Think Before You Blast Those Follow-Up E-mails

A client asked for a rule of thumb about the extra lift to expect when a follow-up e-mail is sent after a direct mail promotion or actual purchase. Unfortunately, there is no rule of thumb because the variance of outcomes is so large.

But here’s an important consideration for any follow-up e-mail and, in fact, for just about any type of promotional contact: Significant, cost-effective incremental gains typically are contingent upon data-driven, analytically-derived business rules. Generic pitches are unlikely to generate impressive results.

For example, we once worked with a client with a great deal of experience in sending follow-up e-mails to customers after they had placed an order. Remarkably, the results were averaging $5 of incremental revenue per e-mail. The success of the program was so astounding that the client jokingly referred to it as a license to print money. However, it is important to note that:

  • These sorts of e-mails should be sent almost immediately after the purchase.
  • They should highlight the products that historically have been most closely associated with the just-ordered merchandise, based on an in-depth product affinity analysis.
  • For each merchandise category, data-driven hierarchies of product relationships should be created. Ideally, the selection logic should contain an adjustment factor to handle instances where a targeted customer has recently purchased one or more products within the hierarchy.
  • The marketing database that drives the promotions should be populated with the complete, accurate, atomic-level data required to support highly-targeted contact strategies.

It is important to note that the client had not installed the operational infrastructure required to support real-time, “suggestive selling” initiatives at the call center and Web site points-of-sale. If such capabilities had been in place, it is likely that the follow-up e-mails would have been less effective, and perhaps significantly so. Of course, such a decline in performance would not be problematic because it would merely reflect a shift in the vehicle for capturing incremental customer demand, from e-mail to point-of-sale CRM.

Jim Wheaton is a co-founder of Daystar Wheaton Group.

Partner Content

Hincapie Sportswear Finds Omnichannel Success in the Cloud - Netsuite
For more and more companies, a cloud-based unified data solution is the way to make this happen. Custom cycling apparel maker Hincapie Sportswear has leveraged this capability to gain greater visibility into revenue streams, turning opportunities into sales more quickly while gaining overall operating efficiency. Download this ecommerce special report from Multichannel Merchant to more.
The Gift of Wow: Preparing your store for the holiday season - Netsuite
Being prepared for the holiday rush used to mean stocking shelves and making sure your associates were ready for the long hours. But the digital revolution has changed everything, most importantly, customer expectations. Retailers with a physical store presence should be asking themselves—what am I doing to wow the customer?
3 Critical Components to Achieving the Perfect Order - NetSuite
Explore the 3 critical components to delivering the perfect order.
Streamlining Unified Commerce Complexity - NetSuite
Explore how consolidating multiple systems through a cloud-based commerce platform provides a seamless experience for both you, and your customer.