Retailers must tailor their emails to consumers’ needs – and money-off vouchers won’t hurt either, says Richard Evans

Christmas may be on its way, but the recession is still on everyone's mind.

The tough economic climate is making consumers more price-conscious. But just as retailers pull out all the stops in attempts to attract attention, consumers are becoming increasingly selective in how they view the marketing emails that flow into their inboxes.

In such a competitive market, what kind of content should the market aim at recipients to ensure maximum engagement at this time of year? Not surprisingly, retailers that use past consumer behaviour and preferences to consistently provide subscribers with information tailored to their interests tend to find themselves at the top of that recipient's favourites list. To ensure this can be capitalised on, we must ask what it is these retailers are offering their email marketing recipients that other marketers are not.

Our view is that the good retailers are placing greater emphasis on the relevancy and personalisation of their offers. While some companies try to reach all audiences by firing off generic, one-size-fits-most emails, successful retailers have learned to be more innovative in the way they interact with consumers.

For example, a recent survey carried out by the DMA showed that more than 50% of consumers prefer to receive money-off emails over any other, followed closely by offers of free delivery. Luckily for retailers, opportunities for offers such as these are easy to identify and if executed strategically, can drive traffic and revenue.

Using money-off vouchers and personalising emails to suit the consumer's interests also ensures the recipient is more likely to take action and even share the message across social networks, increasing reach and boosting the company's profit and reputation.

Savvy brands use the data at their disposal to produce and distribute information their customers are interested in, not content they think their customers should be interested in. If companies can strike a balance between relevant content and appealing offers, it could be a very merry Christmas season for retailers and consumers.

Richard Evans is director of marketing, EMEA, Silverpop.