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Behaviorally-Targeted Emails Keep User Engagement Mint-y Fresh by Lynn Dalsing @lynndalsing

Behaviorally-Targeted Emails Keep User Engagement Mint-y Fresh by Lynn Dalsing @lynndalsing

Behaviorally-Targeted Emails Keep User Engagement Mint-y Fresh

If there is still a question in your mind about whether or not it’s important to segment and target your email lists, I’d like to banish it:

  • 25% of people say they have unsubscribed from an email list due to irrelevant content.
  • In a study of 100K marketing emails sent, HubSpot found that senders with 2-6 email lists had a 13.7% increase in open rate over those with one email list.
  • Email segmentation can also drive higher conversion rates and better inbox placement rates.

So now, you’re probably asking yourself how you get in on this magic. You can segment your email list by location, age, gender, ISP, how long they’ve been a subscriber, and dozens of other criteria. At ividence, we are big proponents of behavioral targeting, because it taps into implied preferences to increase relevance and find the right email offer for each subscriber.

While we use behavioral targeting for email advertising, I think it’s important to also look at how it can be used for retention campaigns as well. Mint.com does a fantastic job using behavioral targeting and automation to improve relevance. The behavioral triggers are driven by both site login data and by behavioral data based on synched financial accounts.

Weekly Financial Summary

Subject Line: Your Weekly Financial Summary from Mint.com – 05/25/2012

Mint sends out a weekly financial summary that isn’t technically segmented or targeted. However, they feed data from your last week’s behavior into a chart that shows where your money went, so that it feels personal and relevant. Amounts and categories are blocked out here to protect the innocent (namely me from my mother).

Login-Triggered Emails

Subject Line: Exceeded budget for Coffee Shops

Mint also automates emails that are triggered when you login and have a budget or account issue that may need your attention.

I love this because it does two very important things:

  1. Draws my attention to things that I may need to do something about (like going to Starbucks less often).
  2. Contacts me at a time when Mint.com knows I’ve been looking at my account info so I am in the right mindset and likely have some time to log back in.

Suggested Services Emails

Subject line: You’re paying more than average for auto insurance

The last kind of email that I get on a regular basis from Mint is what I would call ‘suggestion emails’. They segment by spending based on the data they pull from members’ accounts to find areas where they can spend less or earn more.

What’s brilliant about this is that Mint uses my past purchase behavior to find opportunities for me to save money, opportunities that also make them money if I switch. So by making the ads they serve me more relevant (through targeting based on my past behavior), Mint encourages me to open, click, and convert.

How it All Works Together

Essentially, Mint created an email experience that is all about me, while still driving me to take action, whether that’s to log in to the site or explore a way to potentially save money.

The creative, the timing, the use of my data: all of it works together to benefit me. Even if I get several emails in a row (say when I log in and have exceeded a budget and have an unusually low balance in an account so that I get two alerts at once), I don’t find myself irritated because it’s all relevant at that exact moment.

Takeaway: Keeping emails super-relevant can change an experience that could be annoying into one that leaves a subscriber feeling almost pampered. In particular, take a look at behavioral data that you have, either from within your ESP or from subscriber login data to see if you can add a benefit for your subscribers based on that data. Make sure you’re still driving KPIs (visits, purchases, etc.), but see what you can offer in return by being a smarter marketer.

What about you? What companies do you admire for their behavioral targeting in email? Or which do you think could do better?

  • Profile:  Lynn Dalsing develops marketing strategy and content within the U.S. market for ividence. She has several years of experience in marketing for both B2B and B2C audiences. While working at high-end maternity clothing manufacturer, Ingrid & Isabel, she oversaw the development and evolution of branding for the company’s highly successful launch into Target stores. Lynn has a passion for combining outstanding messaging with reach and engagement statistics, once describing an ESP’s reporting dashboard as the “best toy a marketer could get.” She can be reached at ldalsing@ividence.com.
  • Website:  http://www.ividence.com
  • Twitter:   http://www.twitter.com/lynndalsing
  • LinkedIn:   http://www.linkedin.com/in/lynndalsing
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