When many email marketers think about lists to use for suppression purposes, it often starts and stops with users who have opted out of receiving future messages (i.e. your unsubscribe list). Clearly, if a user has opted out, you want to remove them from future mailings within the legally appropriate time period - 10 business days after receipt of the opt-out request, according to the CAN-SPAM Act in the U.S. While this is an absolutely vital step to complying with CAN-SPAM, it is far from the only list that marketers may want to suppress from various email campaigns.
Advertisers with extensive experience in email marketing will often leverage multiple suppression lists as an aspect of their overall audience targeting strategies. In these instances suppression files become negative targets that should not be mailed. Why would a brand want to exclude a recipient from an email campaign, other than due to a prior opt-out request? Here are just a few suppression strategies that different companies employ to enhance the performance of their email programs - both those managed in-house and those undertaken by third-parties (such as affiliates) on their behalf.
1 - Suppressing Current Customers
As consumers, we are all familiar with receiving marketing messaging touting special introductory offers, extreme discounts, or other deals especially for to new customers. Companies have used aggressive promotional offers as a way of attracting new customers since the invention of marketing. But, another aspect of the aggressive customer acquisition offer is that it is typically not available to current or past customers. Plenty of people have had the experience of seeing an ad for a cable TV package that is far less expensive than their current subscription. Then, when they call the company to request the lower rate, they are told it is only for new customers. What’s the end result here? A marketing campaign has created an unhappy current customer, who just might go shopping for an alternative from a competitor. Many companies take steps to ensure that customers are not exposed to offers for which they don’t qualify. While you can’t be certain a current customer won’t ever see an acquisition offer, you can ensure they don’t receive an email about it from you or anyone mailing on your behalf. This is done by adding your current subscriber list as a suppression file for your acquisition email campaigns.
2 - Suppressing Various Customer Segments
Similar to suppressing all current customers, you may find that excluding only certain customer segments from acquisition email campaigns can be advantageous. Perhaps you have a range of products for sale on your website. Some are complementary and buying one product may make it likely a consumer will purchase another related product (the tried-and-true upsell/cross-sell model). In other cases, buying a particular product may actually make it unlikely or utterly improbable that a different product will be purchased by the same consumer. This second scenario presents a great opportunity for the use of suppression files for negative targeting. This is especially true if a company is using third-parties to mail on their behalf. In this case you can use a suppression list made up of customer addresses whose past purchasing behavior makes them highly unlikely to respond to a particular email campaign.
3 - Suppressing Recognized Recipients
Consider an example of a campaign where you may want to focus only on net new prospects who have never been a customer and never received an email offer from you in the past (this would not necessarily mean they never received an email from a third-party mailing on your behalf). In this case, you could leverage suppression files of all current customers, past customers, and all prior internally driven acquisition campaign recipients, to focus the new mailing entirely on unrecognized or net new recipients.
These are three simple ways to use suppression files to more effectively target audiences within email marketing campaigns. However, you are really only limited by the data at your disposal and your imagination on how to leverage it to drive performance.
Tom Wozniak - Executive Director of Marketing - OPTIZMO Technologies, LLC
We receive a plethora of emails every single day. Irrelevant incoming emails have risen to 58% from just a few years ago. So how can we increase the 42% of relevantemails that we receive? How do we keep our customers engaged and want to open the emails we send?There are different ways to engage your customers via email, but let’s address the most effective way: sending a variety of different types of emails to keep things interesting. Let’s look at 5 different types and why you should utilize them to increase engagement.Welcome emailStart off your relationship with a new customer by sending them a welcome email. Not only is it a great way for the customer to start their journey with a new brand, but it also has 320% more revenue per email than other promotional emails. It sets customer expectations, makes a great first impression and it can also encourage them to connect with you on other channels (i.e. social media). In addition, it’s also a great way to get a new customer to come back by including a coupon or offer.Promotional emailThis leads us into our next type of email - thePromotional email. This short and sweet email focuses on driving a purchase or conversion. There’s a clear call-to-action in order for recipients to take the desired next step(s). Create a special graphic to grab your audience and make the offer clear so it won’t be ignored. Newsletter emailImprove brand awareness and continue to build a relationship with your customers through a monthly newsletter. ReturnPath found that when newsletters deliver great content and follow best email practices, they help to strengthen engagement and stay connected to the audience. It’s also a great way to increase sales. Highlight a product or explain benefits that connects them to a point of sale in seconds.Survey emailAsking your customers for feedback will make them feel understood, valued, and important. Try to keep each survey simple and focused, and let them know why you want their input. This will help to gather the most valuable feedback. The caveat to this is that once you have the feedback, make sure you digest it and use it as a learning tool. And, don’t forget the follow up email; if you use customer feedback to improve a product or service let your customers know that their voices were heard and changes were implemented.Educational emailOffer relevant content to your audience and inform the reader about a product, service, industry news, or upcoming event. When it’s unclear how your business can help solve a problem this type of email is especially helpful. It’s important to remember that the purpose of this email is to inform rather than sell. The common theme between these emails is the cultivation of a relationship between you and your customers. Building that relationship will keep your customers engaged and in turn, drive sales.
With all the new marketing tactics and technologies at our fingertips, email marketing remains the most effective. According to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. Email is also winning in promotional content, where according to Marketing Sherpa, 72% of people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media. Email is no longer about sending email, it’s about sending smart content at the right time. So what makes email marketing a more targeted path to reaching potential customers?Direct communicationEmail is a one-to-one, personal channel. Unlike an advertisement that is served to many (one-size fits all approach), email is served directly to you. With email marketing, you have control over who sees your email through the use of segmentation. This can be based on a number of factors such as demographics, location, lead status or any other data you have in your CRM. Using targeted messaging suited specific to an individual ensures that your audience receives content that is relevant. And, email marketing makes it easy to customize a message for each customer, leading to a higher conversion rate.Puts the consumer firstSince email is a one-to-one channel, it has the ability to put the customer first. Many companies make the mistake of talking about themselves, what they offer, features of the product and less focused on the customer. Since email can let you tailor your messaging, using content that resonates with the individual receiving the email will make all the difference. For instance, REI sent out an email that said “Now booking: your European escape. Make this the year you discover Europe”. REI prioritized the customer with tailored content that met the customer where they were. Instead, they could've said, “Check out our European adventures. We offer great prices.” As you can see, the latter doesn’t have the same effect and is aimed to speak about the company rather than the customer.There when your consumers are readySocial media has become more advanced in the visibility of posts being less dependent on time yet many posts still drop off the radar. However, with email marketing, you can avoid this issue because even though a recipient may not read your email instantly, it will remain in their inbox until the time is right for them to read it. This makes for a higher likelihood of engagement and conversion rate.Email marketing is here to stay and it’s evident in the reasons above why you should be using it to reach your customers. If you need more reasons why, check out this previous blog on why you should use email marketing to acquire new customers.
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