Daniel Burstein

Email Marketing: Segmentation, integration, automation and personal interaction

April 19th, 2013

“Hey, look at me!” While strolling down the Las Vegas Strip during Email Summit 2013, I couldn’t help but notice all of the flashy signs, and individuals, trying to get my attention.

The challenge is equally difficult (although hopefully less gaudy) in the modern inbox, so in the MarketingSherpa 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, we asked …

Q: Which of the following tactics is your organization using to improve the relevance and engagement of email content delivered to subscribers?

We asked your peers how they could use this data …


Segment email campaigns based on sales cycle

Stage-based marketing is the future. Breaking your marketing down to map to a consumer’s research cycle means understanding they will do research in multiple sessions, and at each session, be looking for different content. Best practice will suggest that you will need to engage with them in two or more different sessions, so you will need two or more stages.

Content needs to be short and targeted. Having a single large document is no longer best practice. Content should be targeted to each stage of the research cycle, and be easily consumed in under five pages.

– Mathew Sweezey, Marketing Evangelist, ExactTarget


How closely integrated are your sales and marketing departments?

I would have loved to see another question asked: How closely integrated are your sales and marketing departments? From my experience, those using segmentation and trigger-based emails are those who make sure that marketing and sales are closely aligned. A lot of the triggers “look” like they come from the sales team based on Web behavior with the ultimate objective to drive conversion, of course.

– April Wilson, Director of Analytic Products, RevSpring


Give your prospects a say in how they receive automated sends

Make sure automated marketing is user-centric in order to show respect for the recipient, which should increase the possibility of their wanting to engage with you.

Do you give users the option to receive updates via email, RSS, text message?

Can they choose daily or weekly digests?

Those are automations that are considerate of the user’s time and preferences.

– Julie Vetter, Co-founder, Hoi Moon Marketing


Automation and segmentation don’t replace personal interaction for B2B

As a marketing and business development professional, I have always placed an immense importance on “engaging with clients” by means of email. Although segmenting email campaigns based on behavior may trigger an anticipated response from your target audience and lead to conversion in e-commerce type situations; the opposite is true in other instances.

In a technical, service-driven environment (business-to-business), continued email engagement is of far greater importance. How do you maintain the engagement – i.e. induce participation? Such engagement requires a far more personalized approach. Why would a potential client want to read your email and engage if your subject matter is of no relevance or importance to them?

Through segmenting email campaigns based on behavior, the audience has mostly made the first step and has therefore dislodged a series of events which they anticipated and/or requested. However, in most cases, a follow-up action or reaction is neither expected nor desired. How do you then retain interest?

In my experience, inducing participation and retaining interest has trickled down to a few basics, which have to be kept in mind at all levels of email engagement:

  • Be specific and to the point
  • Don’t generalize
  • Research something based on your client and mention this – i.e. specific projects that they are working on, corporate social responsibility (CSR) events they participated in, positive reports and updates
  • Show that you would like to and are able to contribute to their common goals
  • Always maintain a positive tone
  • Make it easy to respond to your email
  • Prompt a response on a specific point

I have found that these basics are most likely to get continued email engagement. After a relationship is fostered it is much easier to follow through with loyalty/rewards programs or surveys and trivia. Needless to say, always keeping it relevant to the interested party.

– Malony de Ponte, Group Marketing Manager, BVI Consulting Engineers


Related Resources:

Email Marketing: 142% higher open rate, 15% bigger list from retailer’s strategy

Marketing Research Chart: Automated emails sent by organizations

Email Marketing: 3 overlooked aspects of automated messages

Mining Gold through Email Integration: 3 lessons from MarketingSherpa Email Awards 2013 winners

Email Marketing: Only 21% of marketers integrating mobile with email

Daniel Burstein

About Daniel Burstein

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – digging for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has 18 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , , , ,

We no longer accept comments on the MarketingSherpa blog, but we'd love to hear what you've learned about customer-first marketing. Send us a Letter to the Editor to share your story.