-responsive one.

Don’t let your consumers brand you as mobile-unfriendly. Embrace the changing way that users access your content, and respond accordingly.

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Put a Pin in It!
Industry Event

Put a Pin in It!
Leveraging Pinterest to Drive Email, Engagement and Business Results

On-Demand Event

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The digital world is talking all about the newest social darling, Pinterest, and marketers are looking for ways to apply this channel to their business. Whether you are looking to use it in conjunction with email or just trying to figure out if you should even care, StrongMail's strategy experts will help you figure it out.

Hear from email and interactive marketing guru Kara Trivunovic, Vice President of Marketing Services at StrongMail, as she looks at what other brands are doing, how you can apply it to your efforts and unique ways to integrate it effectively into the email channel.

Event Info >>

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Tip of the Month

Digital Marketing Best Practices:
Tip of the Month

Three Cross-Sell and Up-Sell Tactics to Improve Retail Email Marketing Results
Amanda Hinkle, Sr. Digital Marketing Strategist, StrongMail

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It’s an old retail adage: driving increased sales from existing customers is easier than acquiring new ones. But when it comes to email marketing, a lot of businesses seem to be missing an opportunity that’s right in front of them. “Cross-sell” and “up-sell” programs are a great, low-cost way that retailers can increase revenues by reaching out to the customers they know best. But when my company, StrongMail, conducted an industry survey last fall on their use, we found that only 37 percent of respondents were integrating these kinds of offers into their email marketing strategy. What gives?

You may be thinking about targeting email subscribers who have previously purchased your products with complementary (cross-sell) or enhanced (up-sell) offers – and the trick is doing it right. You don’t want to annoy valued customers with an inappropriate or ill-timed offer. But with the right approach, you’ll be well on your way to making the most of promising sales prospects. Here are three elements critical to implementing successful cross-sell and up-sell email programs:

1. Take Advantage of Available Data.
The volume of customer-related data now available to retailers is growing at an exponential pace, and those who find ways to put it to use will be the most effective at developing highly relevant cross-sell and up-sell offers. Purchase data coming in from POS and transactional systems, web analytics tracking site clicks and views, email response data and preferences that email subscribers self-report – all provide marketers with a treasure-trove of insight into the types of products to recommend to customers in cross-sell or up-sell situations. For example, an offer for a Blu-Ray player might be made to someone who recently bought a TV, or a discount on a spatula that was recently viewed online may be made to an email subscriber purchasing a new cooking pan.

An ability to blend together data from different channels and back office systems will add the greatest dimensionality to your efforts, but keep in mind that you can devise cross-sell and up-sell tactics even if you only have access to one or two sources. The key is to make the most of the data you’ve got!    

2. Deploy the Right Resources.
All the data in the world won’t make a difference if you don’t have the people or technology to act on it.  You’ll need a way to analyze your data, as well as link the insight you’ve extracted with cross-sell and up-sell opportunities that fit. Your team also will want to create alternate versions of emails that include new offers based on what you’ve found. This may involve tapping data analysts and creative or production staff who can help, but the right technology can really help minimize the level of resources required to set-up, trigger and time cross-sell and up-sell offers. For example, a transactional email solution can be tied into your data warehouse and other back office systems so that you can pull in relevant data and use it to identify the best cross-sell and up-sell targets.

Lifecycle-focused email marketing solutions can even help you set up automatic offers based on appropriate triggers, as well as customize wait intervals, execute test strategies and optimize performance in real-time. If you aren’t currently able to dynamically assemble and send event-triggered emails with full tracking capabilities, these types of systems are certainly worth a look. The net-net is that someone, or some technology, needs to build the offers, so be prepared to think about how you are going to get it done.  

3. Consider When And Where to Reach Out.
Finally, you also want to think strategically about when and where cross-sell and up-sell offers will be made. For example, you can tag your offer onto a transactional message (such as purchase confirmation or shipping notification) to take advantage of the closer attention that customers usually give to these communications. Other options include messages triggered by customer actions such as shopping cart abandonment or web page views, or tying offers to regularly scheduled emails like newsletters.

