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Taking Stock: breaking down membership data

How to divide membership data is a concern for many businesses. Depending on customer classifications and according to the needs of different users, the formulation and adjustment of an email marketing strategy can be used to enhance the effects of e-mail marketing. This article from China’s B2C e-commerce platform SooBest explains how to maximise one’s email marketing strategy.

How to divide data?

There’s always a need to determine how to divide membership data for many companies. Based on SooBest’s experience in customer service, it is recommended that customer data be divided into four main categories, following a logical pyramid structure:

  • Pyramid bottom: Inactive user data. According to the actual process, summarise the data from the past three months to six months. Users who received emails but never opened them should be classified as "inactive users" at the bottom of the pyramid.
  • Pyramid second layer: Those who in the past three to six months opened the mail, but who never really clicked through or provided feedback data.
  • Pyramid third layer: Users who have shown an interest and provided feedback once or more. These are the users that check the website on a regular basis to obtain product information. They belong to the class of active users, which occupies the largest proportion of customer numbers in most enterprises.
  • The top level of the pyramid: Users who give feedback and follow through on purchases. They receive a company’s email, open it, then click through to make a purchase. Such users are already accustomed to clicking and buying habits, and they account for the actual performance of the enterprise. They belong to the category of high-quality VIP.

Any business can divide customer data into the above four classifications. On this basis, Email Direct Marketing (EDM) can be further subjected to highly specialised and personalised messages in transmission and marketing.

Strategize emails according to customer classifications

After classifying the types of users, companies can develop different EDM strategies accordingly.

First, adjust the frequency of mailings, especially for the inactive user groups. If a company continues to send emails at a high rate of frequency, such as twice or three times a week, customers’ resentment will only increase, with negative consequences.

Second, draft emails with different products to send more personalised messages to different user groups.

Using the four major categories of users for example, SooBest offers these details on how to adjust an email strategy:

1. For users at the bottom of the pyramid, in addition to lower transmission frequency, there are other methods that can be used.

First, seize the right time to push emails. Focus on holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day and others; send a greeting message or a topic of speculation in order to spark user’s interests.

Second, take the initiative to send gift points, prompting the user with a reminder of his or her username and password. For example, "You haven’t logged in for a long time. Your login name and password is… Stop by and see our website’s new look!" Emails like these can turn inactive users into ones who open emails.

For those users who open their emails but don’t click through to the website, measures must be taken to increase their interest in emails. Otherwise, they can easily slide to the bottom of the pyramid. Emails about selling information do not work for this type of user, and care must be taken in email strategies targeting this class.

Take home furniture emails for example: Try to avoid the direct introduction of products in the mail, but tell users tips about how to beautify their home spaces and where to place furniture. Such email contents can arouse the desire of the user to click through.

2. For users who reliably open and click the emails but who show a lack of buying behaviour, in addition to using traditional sales messages, it is recommended to change the message wording. Adding words such as "this week’s TOP10 best seller products, last two days, seize this chance" directly leads to referrals for hot products and promotes actual purchases.

3. Users at the top of the pyramid are the most active group; they are willing to share and interact with others, and should be fully and effectively maintained.

Companies should send these users "thank you" emails for their purchases as well as to collect their feedback.

Next, set the call-to-action button to attract customers’ attention.

Use social marketing platforms like Twitter to push clients’ messages, and then carry out viral marketing campaigns to archive cross-border and integrated email marketing.

Sending emails with sub-frequency and sub-strategy to the above four groups achieves the effect of personalized marketing to meet the needs of different users, which is also the main strategy to improve email marketing effectiveness.

Taking Stock is Retail in Asia’s fortnightly column dedicated to showcasing opinions from experts in the retail industry.