Businesses must evolve and adapt to changing customer expectations. One of the most powerful attributes of technology is that companies now can engage buyers in every phase of the purchase process. Marketing automation platforms make this task much easier, but we should never forget that every meaningful communication in this process requires a human touch too.
The first thing we should so is to ask ourselves: Are we doing everything to stay on top of our customers mind? Sometimes, if we leave our customer waiting for only a couple of hours, it can cost us months of hard work we spent to acquire and retain that very buyer.
So, in order to deliver the right messages at the right time and excel in communication with your customers, you will need to:
“Marketers must make email preference centers part of their marketing efforts. It’s important subscribers know what they are signing up for and the frequency.” – Matt Helbig, Senior Analyst, Marketing Operations at Digitas + Community Really Good Emails.
Depending on the offer you have and the type of channel you are using, you need to nail the frequency of your messages.
For example, SMS is used for “breaking news”, so if you have a 24-hour discount or a special, one-time offer, use SMS. It has a very high open rates and reaches your customers on the move which makes it an ideal means of communication to quickly inform your customers about your new offers. It can also provide them with maps to stores or events, shipping details and such. It’s also opening up possibilities for competition entries and for customer research.
SMS marketing is an excellent way to connect with your audience on a personal level. It’s easy for recipients to text back, to take direct action and it also increases excitement around your brand. People love “text-to-win” contests and this campaign from Pizza Capers can serve as a very good example of great SMS marketing. Their Valentine’s Day SMS campaign offers a code for free dessert, chance to win other prizes and easy opt-out – all the things a customer appreciate!
In contrast to SMS, email has a different post frequency, depending on the type of business you’re in.
Sending too many emails will have you end up in spam, but sending too few could result in a serious drop in revenue. Automating your emails and sending out your business offers, discounts or coupons on your customer’s birthday, public holidays and other significant events will make your messages reach customers at the right time and make your customer’s experience truly outstanding.
American low cost airline JetBlue has very creative email campaigns such as congratulating their customers the first year anniversary with the company.
By being frequent and aligning the rhythm and the content of your messages depending on the communication channel, you will engage your customers more efficiently and reach them wherever they are in the given moment of time.
If your customers aren’t getting the right messages, all the frequency in the world won’t help you stay on top of their mind. Staying relevant is of the essence, and that can be achieved through list segmentation and email personalization, but also a bit of creativity and strategy in creating the right content.
Segmenting your customer’s database based on their previous purchases, location, browsing history, but also their behavior will help you to create deeper segmentation and design better marketing strategies for each of them.
After segmenting your email database, you also need to personalize all the different emails you send. This includes a bunch of various and data-driven techniques which are based on your customer’s previous purchases, buying preferences, website browsing data and other information you collected in their buying process.
Online clothing retailers excel in this task as they are using their client’s browsing history and abandoned shopping carts to create personalized emails with attractive offers, such as in this example from LimeStone. In the email LimeStone approached the customer with an offer based on the item abandoned in their shopping cart by reminding them that item is now “running out of stock”.
By creating different and meaningful messages for each customer you have out there, you will also create personalized offers based on items they actually liked and wanted to buy. Therefore, you will not only prove that you care but also as a result, sell more products to your target customer.
Build a strategy for your touchpoints
To consistently engage with your customers, you need to maintain a certain touchpoint rhythm and decide what content to tie to it. Experienced marketers suggest we develop a rhythm for engaging our customers on daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis and stick to it. Based on this, we should then decide what type of content and offers are suitable for each of these selected periods of time. For example, we can post on social media daily, send a newsletter every week, call our customers once a month to ask if they’re satisfied with our products and/or customer service, send gifts quarterly and organize a big yearly event.
Many of the world’s most successful companies recognized the importance of creating a deeper relationship with their customers via regular interactions on different levels. One of the best examples out there is Starbucks. Their coffee may not be the world’s best, but their engagement with their customers is certainly one of the best. They excel at customer service and provide stimulating touchpoints across the stores, social media and loyalty programs, and also have your name written on a cup of coffee to maximize the personal experience with their brand.
Their moto “One person, one cup” is deeply integrated into their marketing strategy and the results are just remarkable.
How many touchpoints exist with your customers? Do you have a clear strategy in place? If not, start with mapping the existing touchpoints and adding value to them, and also look for ways to create new ones on every level and every channel of communication you may have.
“With the ever-increasing number of channels to communicate with your customers, the more tools to simplify and streamline your online presence, the better. But when it comes to choosing a medium for your message, the decision becomes more dizzying.” – Michael Peggs, Founder of Marccx Media.
Social media consistency is very important, sometimes even more than the quality of the content you’re posting. This, of course, doesn’t mean you should spam your buyers but it does mean you need to be creative and find a way to post valuable content to your social media regularly. These can be posts directly related to your business, products and offers, but also photos, videos, maps and even content produced by your followers.
Italian chocolate manufacturer Ferrero regularly engages with their customers via social media and, without any doubt, very creatively. By taking a look at Facebook and Instagram pages of their popular brands Nutella and Kinder Bueno, we can see how they keep their customers engaged by posting creative (and interactive!) photos and videos including their products. By asking questions in the post and inviting the followers to post their answers, the companies remind customers of their favorite product and also drives more traffic to their social media pages.
This proves that you don’t always have to have compelling and persuasive messages to reach your customers, and that is possible to accomplish even better results with visually striking campaigns, such as this one created by Kinder Bueno. By replacing the part of the Eiffel Tower with their popular product, company encouraged the customers to do the same thing on their photos. Marketing campaigns like this one help customers to identify with the brand more easily.
For your next social post think about your products and services and create the engaging and creative content you would like to see yourself when scrolling the social media pages. Think of ways you can engage your customers to make them feel like they’re part of your story and your brand.
To engage our customers and stay on top of their minds, we need to design a unique marketing strategy. To increase your efforts try combining marketing automation tools with timely, creative, targeted messages across different channels of communication.
To make yourself omnipresent (but also relevant!) across these various channels, you will need to:
- Be frequent and establish the rhythm of your messages depending on the channel you’re using to engage with the customers
- Stay relevant and create different, meaningful messages for each customer you have out there
- Build a touchpoint strategy and decide what content to tie to it in order to create a deeper relationship with the customers
- Be social and regularly engage with your customers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media by posting different kinds of content