At this busy time of year for retailers I was fortunate to get a few moments of time from Jon Morse at Filofax to interview him on how to make email successful.
Read on to find out how click through rates have been doubled and how social media is bringing rewards.
Tim: With technology advances and high smartphone penetration what is Filofax's brand strategy to stay relevant in our connected, digitally driven world?
Jon: With so many working days spent at a computer, we have seen many customers crave the tactile feel of pen to paper. Filofax offers the user a quiet, private moment and a solid hard copy of personal information.
Our strategy is not to compete with technological advances, but rather, to position ourselves as a fashionable, luxury paper-based product for those moments away from the screen. We find many customers using both a smartphone and an organiser.
Tim: How has this set the agenda for marketing?
Jon: While our product does not depend on new technologies our marketing surely does! We are constantly searching for new ways to digitally engage with our customers through reactive and strategic email campaigns, social media, blogging partnerships and by utilising our online PR.
Tim: You have a new social strategy rolling out, can you tell us what you hope this will achieve?
Jon: Filofax lends itself perfectly to date-based commentary but social has also been a great tool to help us reposition the brand into the fashion space. We generate posts and engagement relevant to this space and carefully pick influential bloggers with fashion credibility to work with. Six months ago very few people would associate Filofax with London fashion week but in September we collaborated with Harper’s Bazaar resulting in branded Filofaxes on the front row.
Tim: What has been the strength of your email marketing?
Jon: Segmentation. This year we have completely moved away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach and worked to personalise our campaigns to the recipient. We optimise our campaigns based on the data available to us from simply tailoring creative to a specific gender to offering our most engaged customers offers and promotions first. Through Campaign Commander smart segmentation we have been able to implement the Filofax VIP club whereby brand advocates are first to receive offers and announcements.
By being clever with our segmentation we have seen open and click through rates double year on year.
Tim: How do you see social activity complementing your email campaigns?
Jon: We know that customers rarely come to our site through one channel alone and so social activity allows us to reaffirm our core marketing messages. This holistic approach to marketing means that we can easily move customers between channels knowing that the messages they receive are the consistent.
We have introduced tweets and Facebook posts into our emails which helps to demonstrate our daily engagement with customers and support our brand repositioning.
Tim: You achieve benchmark beating open rates, what do you put that down to?
Jon: In addition to the segmentation we are stringent testers! Every campaign has at least two subject lines tested before roll-out which often throws up some surprises.
Essentially our great open rates are data driven – we draw on all the lessons learnt from previous campaigns to architect emotive and engaging subject lines.
This year we have also begun experimenting on different sender from names. Previously our emails campaign from ‘Filofax’. Now we help to communicate the content of the email earlier in the journey by using ‘Filofax – Just In!’ and ‘Filofax Offers’.
Tim: On what basis do you segment customers?
Jon: At the very least we segment based on engagement. It makes little sense to keep pushing the same messages to people who aren’t historically opening your emails. For our engaged customers we are confident about what works – for those unengaged customers there is a constant testing culture in place.
We also ensure any images are selected based on gender and of course, avoid sending irrelevant campaigns to certain customers. We work on the principle that it doesn’t matter how frequently emails are sent but rather, how relevant the content is.
Tim: Automated triggered emails are naturally relevant due to their timing and get great results. What triggered emails do you run?
Jon: We have three core triggers:
Rate and Review
Tim: Content is often a challenge for email marketers. Have you any tips to share about where to find and get engaging content?
Jon: We have been fortunate this year in that our PR agency, Slam PR have been engaging with fashion bloggers on a number of competitions and challenges. This has given us lots of really interesting material to work with. Also, repositioning the Filofax brand in the luxury fashion space has meant that it is appropriate for us to align to the fashion calendar which has presented various trends and big calendar dates.
We are also very active in the social space and we strive to include user-generated content where possible and appropriate
Tim: Thank you for taking the time and for sharing some of the practices that work for Filofax. I wish you continued email and social success in the New Year.
18 Dec 2011