How do I get more customers? How do I increase loyalty to get greater value from those customers? These are the questions marketers continue to ask today.
My colleague Phil Davis, along with Brad Macdonald of Regis Corp, Rob Massa of Opt Intelligence and Eric Sherman of Rue La La discussed which email acquisition and loyalty practices have proven most effective for them at the 2014 Email Insider Summit panel “Acquisition in the Email Space.”
Grow Your Email List
Meeting potential customers on visual social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr where they already are, and then driving them to a registration page is effective for Rue La La.
In Regis Corp’s case, well over 90% of email acquisition happens in salons by stylists. MacDonald stressed the importance of working with front line employees like these stylists to mainstream the process of capturing emails and eliminate sign-up barriers.
Opt Intelligence’s Massa urged marketers with a deep understanding of their email metrics to look to external companies to help grow their email lists. “We’ve spent time forming partnerships with third-party data companies that can help us build lookalike audiences and custom audiences so we can better serve our advertisers and find the right people to add to their email lists,” he said.
Increase Customer Loyalty
Acquiring email addresses is a great first step; but it’s just that, a first step. Next, you must drive purchases and strengthen loyalty. The panel agreed the best ways for achieving these goals are to:
1. Segment Lists Using Demographic Data: Subscribers are most likely to open your emails shortly after opting-in. Massa encourages marketers to set the right impression with immediate personalization. “The messaging starts with the acquisition. We work with one particular clothing retailer that we will initiate the action of the acquisition differently for males and females,” he said.
Davis reminded marketers that, for this type of personalization, all you need is a few key fields (or small data) delivered quickly-what he calls fast data. “One of the real opportunities isn’t about getting every piece of data you can get your hands on,” Davis said. “What’s more important is fast data. That’s what’s really fueling the automation we need.”
An Email Intelligence service can get you the data you need for personalization in real-time, as well as the additional “medium” and big data you need for greater personalization and deeper audience analysis.
2. Personalize & Contextualize Messages: Rue La La and partner company Alex and Ani, both Boston-based, struck contextual gold with a recent Boston Marathon email and social media campaign.
“It was a great moment for us to be extremely relevant,” Sherman said. “We gave [our customers] an opportunity, a platform and a voice to express what they wanted. We were able to connect to them and give them that moment.”
The campaign was well received because of its apparent authenticity. “When I saw the email and I went to the site,” Davis remarked, “there were pictures of your team supporting the race. It felt very genuine.”
3. Get in Touch at the Right Time: Sending the right message at the right time is email marketing 101. But there’s a reason for that; it works.
“We can’t make people get more haircuts. One of the things we’ve learned that works well is if we can send a relevant reminder that [a customer] needs a haircut at the right time with a small incentive,” Macdonald said. “We’ve seen 10x greater response rates when we hit them at the right time.”
4. Find New Ways to Delight: A great “Thank You” is the first step in building a lasting relationship with customers. “Thank you happens right after the purchase, and so a ‘Thank You’ email is very likely to get opened,” Davis said. But, he advised, you need to make your thank you more than, “Thank you, here’s your receipt.”
In our digital world, some of the most effective ways to say “Thanks!” are actually offline. Audience member Kay shared a story about how a hotel went above and beyond to thank her boss for staying with them on a business trip:
“He stayed at a hotel that gave him flowers in his room. He talked to the front desk and said, ‘I don’t really care about the flowers because I’m not going to be there to enjoy them. My wife would really enjoy the flowers.’ And so whenever he stays at that hotel now, they send the flowers to his wife at home.”
Online or off, find creative ways to genuinely thank your customers, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty.
Click here to watch the full Acquisition in the Email Space panel online now. Did you attend MPEIS? Share your favorite moment in the comments!