An Olympic summer for email marketers

Data and views from the Consumer Insights & Targeting team at Experian Marketing Services

It is common knowledge that to boost customer engagement with email marketing, brands should include timely information to raise open rates and drive clickthrough. Summer-themed emails have long been used by brands to provide talking points, and with the Olympic Games fast approaching and set to be the main event this summer, email marketers have also been able to use the popularity of the Games to generate attention.

For seasonal marketing purposes, emails that are able to adapt to the weather conditions see transaction rates more than double. Sending out ‘sunny’ emails whenever the sun is out and ‘rainy’ emails for when the weather turns sour with tailored content is a sure way to increase customer engagement. Emails where readers enter a competition to win products also experience higher levels of success over the summer period.

This is especially true when competition emails can be made timely, linking with popular events such as the Olympics, festivals or the Wimbledon Championships, for example. Where these two factors are successfully mixed, Experian CheetahMail data shows that emails of this type sees a 5% increase in customer engagement.

With people planning holidays and undertaking other activities related to the season, such as spending more time with their children during school holidays, sales based emails must be more focused and on message to engage with the busy consumer. Data shows that emails informing the recipient of summer sales experienced a 10% drop in open rates compared to everyday emails – so the onus is clearly on marketers to get the content and subject lines of their emails just right.

The potential benefit of hitting the right notes is clear to see, with transaction rates for sales emails dispatched in the summer slightly above average at 0.17%. Tweaking the subject line and content within these emails slightly to really address customer interest at this time of year will encourage a higher level of opens and clicks; resulting in higher levels of customer engagement and consequently greater return on investment.

Summer 2012 holds a special bonus for email marketers. Taking advantage of the Olympic fever that is currently sweeping the nation is a great way to increase customer engagement and boost clickthroughs. With a 16% increase in open rates already witnessed this year for emails that mention the Olympics in the subject line, customers are showing an ever-increasing enthusiasm for the Games.

Areas that show particularly high levels of interest relate to acquiring information related to the Olympics: dates, facts and its history. Incorporating these topics into campaign content and subject lines – such as ‘counting down to the Olympics’ – will result in higher levels of customer interest. Experian CheetahMail has found that emails containing interesting and informative information about the Games experience open rates of over 100% higher than those that don’t, and also achieve a 40% increase in click rates.

Taking learnings from the Beijing Olympics, emails that are able to provide informative and timely content perform exceptionally well. In this instance, campaigns that quickly adapted content to reflect contest results showed high levels of engagement – a massive 50% higher than other emails; something that marketers should bear in mind when planning their campaigns.

Seasonality of campaigns is something that all email marketers should be aware of and with the Olympic Games this summer, marketers have a great opportunity to spice up their email marketing campaigns. Marketers need to think strategically and understand how seasonal environments impact on customer behaviours and buying habits. Engagement is a perennial consideration for brands. To ensure repeated success, marketers must use everything they know about their customers to get more out of their campaigns and keep them coming back for more.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.

Come on in, it’s free.

This isn’t a paywall. It’s a freewall. We don’t want to get in the way of what you came here for, so this will only take a few seconds.