To improve customer engagement, use your email marketing to learn more about your customers.
Third party email companies like Constant Contact, Emma and StreamSend are great tools to create an effective email marketing program, though most companies only use them to send out emails and track who opens them.
That’s just the beginning for these tools. The real fun comes from segmenting your database based on their email activities.
- Test which day of the week provides the best open rates for your database, and make that your email date
- Test subject lines to see which version has a greater open rate
- Test what information generates the most interest by measuring click-thru rates, and craft your future content accordingly
- If some of your audience responds to a certain type of offer, segment them and continue to offer them more of the same. If another segment of your audience responds to a different stimulus, reach out to them with the information they want to receive.
Through their actions (or inactions), you can learn what your customers want if you take the time to dig into the data. The end results will improve customer engagement so you get the most out of your email marketing.
What have you learned about your customer database from your email marketing?
Many experts predict that new habits created in this current economic downturn will be long lasting. A recent article in US News by Rick Newman highlights the 17 ways consumer habits have changed. The impact is far reaching in regard to what people buy as well as how they buy.
The consumer is volunteering more, becoming more self-sufficient and doing away with the excesses they once “had to have”. Now is the time for you to rethink how you connect with consumers in your effort to meet their needs.
Here are Newman’s 17 Ways Consumers Are Changing:
- Less credit, more cash
- It is no longer about the monthly payment, but the total cost
- Greater suspicion of banks and business
- Being more resourceful
- Less brand loyalty
- Smaller is bigger
- Renting is popular again
- Less window shopping
- More closet shopping
- Food frugality
- More gardening
- Less waste
- Less healthcare
- More negotiating
- More volunteering
- Redefining success
Consider how you can help simplify the consumer’s life. For example, proactively call your customers when it’s time for their next appointment or service, instead of sending them a reminder notice and waiting for them to reach out to you.
The more you can do to make that connection, the better your business will adjust to this new consumer.
FYI – lowering your price is not the answer.
Six months ago I canceled my Netflix account, simply because we weren’t using it. I like the service, but since we weren’t watching movies, the $4.99 monthly fee was adding up.
Last week I received a direct mail solicitation from Netflix asking me to come back. It was a traditional “win back” offer targeting cancelled customers.
The piece encouraged me to use my Priority Code by February 28, 2010 to get “so much for only $4.99 a month”. Secondarily, it mentioned Netflix’s newest feature, the ability to download movies to my Tivo or computer, as well as their competitive advantages: no due dates, no late fees, and no need to rush to a kiosk (the latter being a direct shot at RedBox).
I thought the six-month follow-up from Netflix was terrific, as cancelled customers are highly responsive, but the meaningless priority code seemed a bit deceptive and the heavy-handed focus on price seemed off base. I would have preferred a simple letter saying “we want you back and here are some new things you can do with Netflix.”
If you want to win a customer back, be open and honest. Tell them why you want them back and what they have been missing. Former customers chose you once so they know who you are. As a result, your sales pitch should be more transparent.
When a company does the little things to make your interaction more enjoyable, it goes a long way.
Over the Christmas break I spent some time in Chattanooga, TN at the Doubletree Hotel.
While Doubletree is best known for its warm chocolate chip cookies, it was some of the other things they did that really made the difference:
- They called a nearby hotel with an indoor pool so my kids could go swimming.
- The clock radio had pre-set stations listed as rock, news, pop and sports, so I didn’t have to navigate unfamiliar stations.
- Even the language they used for the ever-present room signage made me appreciate the experience that much more.
Current economic trends might be preventing you from increasing your marketing spend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a positive impact on your customers by making small, positive changes in how you do business.
- I’ve seen home service companies bring the newspaper to the door or clear cobwebs from around the house.
- Publix employees still bring your groceries to your car and they are not allowed to accept tips.
- I’ve received a personal note from my Nordstrom’s sales person.
- Zappo’s typically upgrades shipping to next day air.
In this day of social media – where anyone can make their opinion known to millions – doing the little things to make a positive impact can go far. And often these little things don’t cost you anything.
As you look at 2010, share what you are doing to make a difference with your customers.