Practical Ecommerce

4 Ways Email Can Drive Other Marketing Channels

For ecommerce merchants, email has been a cost-effective marketing vehicle for years. Merchants typically consider email as a standalone marketing tool. But email can improve other marketing channels, as well.

In this article, I’ll explore how email can drive direct mail, display ads, social media, and paid search.

Direct Mail

Contributor Armando Roggio recently wrote an informative article, “Use Direct Mail to Attract New Customers.” Email can have a huge impact on improving the performance of a mail piece, which can be expensive, with paying for printing and postage.

One way to do this is to “sandwich” the direct mail piece with email — send email notifications to direct mail recipients a few days before and after the piece is delivered. Even if a recipient doesn’t open the email, seeing the branding and company name in her inbox could prompt her to read the actual direct mail offer. The follow-up email can help drive conversions on the website if the recipient did not respond to the direct mail.

A reverse strategy can also be used: sending direct mail after an email to recipients who opened but did not convert. Because direct mail can be expensive, sometimes it’s better to spend money on prospects that have indicated some amount of interest in your brand or company.

La-Z-Boy, for example, frequently sends both email and direct mail to the same prospects. Here is an email that supports a direct mail campaign.

La-Z-Boy frequently sends both email (above) and direct mail to the same users.

La-Z-Boy frequently sends both email (above) and direct mail to the same users.

Display Advertising

It’s now possible for advertisers to upload their email list and target existing customers and prospects via display campaigns on Google and Facebook. There are also third-party tools for this, such LiveRamp Connect, which is owned by my employer, Acxiom.

By uploading an email list and then targeting those individuals for display ad buys, advertisers can eliminate wasted display impressions and otherwise help recognition, clicks, and conversions from corresponding email campaigns. Advertisers can then compare the performance of each group: those that receive just display versus those that receive email and display. With this information, marketers can better allocate advertising dollars.

Acxiom studied this with a client. We compared an audience that received just display ads to one that received email and display. The average click rate was significantly higher for the latter, with a 70 percent lift in display clicks and a 24 percent lift in email clicks, versus operating each channel separately.

Coordinating email and display campaigns can materially increase the performance of each. In a study by Acxiom, the average click rate was significantly higher for combined campaigns, with a 70 percent lift in display clicks and a 24 percent lift in email clicks, versus operating each channel separately.

Coordinating email and display campaigns can materially increase the performance of each. In a study by Acxiom, the average click rate was significantly higher for combined campaigns, with a 70 percent lift in display clicks and a 24 percent lift in email clicks, versus operating each channel separately.

Social Media

Social media activity has become intertwined between instant messaging, posts on social sites, and text messaging. On a typical Facebook feed, for example, I’ll see Instagram and Twitter updates. And users typically view all of this on their smartphones.

When using social media for advertising, adding email to the same audience can help increase recollection and give the individual another method of responding.

Facebook has a compelling advertising option to target your customers: a Custom Audience, wherein you can upload an email list of customers or people that have visited your site.

This is a good way to reach your customers that may not open your emails. As with direct mail, an effective strategy is to time an email deployment around a social media campaign. Recipients will be more apt to click and respond to Facebook ads and will otherwise increase the effectiveness of both channels.

Paid Search

Paid search is vital for many ecommerce merchants. Triggered emails can help convert traffic from paid search. Triggered emails can include:

  • Abandoned site-search and browse emails;
  • Abandoned cart emails.

Without these triggered emails, dollars spent on paid search may be a waste.

Carolyn Nye

Carolyn Nye

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