July 24, 2008

E-Mail Marketing And Geography: Multichannel Opportunities

In e-mail marketing, we obsess about simply getting a marketing message to first arrive in the inbox of a customer, then to get the image to render properly. Assuming we can accomplish these challenging issues, we focus on the offer and subject line text, trying to maximize click-through and conversion rates.

Seldom do we tailor the message based on geography.

This is a map of the greater Seattle metropolitan area. Green zip codes are those that perform best for this brand, while yellow zip codes perform worst.

The magic of e-mail marketing is that separate messages can be created, based on geography.

The customer who lives in Easton, sixty miles southeast of downtown Seattle in the Cascade Mountains, is not likely to shop in your store --- heck, in winter, this customer simply cannot get across the mountain pass. Why advertise a store message to this customer?

Conversely, the customer living in Belltown has close to a thousand shopping opportunities within ten miles of her home, and can easily walk to several hundred stores. How might the marketing message be different for this customer than for the customer living in Easton?

What about the customer living in Bremerton, just ten miles west of Seattle ... but a two hour trip due to the wait to get on to a ferry to get to Seattle? Maybe buy online / pickup in store is an option, given that this customer works in Seattle?

Zip code data is FREE! You maintain the information for every customer who purchases from your online and phone channels, and in many cases, you have this data for retail purchasers as well.

Each zip code can be classified across different dimensions.
  • Urban, Suburban or Rural.
  • High Spending, Average Spending, Low Spending Zip Codes.
  • Distance From Closest Store.
  • Store Preference.
  • Channel Preference: Phone, Website, Store
E-Mail marketing strategy is crafted for each categorization. You're likely to see a ten or twenty percent increase in e-mail marketing performance based on versions of e-mail campaigns targeted to customers having different zip code characteristics.

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