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XYDO launched its new curated content email platform this week after testing its service on a range of companies from professional basketball teams to FX brokers.

Last month, it sent out over 12 million emails tailored from a pool of content based on what three million people have been sharing on social networks that day. Marketers continue to discuss how to keep a personal touch in marketing automation. Though XYDO send out automated emails, they have seen a five percent increase in open rates across the board.

We spoke to Eric Roach, CEO and co-founder XYDO, to find out more about their approach and success so far.

What led you to create this B2B email product?

We started off as a news-based social network and we'd create a daily email of the ten articles you should focus on. People loved it, especially reporters. We happened to be talking to a business and asked if this type of email would be useful and they said it was exactly what they were looking for.

So we created an email that embedded ten pieces of content that would be of interest to their users. Seven times the open rates. Bingo, we found something really powerful.  But that was a small business.

We've tried this with 25 companies so far and it's worked across the board. We look for content that speaks to the interest of the user instead of spamming them with content they're not interested in.

How do you find the content?

We take keywords, twitter handles, hashtags or whatever the client wants to access and search for them across 300,000 feeds and three million users whose walls we watch. We look for social endorsing by liking, sharing, etc. and score the content and the system categorises the content by subject.

Why aren't most businesses doing this themselves?

Most businesses have a good idea what their customer base is but are not learning how to speak to them. When we ask them about their customers, they respond by giving base demographics. When we say no, what are they interested in, they'll be like they're interested in this and this and this.

There seems like a drastic need in this space. Telling the story is important but hard so they flounder. We decided to solve that problem.

So far we've seen five to eight times the click through rates than for emails the businesses we're working with have sent in the past. The emails are fully integrated with everything possible in social and 10 - 15% of all click throughs are shares. So businesses are essentially expanding their base as users are sharing.

The big question is always ROI. How are you measuring this?

We give as much analytics as we can: clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, type of devices, etc. On average 40% of click throughs are coming from devices, and the iPhone is used the most. As we produce content, we provide details of the type of content customers are clicking on. Through that a business can find their voice. These are the things their customers are interested in so that can tailor their promotion based on that.

We also retarget so we have the ability to target the user and do lead scoring, and provide sales teams with analytics. It's all about continued learning.

The same goes for our own development. With our product design, there is a direct connect between what we learn from the customers and the product. Before we even wrote the code for the new dashboard, we went to the customers and got feedback first.

What's next for you?

Social marketing. Our process is that we determine the content types a business wants and it produces a stream. From that stream, you identify pieces of content that you like to send to your customers.

Things go into email now but soon they may go into Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest. It will all be managed by one console.

What do you think the future of email marketing is?

I believe in the theory of unmarketing. When you stop screaming and start talking to customers about what they are interested in, that is marketing.

Apple Customers are defenders of the brand as they are giving so much value. Marketing needs to go this way. And to be done for all the right reasons. You only have to look in your own inbox, it's full of garbage. When you get something of value, it shocks you and that company will stand out.

The real return of investment is when you are looked at as a thought leader. That belief will benefit you years down the road.

Heather Taylor

Published 9 February, 2012 by Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor is the Editorial Director for Econsultancy US. You can follow her on Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

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