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What’s a quick and easy way to improve my e-mail conversion rates?

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Answer: It’s simple: Give your customers what they ask for. The success of your e-mail programs today and in the future hinges largely on your ability to provide each of your recipients with an experience he or she wants and expects. E-mail marketing is no longer about what distressed inventory you have to sell, making quota or pleasing your partner advertisers. While all of these things are important, they do not make an e-mail program successful.

The challenge in this is really getting to know and understand your e-mail recipients using the data. Some marketers prefer to survey their audience because it is simpler than data analysis. But as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Actions in e-mail can be many things—click-through activity or lack thereof, conversion, length of time on your site or frequency of log-in. Data will identify actions; survey responses are merely words.

The analysis quickly can become very complex; however, it can start out simply, for example, by identifying new and existing customers. Take it a step further and look at engaged customers and nonresponders. These segments are all unique and, for optimal conversion, they should all be addressed differently. Each segment’s relationship with your brand is different depending on its stage in the purchase lifecycle.

Once you have identified the audiences, build e-mail programs that meet their needs. Providing a timely, relevant experience to your audience will make your programs successful. Listen to what recipients are telling you via surveys, validate that against the data and their actions, and respond to those needs.

Kara Trivunovic is director of strategic services at Premiere Global Services, eMarketing Solutions (www.premiereglobal.com).

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