Email Marketing: How Microsoft increased product engagement using email
New products with lots of features can be intimidating. A learning curve has to be overcome before customers can fall in love and recommend the product to a friend. And I can think of few products that are as feature-laden as Microsoft Office 2010.
After teaching about email marketing at ExactTarget’s Connections 2011 on the latest stop of MarketingSherpa’s Email Marketing LEAPS Advanced Practices Workshop, I’ve been soaking in all of the email marketing content presented here. Diana Lawson’s case study really stood out to me because it was a great example of how to use email to enamor customers with a feature-rich product.
The senior product manager at Microsoft presented a case study yesterday describing how her team launched a lifecycle email program to build loyalty among Microsoft Office 2010’s newest customers.
“We need people to get the value of Microsoft Office right away… So there’s no buyer’s remorse, and more a feeling of ‘I am so glad I bought this,'” Lawson says.
The emails deliver targeted how-to content and videos for five months. One of their main goals is to improve relationships with customers by offering helpful content from team leaders behind Office 2010.
Here’s how the lifecycle emails work (results below):
New customers are removed from all other email marketing by Microsoft Office for the first 30 days, ensuring that the only emails they receive will be focused on engaging them in the new product. They will receive three emails over one month featuring basic how-to content:
1. How to get started with Office 2010
2. How to print and save
3. Top features in Office 2010’s programs
Here are images of the three emails:
Each of these emails is presented from a team leader behind Microsoft Office 2010, which helps add a personal touch to the communication, helping to foster the relationship the team hopes for.
Targeting and retargeting
After the first month, the team begins to focus the emails on specific topics. Microsoft uses behavioral data from the email engagement to detect which piece of Office software (Excel, Word, etc.) most interests a new subscriber and focuses the following emails on that topic.
Here is an example of an email and a landing page focused on Excel:
Subscribers will receive these emails for about one month. The following month will focus on a different piece of Office 2010 software/topic, and so on, until five months have passed. Here’s an illustrative graphic:
These emails have achieved the following on average:
- Open rate: 50% higher than industry average
- Video completion rate: 63% (among customers who start a video)
The emails that are targeted by a specific type of software achieved:
- 9x higher open rates than emails on general Office 2010 topics
- 22x higher clickthrough rates than the general emails
Furthermore, the program’s welcome series is helping to engage new customers. The results of a survey of customers receiving these emails:
- About 66% of customers learned something new in the program
- More than 50% tried a new feature
“What we’re seeing here is a great trend of people actually using the content to learn the software and get the value out of it,” Lawson says.
Those metrics push even higher when the emails deliver content targeted to the subscriber’s product of interest. Results of the survey among customers receiving the more-targeted emails:
- 80% learned something new
- 66% tried a new feature