Archive for June, 2011
It’s very easy to bore your customers to death with email: just send them the same type of message repeatedly and you’ll succeed. We’re often guilty of this when we send our e-newsletter and little else. Whilst a newsletter absolutely has a place as a staple in your email marketing program, it should be far from the only type of message you send your customers on a regular basis.
After your email newsletter (which is usually weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on how much content you have), I recommend intertwining the below three message types into your email marketing regularly.
This is probably the number one under-utilised email message type by all marketers. Let’s put it this way, are you the bloody annoying friend who only calls when you need something? (i.e. the brand that only sends email when you need sales). Whilst the sales and marketing messages might lead the email program calendar for most, you will develop greater customer loyalty and engagement when you integrate content rich emails in between them. Content rich email gives you opportunities to educate your customers on your products before and after the sale, which in the long run increases customer satisfaction and the potential for repeat sales.
Slightly more sophisticated, but easy to automate in most email systems. To start you’ll need to scope the desired customer journey post purchase (so if you don’t have one it’s definitely time to create one). Bare in mind that people are more receptive to buying from you when they’ve already done so, so don’t miss the chance to use triggered email to make up-sell offers post-purchase. Ideally every product or service should have a natural follow-on product or service you offer next. For those who don’t convert on the up-sell offer, proceed to a down-sell (usually a lower priced, lower commitment than the original purchase).
Every new endeavour you conduct should have email associated with it. Anything with a looming expiry date, especially events, deserves deadline reminders. Don’t be shy about frequency either – most brands are definitely not actually sending enough of this style of message. For an efficient service campaign guarantee you give your recipients a heads up on what’s coming, when it’s coming and when it is due to end. For any behavioural engagement that may occur along the customer journey, a service email to confirm (sign up, opt-down, unsubscribe) is always positively received and highly interacted with.
Integrating these message types into your email marketing will give your program greater depth and diversity. As well as a fresh, unpredictable tone that emphasises relevancy and greater service to your recipients. After all, don’t they deserve it?
Whilst a newsletter absolutely has a place as a staple in your email marketing program, it should be far from the only type of message you send your customers on a regular basis.
In my opinion this is a lightly salted topic in the email marketing world. Seen as a must have but not taken too seriously as there will be many opportunities to make the desired impact in future.
Oh my, just how far off of the mark are we? When a prospective client consensually allows your brand or business to market email promotions and materials to them in future, many companies choose to let their first ever email communication simply trigger a text based, untraceable and most of all unprofitable email to the recipient. Many marketers see this as a time and cost saving process and choose to rather concentrate their efforts on the individually tailored marketing campaigns which the newly signed up recipient may receive in due time.
Keeping in mind that these prospective customers are now at the absolute peak of engagement levels the key components to a good welcome email or welcome series of emails is an honest representation of your brand and products as well as setting your recipients expectations of things to come from the very start of the digital relationship that they have entered into with your business. Essentially we want to drive them to a place of purchase and get them investing in your products financially, but also emotionally. An insensible text based welcome email will certainly not provoke favorable emotions.
The right mix of well designed and correctly targeted messages at the right time will give savvy marketers a hugely competitive advantage. Over the past years there have been various case studies and examples of just how essential this initial communication is as a key component of any sophisticated email marketing programme. When compiling your welcome email processes it is important to consider each acquisition source individually as this enables you to drive more relevant messaging which in turn should support recipients through the purchase process. The correct approach will not only drive the immediate wins in terms of converting to first time buyer, but will generally give you the insight to increase the lifetime value of each individual in your database. This is particularly important if you have an in-store segment which has the lowest online conversion/engagement rates as these should be contributing quite considerably to overall database growth as they sign into your digital communications.
A high-quality welcome series of emails will utilise dynamic content to provide the most personalised and relevant messaging to each acquired recipient, with a view to increasing interaction and conversion rates across the entire data asset. Testing of subject lines and content over time will create an increased understanding of the types of messages and content your users are most receptive to and most likely to engage on.
Many savvy email marketers have realised that a welcome series of emails can greatly assist with domain and sending reputation management by enabling the removal of incorrect or dormant data like hard bounced addresses before introducing the newest data to bulk mailing sends.
7 Key points to remember before creating a Welcome email or series are:
- Understand the different types of new subscribers and what they want or need from your communications
- Understand what you immediately know about your new subscriber and how this information will drive the content
- Make it clear to the user that they will be receiving further communications in the case of a welcome series.
Example: This is Part 1 of 3
- Boast about the benefits of being subscribed to your emails and deliver on the promise
- Only decide how many emails you will include in a series once you have mapped your content
- Ensure that the user is not sent your regular communications until they have moved through the welcome series.
- Use this opportunity to educate, set expectations and assist first time conversions.
The right mix of well designed and correctly targeted messages at the right time will give savvy marketers a hugely competitive advantage.
There’s a lot of talk about retention marketing these days. In slow times most companies will constrict, focusing on retaining customers, maximising profits and controlling expenses to ensure all strategy is cost effective. In the peak times, companies tend to look to new acquisition options, testing new channels and expanding reach in the marketplace. A couple of years ago the major goal of most companies was about growing their database. Today, it’s about making the most out of what they already have. Although you need to acquire new customers you simultaneously need to keep customers loyal too. Many companies are failing to leverage existing customer relationships, rewarding new customers but forgetting about their loyal customer base.
We are presently in a market where budgets aren’t stretching as a far as in the past, consumer confidence is reduced and endless free social channels are emerging to challengers to email. Therefore your email marketing strategy needs to be concentrated and defined to make an impact. This can only be achieved by truly understanding your data and reporting metrics to lead where you place your strategic investments.
Your first point of call has to be your dormant segment in your database. Week after week you email people who aren’t interacting with your emails, they aren’t even opening your emails and they’re costing you money to send to them due to this.
Do you have a clear definition between your warmest and coldest data present in your database? More to the point, do you know who are dormant? This could be an aged subscriber, a customer who hasn’t purchased for some time now or just someone who has limited engagement with your email communications. Either way, you need to establish how you want to define your dormant segment and locate the individuals who fall into it. Then your goal simple, you can either find a creative and original way to engage the dormant back into your marketing mix or look to remove them from your campaigns. Whilst I’m not an advocate of simply purging this portion of your database to unnaturally inflate your response rates, but size doesn’t always mean the most in recessionary times.
Whatever you decide, whether you look to cater to this audience or centre your attention on the other portion of warmer data in your database, you will need to clearly define your objectives and commit to them fully as only one thing is guaranteed; a half-hearted effort will never prove successful in today’s market.
Today, it’s about making the most out of what they already have. Although you need to acquire new customers you simultaneously need to keep customers loyal too. Many companies are failing to leverage existing customer relationships, rewarding new customers but forgetting about their loyal customer base.