Most of us are aware that in order to generate effective email campaigns, they must contain offers that are relevant to our customers. However, innovative teen retailer Karmaloop recently took that knowledge a step further by giving their finicky consumers even greater control over the merchandise offers they get. By allowing their subscribers to select specific product categories and brands they are interested in, Karmaloop’s email-generated revenue jumped 318%.

The wants of today’s consumers change regularly, especially those of teens and tweens. In the midst of opening your email, a teen might also be talking on their cell phone, downloading songs to their iPod, and watching MTV. Realizing this, Karmaloop, an online retailer of urban, streetwear, rave and boutique clothing, sought to do a better job of offering products of importance in their email marketing initiatives.

With its primary demographic being teen shoppers, Karmaloop’s marketers knew it was imperative to spark the interest of recipients with highly relevant content. With a mailing list of 300,000, the folks at Karmaloop had previously been sending email offers based on their customers’ past purchases but felt they could do more. So they enhanced their email program by adding an automated system that gives customers control over what merchandise they want to hear about, creating a more targeted email.

To accomplish this, Karmaloop surveyed a large portion of their customer base to determine how many brands to include in the new program. The results confirmed their suspicions – that they had a handful of wildly popular brands — but they were surprised to see that there was also a great deal of interest in dozens of lesser-known brands. They used this information to refine their email offerings and develop an automated program that delivered more customized emails.

Karmaloop achieved the relevancy they were looking for. In fact, they were ecstatic with the bottom-line numbers: email-generated revenue skyrocketed 318%, while conversions-to-sale increased from 3% to 4.6%. The automated system has also helped overall onsite sales, which have been growing incrementally by 3%.

You too can capitalize on the wealth of information that can be obtained from conducting your own customer survey. Then, based on the information you gather from the survey, follow this 5-step system developed by Karmaloop to create your own automated email program.

Step 1 – Pinpoint categories & brands

After sorting through your survey data, compile an alphabetical checklist of your most popular brands. As long as the list is relevant to your audience, an extensive length should not be a problem. If the list starts to underperform, you can easily shorten it.

In addition, you can also incorporate your standard product categories into the checklist. Design your system so that it can recognize IP addresses, so when a customer comes back to modify his or her list, the categories and brands they have selected will be check-marked to remind them of what they are signed up for.

Step 2 – Include signup buttons on landing pages

Capture more search-engine-generated leads by placing prominent signup buttons on the landing pages for your brand keyword buys. It is also a good idea to add signup buttons on brand and category pages throughout your site.

Step 3 – Target certain behaviors

Next, program your system to take into account behavior information, such as abandoned shopping cart products and recent repeatedly viewed items, and combine them with both the pre-selects and past purchases. In terms of purchases, similar products or cross-sell items can become part of your equation. Hold weekly meetings to discuss the data and decide whether or not to tweak the algorithms.

Step 4 – Carefully plan message timing

Determine how many emails to send customers and prospects based on current sales and new products being driven with the brands they have selected. For instance, you might send two emails one week but none the next week. Be careful not to bombard your subscribers with constant emails. You may even want to set up your program to limit it to no more than two messages a week about sales/new arrivals related to the customer’s selected brands.

Step 5 – Target non-responders four months later with a new offer

If emails do not convert after four months without unsubscribes, design your automated system to rotate merchandise to the next group of items on the team’s set behavioral scale. (Items abandoned in a shopping cart get one of the top weights, while products viewed three times are weighted higher than ones viewed once.)

For example, if a female Karmaloop customer hadn’t made a purchase, the Luxirie by LRG jeans offers she was getting were replaced by Soundgirl jeans or another jeans line she had repeatedly clicked on.

With the right combination of creativity and dedication, Karmaloop’s 5-step program can help you to empower your customers, thereby improving email relevancy and ultimately increasing your open, clickthrough, and conversion rates.

For more information on Email Marketing, call us at 1-800-978-3417 or Contact Active Web Group and let us help you!

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