Tracking the connection between e-mail and e-commerce has become a relatively straightforward exercise for most marketers. But the simplicity of connecting online sales to e-mail efforts and the difficulty of tracking sales across other channels has relegated e-mail’s immediate association to e-commerce only, when in fact for many brands e-mail probably has a greater impact offline than online.
An Epsilon Interactive/GFK research study conducted in January 2006 found that nearly half (47%) of respondents who receive targeted, promotional e-mails that they find relevant click through and purchase online. But even more respondents—65%—indicated that they usually make their purchase in-store.
While the data certainly speak volumes, the question remains: How can I track the impact of my e-mail efforts in a multichannel world? Here are a few of my top tips:
- Integrated tracking codes. While tracking codes can shed light on online and offline activity, they are often overlooked. Marketers should designate specific 800-numbers and tracking codes whenever possible to monitor incoming telephone and catalog sales generated from their e-mail efforts. Make sure to remember internal communication and training, though. Reviewing customer touch points and making adjustments to scripts, data collection pages, and the like to record tracking codes is almost as important as–if not more important than–the inclusion of the codes themselves.
- Coupons. I recently had lunch with an e-commerce executive at a major brand. When I asked him which of his e-mail programs he considered most successful he said without pause or hesitation that coupon offers and incentives to drive store sales always work for him. I immediately returned to the office to look at the reporting: Retail store offers had upward of 10 times the click-through rates of other mailings. These coupons typically included language such as “Present this e-mail/coupon at store to receive XX% off.”
- Surveys. Not only are they effective in helping you improve the overall customer experience with your brand, but they may also help drive relevance and a better understanding of the impact your e-mail efforts have throughout the purchase process. Be sure to include ongoing customer surveys as part of your measurement and reporting efforts to management.
- Advanced analysis. Today’s most sophisticated marketers use advanced analytics to segment their customer base and more fully understand the impact of multiple channels on purchasing. The growing adoption of analytics allows marketers to improve marketing tactics as well as to understand the value of independent efforts and the effect that multichannel marketing techniques have on customer lifetime value.
Apply these tracking tactics and you may be surprised to find that e-mail is for e-very channel.
Epsilon Interactive chief marketing officer Michael Della Penna is outlining the four myths of e-mail marketing in a series for MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT. Read his first installation here, and his second one here.