Posts Tagged acquisition
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.
The email marketing channel will remain as vibrant and attractive to any organisations irrelevant of what their consumer and prospects databases may currently consist of. The additional offerings such as SMS/TEXT, mobile apps and of course social media will be a top priority of leading Email Service Providers in order to further the reach of these fast growing marketing channels for users and customers of their broadcasting platforms.
The introduction of Gmail and Hotmail’s priority inbox, as well as Yahoo’s view ‘email from contacts’ only in your address book will significantly change the idea of carpet bombing to a hefty list with the hopes of returning a small but valuable response rate. The Priority Inbox functionality that was introduced into these webmail applications in 2010 analyze incoming mail, giving it a ranking and sorting it into four customizable sections, what the user then deems as “Important” messages from an established contact or regularly engaged with brand will determine future deliverability to inboxes and bulk folders. This type of feature being introduced into various webmail’s will force senders into building a good reputation that includes regular customer engagement as the key to successful email marketing with a high return on investment. This may lead to reduced sending volumes but does protect the recipients and overall the future integrity of the email channel. The focus on cleaner data, the use of dynamic elements and essentially relevant content on a 1 to 1 relationship with users will become the key drivers for successful brand building and client retention in 2011.
Mobile apps will fast become a transactional point of sale for mobile smartphone users. The use of Android, Nokia (Ovi) and Apple mobile apps for customer email acquisition and customer retention will play a large part in overall marketing strategies. The mobile marketing channel has come a long way in the past three years; mainly due to the uptake in mobile smart phones. Where we once were limited to 160 character text messages with a costly ‘reply to’ call to action; we are now looking at rich content messages with clickable links and images leading to mobile friendly web pages. This opens the door for the transaction that every marketer is essentially working towards. For the first time you are able to literally get your hand into the consumers pocket. This can be a somewhat touchy relationship and a wrong message at the wrong time could mean the end of your texting relationship with the recipient. With email, you could get around to your emails at some point and filter them to your desires, with mobile, your handset bleeps in your pocket and you need to give it your immediate attention. Having said all of this; an email platform having sms/text capabilities will be a part of the decision process when choosing an Email Service Provider in 2011.
I predict a dramatic uptake in facebook.com email that may shake the very settled foundations of the industry’s best practices, the traditional Email Service Providers and the long standing loyalty of their existing webmail users. This will naturally cause a substantial increase in comparing and closely monitoring the adoption rate and response rates at Facebook.com and all existing ISP’s. Facebook email will be taken very seriously and promotion and presence on their site will be at the top of organisations priorities list which will knock on to a frenzy to get email subscribers to “like” brands and pages. I think we can all agree that 500+ million users is enough to secure the resource and financial investment in what will surely be a social presence with a future return on investment.
Merry Christmas and may 2011 be a prosperous and unforgettable year.