Integrating e-mail marketing and Web analytics

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If knowledge is power, marketers could flex bigger biceps in their e-mail campaigns by integrating new, automated versions of Web analytics into their e-mail strategies.

Many b-to-b companies are able to gather metrics to scrutinize what actions viewers take—or don’t take—on their Web sites. But most organizations aren’t making timely use of that information, said Bill Nussey, CEO of e-mail service provider Silverpop.

At best, that data get compiled into a weekly report for the company’s e-mail marketing manager to chew over for future campaign adjustments, he said.

“Most companies haven’t integrated the two functions because it takes time and it’s a cumbersome process,” Nussey said.

Yet partnerships between e-mail service providers and Web metrics firms—such as the alliance recently formed by Silverpop and Web analytics company Coremetrics—are enabling marketers to send highly relevant, automated e-mails to site visitors based on real-time clickstream data.

Nussey offers these tips for integrating Web analytics and e-mail marketing:

1) Track site visitors who abandoned their shopping carts. For instance, as soon as the visitor abandons a cart that had an item in it, the site could trigger an e-mail with some type of incentive, such as a discount, to encourage him to return and complete the transaction, Nussey said. “You can potentially get the customer engaged again and have a second shot at completing a sale,” he said.

If a site visitor who abandons a shopping cart also is on the company’s regular e-mail newsletter list, an automated option could send a targeted ad for that same product in an upcoming issue to try to reinspire that customer to make the purchase, Nussey said.

2) Pay attention to which product or service pages site visitors viewed. Follow up with a targeted e-mail to entice them to follow through and buy the item they were looking at, Nussey said.

For example, a computer store could automatically e-mail a registered site user who had been examining the latest laptops on its site. The e-mail might include details about laptop warranties, customer ratings or even incentives to make the purchase, Nussey said.

3) Compile and analyze more closely data collected over time on actions taken as result of highly targeted e-mails. That way, future e-mail campaigns can be even smarter than earlier ones, Nussey said. “These programs you can create give you deeper insight to your customers,” he said. “The more you understand about your customers, the more relevant promotions or incentives you can offer them in the long run.”

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