For the greatest impact, it’s advisable to test out various methods and then measure the response you get to determine the best approach. Real Networks’s GameHouse division offers a good illustration: this gaming company leverages purchase history to serve up cross-sell offers for popular and new release games that may be of interest to existing customers. By attaching a “you may also like…” purchase option to product review messages, they are able to increase conversions by simply taking better advantage of a communication that was going to go out anyway. Since the “sell” is not the main focus, it’s a softer way to reach out, and it works!     

Email marketers who employ cross-sell and up-sell offers can increase sales simply by engaging more often with the customers who already have a relationship with their brand. Interested in giving these proven tactics a try? Start with simple applications that you can add scale and sophistication as you go. With the right approach, your organization will be better equipped to take advantage of email marketing opportunities just waiting to be tapped.

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Forrester Case Study: IHG Consolidates Email and Data Management

Industry Whitepaper

The Ultimate Lifecycle Email Marketing Guide: Welcome Programs

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Gartner reports that marketers using event-triggered, lifecycle focused messages can expect a 600% increase in email performance compared to traditional batch and blast campaigns. Welcome programs represent the first chance to engage a brand’s growing audience in the digital conversation and present a tremendous opportunity to start your subscriber relationship off on the right foot.

Download Today >>

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Deliverability Corner

Deliverability Corner

Email Append, A Cautionary Tale
By Sean Wirt, Deliverability Strategist

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For the record, I am not a fan of email appending programs. If you are not familiar with the term, MAAWG defines appending as "taking known demographic information and using various methods to determine an email address for the purpose of adding people to a list or otherwise sending them email messages." So, for example, you may have an account with a department store, but the store does not have your e-mail address. The store may hire a third-party company to try and find email addresses for those clients whose email addresses are not in their database. Last fall, MAAWG published its "Position on Email Appending," in which they describe it as an "abusive practice."

Recently, I started receiving member email from a credit union in Indiana. The problem is that I don't live in Indiana, nor am I a member of this particular institution. A quick search showed me that there is a Sean Wirt who lives in the area served by this credit union; however, he is not me. The most likely scenario is that this credit union engaged in an appending program that went awry.

The problem with the verification method they chose is that they clearly appended data using name only. The same web search showed that there are at least three Sean Wirt's in the U.S. – 1 in Florida, 1 in Indiana and 1 in North Carolina (me). I am unaware of any data related to me that would suggest that I would be a member of a credit union in Indiana. Once they decided that my email address was the correct one, they did not even attempt to confirm with me that their information was correct – they simply started sending me their newsletters. Even better, the newsletter was not CAN-SPAM compliant, as it had no unsubscribe link!

So, what's the moral? Don’t append!  If you ignore this advice and do it anyway, at least give the recipients a chance to tell you that they aren’t who you think they are and/or give them the opportunity to opt-out immediately. If all else fails, make sure your emails are CAN-SPAM compliant!

You can also keep up with these developments and more by bookmarking or subscribing to StrongMail’s blog, Maximizing Deliverability.

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Kara Trivunovic

"Making Email Marketing Work with Social Media Marketing"

Kara Trivunovic
VP of Marketing Services

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Figaro Digital Marketing Conference
July 12
London, UK
Sept. 10 - 12
Denver, CO

DMA 2012
Oct. 13 - 17
Las Vegas, NV

Full Details


June 25, 2012
StrongMail Partners With Mobile Marketing Firm Velti

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June 25, 2012
StrongMail to Present Cross-Channel Marketing Strategies at eTail Europe

June 05, 2012
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May 30, 2012
StrongMail's Email and Lifecycle Marketing Solutions are a Perfect Fit for Guess

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StrongMail regularly hosts webinars that explore the intricacies of email marketing, authentication, reputation, and the emerging world of accountability that will forever change the landscape for senders and receivers. Download the Webinars to play at your convenience.


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