Context based email marketing

Creating Context based Email Marketing

A typical email marketing tag line will usually promise the ability to send the right message to the right person at the right time.  It’s phrase we’ve used in the past and it describes something that most marketers are looking to achieve, but the missing word is ‘context’.

When you are able to create ‘context based email marketing’ your engagement levels skyrocket.  Why?  Because you’ve been able to send a marketing message that is in context to the behaviour of the person receiving it.


Asking the right questions

One of the most asked questions of any business providing email marketing services is, “when is the best time to send our email?“.

It’s a tricky question…

It’s a tricky question because although it’s an important question to the person that is asking it, the real question is; ‘How can I make my email marketing more effective?‘.  The answer to that is by getting closer to your audience, sending relevant email marketing, that is email marketing that is in context to the audience.


Sending at the right time vs Sending with the right context

Sending at the right time is about making sure that your message gets read.  That it’s top of the pile at the time when people are checking their emails.

Now getting to the top of the inbox IS important, but at some point every email holds that position.  However, in comparison to social media which moves at a huge speed, email moves pretty slowly, so your message is easier to be noticed by your audience.

In the majority, email also now has two chances to get noticed.  When you check your emails on the move via the mail app (which is the number 1 app on every mobile in terms of usage!), and then again when you check your email from other devices (usually desktop).

Email also hangs around, every email is indexed and searchable.  So in some cases, it’s not the time you’ve sent the email isn’t actually important and it’s the content / offer / message of the email has become important due to the circumstances of the individual.  When someone is searching for something, you’ll get a better chance of a response, it’s human nature, it’s common sense and it’s also something we see time and time again.


Complex vs Complicated

This year, I helped @FredPernet with his annual Agile workshop at Thinking Digital 2016, and as usual it got me thinking.  This time it was an explanation of David Snowdin’s Cynefin Model that got my attention.


Cynefin Framework –

Complex is very different to Complicated and that is a difference that I hadn’t really considered before

Add to that a great talk on Context from James Murray – who handles context for the search engine Bing, and the result is this blog post.

According to the Cynefin model, complex is very difficult to control, it changes rapidly.  Whereas complicated is structural, it has a pattern, it’s consistent.

So Context is complex.  Whereas business can be complicated.


When creating context based email marketing consider this.

Your marketing plan is complicated. It is a series of pre-set marketing messages which will occur when a specific criteria has been met.  It could be normal scheduled marketing messages to marketing lists. Or it could be more complicated, and based on the previous behaviour of your audience.


Complicated vs Complex

Unfortunately, like the weather, your audience is complex.

As much as you’d like to believe it, the behaviour of your customers is beyond your control.  But don’t lose heart my friend. You can assert influence.  And in our experience, context driven email marketing asserts far more influence than a normal batch email marketing newsletter.


Finding the Context

The full definition of context is “the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.”

In email marketing terms, context is based on the relationship between your business and your audience.

Sometimes it’s based on the expectation of the audience – such a Welcome message when someone first signs up, the audience expects and waits for that message.

And sometimes it’s based on the circumstances of the relationship between the two parties – a marketing incentive to someone that hasn’t bought from your business for a while.

Provided the marketing message references the fact that the ‘customer’ hasn’t purchased for a while, then it will be in context.

In both terms, it’s marketing automation that powers the context.


Marketing Automation – the driver for context based email marketing

Marketing automation provides the link between a complicated marketing plan or business process, and the complex nature of your audience.

It can be difficult to get the context right to start with, but even when you get it wrong, your marketing performance will still improve.

As the proverb says, the journey starts with the first step, and once to start with marketing automation, you’ve start on the road to continual marketing improvement and creating context based email marketing.

Take your first step…

Sign up for Websand or book a demo, you’ll be sending more effective email marketing in no time.

websand email marketing signup

Also published on Medium.