Email marketing emerged on the scene four decades ago. But it still continues to break records as the marketing format that reaches the biggest audience (3 billion and counting) with the most significant impact (up to 40x more effective than social media). 



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In recent years, the most considerable boost to email marketing comes from the mobile space. Apple’s plans to retire IDFA will have significant consequences for marketers. Marketers will be required to gain a user’s permission in order to track and evaluate post-install activity, including revenue, directly to a campaign or publisher app. 

In a post-IDFA world, obtaining a user’s email address is key for engaging and re-engaging consumers. And to be most effective, email messages need to be optimized and individualized, which can pose a challenge. 

Tapping Customer Context to Inform Direct Marketing

One company up for the challenge is BigShyft, a career platform for top professionals looking for their next career move.

Using analytics, automation, and deep insights, the company (part of the InfoEdge brand that pioneered the job search process in India) creates customized campaigns that address niche audiences. The results include a 40% increase in retention. 

Appearing as a guest on the Reimagine Growth podcast series, Deepro Ganguly, BigShyft’s Head of Marketing, shared how his company relies on customized messaging and email marketing to improve the experience for both job seekers and recruiters.

“We started with a vision to help talented individuals reach their full potential,” Ganguly explains. For job applicants, the task centers on encouraging individuals to complete registrations and continue the interaction even after they have found a job. For recruiters, it’s all about keeping interest high through relevant and personal communications that guide them to their goal of hiring exceptional talent.

Personalization Builds Trust – and Expands the Business

Communications must be aligned with where talent and recruiters are in their own journeys, as well as “be as individualized as they can be,” Ganguly says. It’s why his company relies on CleverTap to “map and track multiple journeys and consistently deliver genuinely helpful marketing at the right moment.”

Specifically, BigShyft uses CleverTap to power user engagement through intelligent direct marketing. Also, real-time analytics ensure communications are customized and meaningful to the individual based on how they interact and what they value.

Already expert at connecting talent with the help of its AI-based job recommendation software, BigShyft has been building capabilities to cultivate talent. A big part of this is Meet Your Champion, a new product to match budding talent with seasoned mentors. In practice, it connects individuals who make donations to charities (such as COVID-19 assistance) with the tech industry’s leaders and influencers for valuable 1-on-1 conversations and career advice.

“We believe a 30-minute conversation can change your life,” Ganguly explains, “and getting the mentor is a critical part of the career journey.” (At the time of recording, Ganguly reported that the product, only two months old at the time, has completed close to 250 mentoring sessions and raised a significant amount for charity.)

Ganguly says the positive feedback on the new product has encouraged BigShyft to expand their direct marketing to reach more individuals at crucial points in their careers. “We’ve been seriously overwhelmed by the love,” he says. “It started out as kind of an experiment, but now with all the feedback, we are really doubling down investing in this, incorporating it into the overall BigShyft ecosystem.”

Sharpening Approaches to Achieve Results

For Ganguly, email is the “scalpel” in the marketing toolbox. It allows marketers to slice across a broad base of customers and engage with a very niche audience.

It all comes down to choosing the right personalization techniques that “allow you to enter the mind space of the user in a very contextual and relevant manner,” Ganguly explains. He provides a checklist of steps marketers can take to ensure their email marketing campaigns cut through the noise to drive interest and, ultimately, conversions.

  1. Combine data to drive connection: The key, he says, is to “create really deep audience cohorts” to understand who the person is and meet their individual needs. BigShyft does this by combining first and second-party data. It also relies on audience surveys and a real-time view of how users interact with the service.
    “The combination,” he adds, “allows us to use all these attributes about the person – their past experiences, the companies they have worked in ­– to create campaigns and drive customer connection.”
  2. Plan intelligent and individual user journeys: Harness real-time data and behavioral insights to build different journeys for different customer segments. “Drawing from this data to send the right emails to the right segments really works wonders,” he says.
    But automation is the factor that allows the company to achieve impressive results. Overall, Ganguly says, the uplift is “about 3X in terms of percentage growth consistently month on month since we started.”
  3. Ingest data to automate campaigns: BigShyft relies on CleverTap at two levels. “It’s the capability that allows marketers to create and adapt multiple user journeys and flows,” he explains. “And it’s also the repository of all our data, all the behaviors, and everything that happens on the website.”
    The approach allows BigShyft to distill more insights from its data and develop strategies that adapt to where individuals are in the journey. The combination of historical data plus what’s happening on the website in real time empowers them to create cohorts and deliver targeted and relevant email messages.
  4. Give it a personal touch: Ganguly is also a fan of a personal touch in email and urges marketers to embrace A/B testing to figure out what flies and what falls. When it comes to the email body, he says, marketers need to find the right tone. “A lot of marketers love exclamation marks and shouting, but this doesn’t work.” Short, structured sentences with a clear call-to-action does.
  5. Ask questions: When Ganguly’s team sends an email, they always ask for feedback. No emails are sent from no-reply email addresses, and every email sounds human. “It’s a personal job recommendation, and we say things like: ‘Hey, if you don’t think this job is right for you, do you mind telling me or replying to the email?’”
    The approach strikes a chord with audiences. “A simple question like that really drives up your response rates,” he says. Even better, the ongoing conversation informs BigShyft’s efforts to optimize and improve the product, resulting in higher retention rates and lasting loyalty.

The Takeaway

TL;DR Email marketing is a must-have in your marketing toolbox. But brace yourself for it to take on new importance when Apple retires IDFA. That’s when targeting and retargeting consumers will test marketers’ mettle, and obtaining email addresses will be a key part of the equation.

But getting the email address is just half the battle. Customers expect personalized messages that are relevant to their needs and circumstances. It’s essential to tailor messages to specific audiences and map communications to where individuals are in their journeys. 

Fine-tune segmentation using insights from your data. But remember, segmentation isn’t static. Pay close attention to user behavior patterns and adapt your email marketing to how your audience interacts with your marketing and messaging in real time. 

To achieve this, you must combine data to create cohorts and segments. It also means harnessing automation to drive customer connection and action at scale. Just don’t forget the human touch. Show empathy and interest by finding the right tone. 

Turning your emails into a dialog can be a bonus. In the case of BigShyft, a company on a mission to match the best talent with the perfect jobs, emails from a real person’s email ID (not a no-reply) fueled higher interest and lifted response rates.

Infuse your direct marketing with the right mix of automation and humanity, informed by data and real-time analytics, to deliver genuinely helpful marketing that drives connection and conversions.

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