Notes From the Field: Developing Clickable Content

Cathy Traugot
Content Marketing Editor
Bronto Software

Content is a critical component of email marketing, as our speakers at the Commerce Marketing Spotlight event in Los Angeles illustrated very well. If all you have to say is, “Here’s our product. Buy it!’’, you’ll run out of ways to engage your shoppers pretty quickly.

Jill Pauley from Sexy Hair and Jonni Murphy of TOMS Shoes talked about the content they’ve developed and how they’re using it in email. For Murphy, the ability to build multiple email workflows in a short time played a huge role in the release of a recent campaign. For Pauley, a move to dramatically increase user-generated content is making its way into email campaigns in a way that’s sure to shake them up.

Connecting Customers With a Cause Through Email Marketing

Murphy is the digital marketing manager at TOMS, a company that not only sells trendy, comfy shoes but also donates a pair of shoes for every pair bought. It’s an effective marketing strategy that generates plenty of great content, including earned media. But the giving team wanted to take it up a notch, and email turned out to be the star vehicle.

Working with not-for-profit partners, TOMS’ giving team identified several countries and determined what types of shoes would make the most sense to supply to people in need there. In India, schools require a certain type of shoe be worn, so that’s what TOMS donates. In Armenia, warm winter boots are needed. In the Philippines, it’s wet-weather shoes with traction.

Earlier this year, Murphy’s team was asked if they could create a 10-option survey that popped up just after a purchase. The follow-up to the survey was a triggered email thanking the customer and telling them more about the giving in that particular country. “We needed it to work on desktop and mobile. We needed to A/B test the creative. We needed a place to store the content and segment the follow-up emails based on the answers,’’ Murphy explained. There’s also an additional follow-up survey email with a discount.

It took just a few weeks to launch the campaign, and the feedback has been terrific. The email open rate for the messages is 2.5 times higher than average. Even better are the comments from customers. Here was one that Murphy shared with the audience:

Just bought these adorable flowered shoes! Loved that I got to choose my home country to have the One for One pair go to."

Employing Users to Freshen Marketing

At Sexy Hair, Pauley, the director of online marketing and CRM, noticed a trend. “A while back, I noticed that videos started to appear in organic searches. And I thought to myself, ‘Wow, what an amazing opportunity – especially for a hair company, where we rely pretty heavily on video content – to show people what this product can do.’’’ Much of what she was seeing wasn’t professionally produced; it was beauty enthusiasts posting how-to videos.

But there was a catch. “It’s really expensive and time-consuming to produce video.’’ What Pauley was seeing turning up in search results, though, was not professionally produced. Pauley began working with Octoly to get product in the hands of unpaid influencers. She would then receive notifications of reviews that she could choose to use.

Given the cost of professional photography and video, Pauley began testing the use of photos and videos in the content her company produced – be it online ads or paid social. It turns out that using influencer content isn’t just less expensive, but “influencers are more relatable.’’

For ads, the click-through rate jumped from .06% for those with professional content to 3.12% for those featuring user-generated content.

So where does this fit in with email? Pauley is a cart recovery email enthusiast, and she’s begun using Olapic, a Bronto partner, to automatically draw in user-generated content that matches the products abandoned in the cart. Pauley is still measuring the performance but is familiar with others in her vertical having success and feels confident.

This content was originally published by Oracle + Bronto.

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