As a global provider of electronic components and industrial products R S Components faces the challenge of engaging a varied and widespread audience with its email communications.
However are they confusing or even alienating sections of their audience, and could they be using their e-shots to give a clearer insight into their customers’ needs and behaviour?
1. The most obvious problem that stands out here is a lack of identity. Although they have included the web address in a clear position, an explanatory sentence or strap line is essential. There is no obvious key message to pull it together.
2. Who is this e-shot aimed at? The main message has lost its focus and it may be difficult for recipients to see if it’s relevant to them. The free Mag-Lite offer takes too much attention away from the paid-for products, pushing them down the page. Not only does this suggest a lack of confidence in the products themselves it assumes all customers are interested in the same thing. With nothing else to compete for their attention they may switch off.
3. The ‘end of financial year super savings’ title is not particularly catchy. It needs to be benefit driven from the customer’s perspective in order to pique their interest. A saving of 50% on a wide range of products is the key benefit for the recipient so it should take precedence. At the moment it’s too small and overpowered by the other content.
4. There are too many sale products competing for attention, making this e-shot confusing and too lengthy. All the additional product information makes the design seem too busy. All that’s really needed is an image and a title.
5. RS Components offer a very wide variety of products but there is nothing in the e-shot that gets this across. Your customers will want to navigate through to the product they need on your website as quickly as possible so it’s essential to provide easily digestible categories to help them.
6. Many of the messages are conveyed though images. This is problematic as many email clients disable images by default. The chances are that few of the recipients will ever see the main points of the e-shot, since the most important area is taken up by the special offer – which is a graphic.
7. Since the e-shot does not contain any editorial content, or a personalised message specifically for the recipient there is little point in including ‘Kind regards’
How could it be improved?
1. Include an explanatory line or two to identify the company, make it immediately clear why the email has been received and what the benefits are. For example: ‘RS Components – ¼ million electronic and industrial products – visit our site to find some great deals.’
2. Reduce the size of the special offer and include it as a subsection of the e-shot rather than allowing it to dominate - shift the emphasis onto your products. It also might be more appropriate to choose an offer with broader appeal, as the Mag-Lite is very specific.
3. Use the key space at the top of your e-shot to create a truly benefit-led heading – like ‘Massive sale! Save up to 50% on our best selling products’. Offer something useful to your customers immediately by drawing their attention to a large range of products that they can save on. Then push them towards your website where you can make sales. This is a safer bet than offering one very specific free item.
4. Rather than cluttering the e-shot with a long list of different products assess which are the most popular (this could be seasonal, or they may be repeat products that customers often need) and feature only those. There is no need to include lots of product information in the newsletter, just make it clear to recipients they can click through to find out more.
5. Include your main product categories and quick links for the recipient. Anything you can do to make the services and products you offer crystal clear and reduce the length of time it takes to purchase them is vital.
6. Include information in text form wherever possible and make it succinct and clear. Images should be used sparingly to illustrate the points you’re making or, in this case, to showcase products.
As a final point
With a wide variety of products and services on offer, engaging with the right customers is a challenge. Understanding and learning about your customer base’s behaviour is very important – so do some experimenting. If you’re not sure which message will appeal most to your recipients, try segmenting your data and carrying out multiple sends using different targeted-content. You can then assess which versions perform better in terms of sales generation.
Try sending out newsletters highlighting product offers and one-shot emails to promote single or multi-line offers. This will allow you to segregate the benefits of generic sales messages and finely tuned targeted advertising campaigns.