Interesting post- worth the read- on MailChimp on how segmentation is helping, or hurting, the businesses that use their service for sending email. They did a broad study on the response rates of all of their customer’s campaigns that used segmentation, including logical filters using email readership behaviors, such as opens and reads. In the final paragraph, they reason most of the negative segmentation results are due to reminder emails:
Turns out the majority of users who had A.I.M. Reports [response filter] installed were not using it to send special emails to loyal subscribers (“segment based on those who opened my recent 3 campaigns”) but were using it to send follow-up campaigns to “those who did not open my last message.” This has been documented on email marketing sites as an extremely effective tactic to generate more bookings by hotels and event organizers (Marketingsherpa: Should You Re-Send Your Email Newsletter to Non-Openers?). But when you factor in how inherently inaccurate open rate tracking is, it’s understandable that some of these followup campaigns are perceived as pesky duplicates to some recipients.
Reminder emails are a common method of milking the most out of an offer. You didn’t buy it the first time around? We’ll send you three emails reminding you that the sale will end… OK it’s really going to end… You have one more day… OK we’re extending it another day… as you can see this becomes tiresome to the customer and, as MailChimp saw, despite having nice targeted segments of relevant customers, they end up unsubscribing.
What’s wrong with a reminder?
- Extensions undermine any future messaging or urgency, customer wise up to the fake deadlines
- Meaningless reminders end up being nagging- keep it to one or two
- No rationale as to why the customer is being targeted, they don’t know why, which leads them to conclude that it’s spam and untargeted, and they unsubscribe
- Over-re-cycled content sets a precedent for cheap, uninformative content
What can you do?
Write meaningful subject lines that inform the customer where they are in the series:
1) New Sale in X Days
2) Reminder: Sale ending
3) Final Reminder
Keep the reminders at a minimum- one or two, with a final check-in that is truly a final goodbye.
Let the customer know where they are in the series. Series can be very useful and have great results, but you have to let the customer know that you’re not mindlessly re-sending the list the same copy.
Make the segmentation transparent: You can say, “You didn’t open the last- here’s a reason to open this one,” use your segmentation logic in the subject line. eHarmony did this very well recently to me, with a note from the marketing director. It was a simple text email with a subject line, “You haven’t read our emails lately…”
Personally I’m not a fan of reminders, I think they’re lazy and increase unsubscriptions. I am a fan of series emails, albeit done well. It takes more work, but it’s very effective and improves the conversation between the customer and the marketer.