One of the great things about online marketing is the amount of data and information marketers can get about their customers. Consumers might be a little surprised by how much tracking goes on, but most are willing to be tracked if it results in more relevant advertising, including e-mail.
In previous articles on Moments of Engagement, we talked about using e-mail to follow up with customers who had browsed your Web site, but not purchased. This is an advanced tactic, and few e-mail marketers actually do it. I recently received one of these e-mails from Pottery Barn. I have been looking for a new sectional, and Pottery Barn has two that are small enough to fit my space. I've been looking at these two sectionals online, trying out different colors and posting to Facebook to see which one my friends like. I haven't purchased yet because this is a big purchase.
A few days after browsing the site, I received an e-mail from Pottery Barn with the subject line "Make room for great design!" At first glance, I assumed this was a standard promotional message, but when I opened it, I saw that it was actually a message based on my browsing behavior.
This message gets a lot of things right. It includes the image and the name of the sectional I was browsing, along with ways I can reach out and contact Pottery Barn with questions. It also includes other related product options and my closest store. I would have loved a discount-saving 10% on an item like this would have spurred me to purchase for sure.
You might have noticed that I mentioned that I had been looking at two different sectionals on the PB site. It looks like this template is designed for one product, which is fine. I actually got another message a day later with the same subject line featuring the other sectional I had been browsing. While this is one way to address a customer browsing several products, I think a program like this benefits from a suppression strategy, so that messages are deployed once every 7 to 14 days. It makes it a little less Big Brother-ish if they only come occasionally, rather than every time a customer browses. I am also wondering if Pottery Barn has a criteria for dollar amount of the item browsed. I wonder if they would send a message like this if I had been browsing pillows...
Do you think these types of campaigns are effective and a good use of data? I would love to hear from a marketer who has deployed these types of messages to see how they performed for you. Also, please let me know if you have other examples of these kinds of e-mails!
Liz Lynch, communications editor, e-Dialog