Beyond The ‘Batch And Blast’

I recently heard someone say “batch and blast is dead” — which made me think, is it really?  I’ll go out on a limb and say that every retailer is doing some blasting; and I have proof given all the “batch” emails currently in my personal inbox from a multitude of retailers telling me about deals, new products, and special offers. And there’s one reason why too- they still work and continue to impact revenue for retailers. 

What has changed is that batch emails are becoming a smaller percentage of total email volume.  Email marketing continues to evolve as technology becomes more and more advanced and marketers have more data than before.  Marketers are also finding new ways to leverage email to their advantage, allowing them to go beyond the traditional batch emails, to create unique experiences that build relationships with their customers and deliver ROI.


Today online retailers are seeing more value in behavioral targeting and triggered messaging, which are much more effective at driving conversions and revenue due to their personal relevance.  The key to behavioral targeting is for marketers to “understand” the consumer by honing in on order history, site behavior (click-stream data) and email engagement to identify intent.  Analyzing this data enables marketers to tailor messages, recommendations and offers to individual consumers.

According to a recent study released by the Direct Marketing Association, email is bringing in $40.56 for every dollar spent on it this year — vastly more than any other marketing channel. So how can online retailers take advantage of this opportunity and broaden their campaigns beyond the blast? Here are some strategies and techniques that will help retailers immediately impact ecommerce revenue:

Shopping Cart Abandonment Remarketing: Online shopping carts are abandoned for a number of reasons but the results remain the same — lost revenue. It’s an issue costing online retailers an average of 76% of their ecommerce conversions.  Shopping cart abandonment remarketing campaigns re-capture those abandoned sales through personalized messages that prompt the purchase.  There are a few essential elements to a successful cart abandonment campaign:

  • Send a series of three to five messages, not just one.
  • Send the first message within 1-3 hours of abandonment.
  • Include images of the items left in the cart as a way to entice the consumers
  • Include offers, based on the page abandoned, as time lapses (e.g. if a shopper abandons on the shipping page, try a free shipping offer in the second or third message).

Welcome Series:
Welcome messaging can be one of your most important email campaigns because it provides the opportunity to individually engage subscribers when they’re most attentive to your brand, builds brand loyalty, validates and profiles subscribers, and ultimately generates revenue. A welcome series could be as simple or as complex as your brand requires, but should always be more than one message. A multi-touch campaign incorporating dynamic content based on behavior and preferences over an extended period of time can greatly increase engagement levels, conversions and the ROI of your email marketing.  You should consider various versions of your welcome messages – one for new subscribers who have never purchased that may include an offer to prompt them to buy; another triggered by a first time purchase; and another for customers who have purchased multiple times but have never subscribed to your email list. No matter what, welcome messages are proven to increase conversions.

Behaviorally Targeted Campaigns: A Jupiter Research study on the ROI of email relevance found that behaviorally targeted campaigns generate 30% higher open and click-through rates and three times the conversion rates of broadcast (a.k.a. batch and blast) email. Behaviorally targeted campaigns boost engagement levels, build brand loyalty, prompt conversions and increase overall email marketing ROI. Behavioral campaigns, such as reminders, product replenishment, loyalty clubs and welcome series, can be developed to deploy automatically based on subscriber and customer behaviors so your message reaches consumers at the right time with personally relevant messages.

Post Purchase Campaigns:
Online retailers expend significant resources acquiring new customers, but are often lax when it comes to increasing the value of existing customers. Which is quite interesting given that we all know it’s easier to sell to existing customers than to acquire new ones. Retailers must put targeted strategies in place to capitalize on existing customers and past purchasers who have become dormant. A post purchase strategy immediately impacts bottom line revenue and can include a myriad of messages triggered based on last purchase.  Here are some sample post purchase campaigns that effectively drive conversions:

  • Product Review Requests – not only do they keep customers engaged with your brand, but good reviews also help convert other shoppers.
  • Product Recommendations – prompt the next purchase by recommending complimentary products.
  • Loyalty Programs – reward your best customers to keep them purchasing again and again.
  • Win-Back Campaigns – reach out to those customers who haven’t purchased in a while to get them re-engaged and purchasing again.

Using any of these proven email marketing tactics gives online retailers a lift in conversions and revenue. But, using ALL of these strategies provides significant increases in ecommerce sales, revenue, customer lifetime value and average order values, not to mention driving brand loyalty and acquiring more new customers. 

Ross Kramer is a co-founder and CEO of Listrak. He has nearly 15 years of executive leadership, successfully launching and directing three technology start-ups. Ross has led Listrak from concept to leading email marketing solutions provider serving online retailers, interactive agencies, and direct marketers. As CEO, Ross is a thought-leader within the online marketing community, lending his expertise to conferences, seminars, and webcasts.

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