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The search for e-mail relevance

E-mail marketing can be exquisitely targeted or it can be spam, depending in large measure on the work done by the sender to ensure relevance to the recipient. One method of targeting is to use search engines.


Relevance is the coin of the realm in e-mail marketing. Despite all the talk about how spam kings get rich, the truth is that hardworking, legitimate e-mail marketers enjoy a far more lucrative and customer-friendly existence. Jupiter Research, in its report entitled The ROI of E-Mail Relevance, noted that conversion rates for carefully targeted e-mail reach nearly 4%, while traditional broadcast e-mail techniques barely approach 1%. Moreover, using these techniques to deliver relevant offers yields 18 times more profit than the simpleminded blast approach.
Using everything from CRM systems to Web analytics, marketers can identify the right message for just about anyone. Did you purchases a laptop three years ago that may be wearing out now? The CRM system knows to spit out your e-mail address. Have you visited the Web site and looked at the same product line twice in the last week? The Web Analytics system can notice that and possibly get you contacted.
But how do you generate unique offers for each of these very targeted groups? It’s incredibly expensive to create custom pages for so many offers.
Multifaceted search comes to the rescue. If you’ve already loaded up your product catalog in a multifaceted search engine, you can use search queries as your URLs in your e-mail marketing campaigns. BevMo.com and Northern Tool, for example, send e-mails that can drill into their product catalogs for just the right product or category of products, allowing shoppers to then drill yet deeper to find what they want.
Your CRM-based e-mail can do the same. Why not send those laptop owners e-mail pointing them to the top catalog page of your current laptops? Every feature is listed so that drill down to the best one is easy.
Your Web analytics system can do likewise. Why not send all who abandon your site e-mail offers that send them to a broader collection of products—maybe they did not know that you really have what they want. Again, the multifaceted interface allows shoppers to explore your products to find the one they want.
If you only use your search engine to help your Web visitors, you may be missing the boat. Your search facility is an easy way to generate dynamic content pages with no effort at all. Couple that ability with a targeted e-mail system and you may juice your sales sky high.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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