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Using disparate data to connect with e-mail recipients

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An iPost customer recently sent out an e-mail campaign that, according to metrics, wasn’t doing that great—or so the company thought. “Open rates were below average, and click rates were below average,” said John Janetos, iPost’s VP-business development and marketing. “But then they brought in social networking ‘listening’ data and saw that e-mail had actually ignited a buzz,” he said. The lesson the customer learned, Janetos said, is that there’s more to e-mail than what is in the e-mail message.

David Daniels, CEO of the Relevancy Group and the author of a recent e-book sponsored by Alterian, “Creating Engaging E-mail: Driving Subscriber Acquisition,” agreed. “E-mail marketers must be aware that they are no longer singularly living within the traditional inbox,” he said. “Successful e-mail marketers will create a ‘connected company’ culture to drive acquisition across the silos of search, mobile and social to deliver a singular experience for the brand and, ultimately, for the prospect customer being acquired.”

To that end, e-mail marketers should be open to integrating what some people might think are unrelated metrics and data, he said. Daniels and iPost’s Janetos provided these suggestions to help marketers improve relevancy and get a better understanding of a program’s success.

  1. Frequent Facebook and LinkedIn groups. The discussions happening in groups and forums can provide marketers with fodder for newsletter ideas. Daniels also suggested marketers use social media to build their lists by promoting new newsletters and content, and providing a way for people not only to click through and read but also to sign up.
  2. Reward frequent “tweeters.” It’s fairly easy to keep track of who is tweeting your content and information, Janetos said. Reach out to those customers and prospects directly, mentioning the fact that they have shared your information. Marketers can also create special campaigns around Twitter, providing links to a Twitter landing page that provides special content or discounts to encourage future sharing. “Your e-mail’s influence starts to get broader and wider,” Janetos said.
  3. Use data from unlikely sources—even weather reports. It may seem funny to b-to-b marketers, but it’s a tactic they can and should borrow from the retail world, Janetos said. “A hardware store puts out shovels and ice melt when they are expecting a snowstorm. E-mail marketers can use the weather as a starting point as long as they segment by location,” he said. It might be something as simple as tying two potential calamities together—for example, using “Don’t get snowed under at work” as a subject line or headline—or, if your company sells services or products that have a true tie-in, discussing them, too.
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