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NFL.com Gets High Scores on Engaging Emails

Challenge: Email deliverability is now dependent on a sender’s ability to deliver engaging content to subscribers. Since engagement has become a key ingredient in ISP's reputation scores, marketers need to up their game to play by the changing rules or risk poor ROI rates on campaigns.

As we reported in a previous blog, 70-75% of Email Subscribers are Inactive, marketers need to capture attention and invite engagement due to Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, and AOL now incorporating a new algorithm that includes the original guidelines for identifying SPAM, plus active engagement rates.

While marketers are using many other forms of communication, email still continues to be a prime vehicle for customer interactions. In the Salesforce.com Exacttarget Marketing Cloud 2014 State of Marketing study that polled over 2,600 mid- to senior-level marketing managers cross all industries;
  • 67 percent of marketers say their number one priority for 2014 is to increase sales directly attributable to digital marketing campaigns,
  • 64 percent are focused on increasing email click throughs and open rates.
In our ERDM Voice of Customer (VoC) research findings we learned what customers want relative to email:
  • Consumers expect companies to use their preferences to deliver increasingly personalized offers, communications, and experiences.
  • As a result of preference-based interactions, consumers are more willing to respond to communications and offers.
  • Customers look to personalized follow-up emails as value-added triggers to go online and evaluate relevant products.
  • Customers want more than just buying history-based emails.
  • Create opt-in preference databases to drive true personalization of communications and offers.
The NFL.com Newsletter, winner of the MarketingSherpa Email Awards 2013, took relevancy to a whole new level. Subscribers get real-time content about their designated favorite teams, and even receive countdowns to game time. Fans depend on these emails to stay abreast of timing for the next big kick-off.

These efforts resulted in doubled newsletter open rates and increased click through rates of 26%.

The 5 winning reasons given for choosing the NFL.com as the best in show winner were:
  1. They explored new ways to engage and interact with their audience.
  2. They had a goal to create email that was relevant and targeted as possible.
  3. They tailored each email on a personalized level.
  4. They wanted the emails to be useful.
  5. They took into consideration the different vehicles that might be used to read an email and made the messages easy to navigate and easy to read.
On the NFL.com site visitors can register via a preference center to supply personalized information such as favorite team and opt-in to the newsletter.

3 Takeaways:
  1. Keep in mind the new rules for email deliverability that take into consideration both recipient interaction as well as content engagement. Develop new strategies that encourage interaction through deeply personalized messaging.
  2. Customers are willing to provide in-depth information in exchange for receiving value-added information. For consumers, the rationale for providing preference information is to receive increasingly relevant offers, communications, and experiences.
  3. Understand how your customers read their emails—is it on a computer, tablet, or mobile device? Design emails that will enable your message to display correctly for maximum interaction opportunities.




About the Author:
Ernan Roman Direct Marketing's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for their clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with their clients' customers and prospects, to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships.

he results achieved by ERDM's VoC-based strategies earned Ernan Roman induction into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Visit his blog at: http://ernanroman.blogspot.com/

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