Chances are, you use e-mail to market your services. And there’s a good chance you could be doing a better job of it. David Daniels, chief executive officer of The Relevancy Group, an e-mail marketing research and advisory firm, said many companies employ the “spray and pray” method of e-mail marketing: blast the same e-mail missive to everyone on the list and hope someone opens it. Most e-mail marketers don’t make the effort to segment their customers. And that oversight may result in leaving quite a bit of money on the table.

To wit: a newly released study conducted by The Relevancy Group suggests that marketers who link their e-mail campaigns to social media may be in for a huge sales lift. Companies that combine e-mail and social segmentation “drive six times the amount of revenue than those marketers that do not connect social and e-mail segmentation,” according to the report.

Getting There

But before an MSP can hope to achieve such such gains, it needs to address a fundamental issue. Daniels said the first step toward boosting e-mail marketing is understanding the value of e-mail subscribers: marketers need to know the cost of acquiring of subscribers and their monetary worth over time. Daniels offers a spreadsheet here for calculating subscriber value (see Value of E-mail Address).

“Our data shows that a little more than 38 percent of marketers actually know that number,” Daniels said.

Subscriber value is a useful insight and, as Daniels pointed out, important for justifying budget dollars.

Moving on to the mechanics of e-mail campaigns, open rates and click-through rates provide additional key nuggets of customer information. E-mail marketing services and software products provide that kind of data, which can help companies segment the customer list.

For example, subscribers who seldom react to messages may be targeted with a win-back campaign, according to The Relevancy Group report. A different message can be crafted for subscribers who frequently click on links in e-mail.

“This basis of audience engagement understanding is necessary particularly when attempting to drive engaged subscribers to become social advocates,” the report noted.

Most companies, however, miss out on segmentation, especially the more sophisticated varieties. The study found that 61 percent of the marketers surveyed used demographic segmentation. In contrast, 42 percent said they used click-through segmentation in their marketing initiatives. And fewer still segment according to customer profitability.

Tying In Social Media

For many, segmentation, and the potential for tapping social media agenda.

“Most people aren’t even thinking about leveraging social media with their e-mail pieces,” said Dan Forootan, president of StreamSend Email Marketing, which commissioned The Relevancy Group study.

Forootan has a few ideas for linking social media to an e-mail campaign:
  • Provide relevant content. Customers aren’t very likely to share information that isn’t interesting. All the more reason to pursue segmentation with the aim of tailoring messages to particular audiences.
  • To facilitate sharing, the e-mail campaign should have some sort of social sharing element, Forootan noted. StreamSend, which makes e-mail marketing software, facilitates e-mail sharing via Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. The Relevancy Group report, meanwhile, said marketers should design messages so parts of it may be shared, rather than the entire e-mail. Marketers, the report noted, “should include share buttons throughout the email copy so that nuggets of content can be shared.”
  • Finally, sharing content on social media creates an opportunity to add downstream recipients to the e-mail list, Forootan said. An e-mail piece that includes a link to a sign-up form provides the means for prospective customers to opt into the e-mail list.

Worth Your Time?

MSPs tap e-mail for a range of marketing activities, from promoting events to launching new services to distributing whitepapers. Sending out a batch of e-mail messages isn’t particularly hard, but learning about the customers on the list requires an investment in time. And time is often the main enemy of an MSP’s marketing efforts.

But spending a few hours on the e-mail list and focusing on particular segments could pay off.