Many companies use email marketing poorly. Even as recently as a couple of weeks ago, I signed up for a company’s email list because I was interested in their product. I also ended up purchasing one. I believe I signed up to get an additional discount on it. Now, I get 5-8 emails from them each week. Yes, every week! Needless to say, I have now unsubscribed. The biggest problem with these emails was not the frequency, though that was a lot; it was the content. They were selling me the same product that I had just purchased. And every email was a promotion. Here are some tips to not fall into the trap that this company did.
Segmentation Is King
You should always be building out segments of customers. There is no reason that you should be sending out mass emails. Even your promotion emails should go to specific segments. Segmenting requires more work, but it brings better open rates, increased revenue, and happier, more loyal customers. Even if your emails are only slightly different from one segment to another, it will return better results. Here are some segments that you can use.
If a customer has purchased one product or service, then it is wise to market to them a complementary product or service. Show your customers that you offer more than what they already have. Appeal to their other interests. A repeat customer is worth 9x more than a first time customer.
Bringing new customers to your store is one of the most expensive aspects of a business. Companies spend millions of dollars on marketing every year to win first time purchasers. Email marketing is an excellent tool for acquiring new customers. Once a prospect has signed up for email communication with you, you should sequence them out until they make their first purchase.
Target your consistent and loyal customers to keep them loyal to what your business offers. These are your most valuable customers. They are the ones that support you in the toughest of times. Knowing who these customers are and treating them differently will help you win for a very long time.
How well do you know your customers? Are you annotating your customer’s information with their interests? As an auto service shop, are you noting the customer’s account when they talk to you about their motorcycle or sports car that they haven’t brought in to you? As a sporting goods store, are you noting your customer’s account when they tell you that they love to trail run, but have only bought climbing equipment? These are perfect times to record the customer’s account so that they can be placed in those segments to receive messaging related to those opportunities.
Also, with Cinch’s Enriched Customer Data Profiling™ (CECDP™), you can segment based on public interests that may not be in your data set. These can be as varied as hobbies, children in the home, homeowners, behavioral patterns, and interests.
Customer Demographics & Psychographic
If you have your employees trained to converse with the customers, then they are likely able to gather all sorts of valuable information. This is great for small talk, and even for currently being able to recommend products or services to the customer. Are the employees going to remember those details hours later, let alone days? Maybe, on a loyal customer that they are familiar with, but maybe not on everyone.
Companies that note that information into their customer profiles and then recommend products or services to that customer in an ongoing way are seen as catering specifically to the customer. These companies are showing the customer that they value them and know them. Be sure to have your employees note this information so that you can create these unique customer segments.
If you don’t have a way to note this information, then you can use CECDP™ to create an interest-based or demographic-based segments. The more specific and unique that customer segments become then the likelihood of future purchases increase.
Always Be Asking
It was once said in a famous movie many years back that a salesman’s job is ABC – Always Be Closing. Well, one of the challenges of retail stores is getting more customer data. If you are at the register then you just closed a sale, now it is time to consider how you are going to get them to come back. Did you provide them a great experience? Do they seem happy with their purchase? Well, make sure that you have a way to communicate with them in the future. One of the least invasive ways is to get their email.
By asking for someone’s email, you are letting them open up a part of their world to you. They don’t want you to violate that. Make sure that they understand that you are bringing them valuable and useful content when you are going to send them emails. Here are some excellent examples of why a customer would give you an email address.
I would love to know when to bring my car back to be serviced again. Then, I don’t have to think about it. This could be more than just regular service, but also brake checks, tire rotation, transmission flushes, or anything else.
If you are a running or sporting goods store, do you do clinics or group fitness/running nights? Will you inform me about these? Do you have a monthly newsletter related to my sport of interest? These are valuable reasons for me to join your list as well as new product releases or demo events.
Avoid Every Email Being Promotional
If you are like me, you see those companies that send out promotional emails every month or every week or more often. After a few of these, the incentive to purchase is much lower because you know that you can go ahead and wait until the next promotion. There is not a sense of urgency that promotions usually have associated with them.
As mentioned above, using segmentation is king. By segmenting customers, companies are better able to offer content that is specific to their customers. Also, with Cinch’s data science tools we have created, you are able to segment your customers by pricing sensitivity, customer predicted return dates and customer value segmentation. Through these unique segments, we allow our clients the ability to target the right customer at the right time with the right offer.
Sometimes your customers just want to hear from you. They want to know if you have a new product that is interesting to them. They want to see if you have an added service that improves upon their last. They want to be reminded of something that you discussed or recommended. These communications often are not requisite of promotions, coupons, or other offers. They just want to stay in the loop. So much of marketing is being top of mind, not always the cheapest or best offer.
How Often Should You Be Sending?
This is one of the toughest questions that we get asked. The right answer is that it varies a lot. If you are randomly blasting your customers 2-3 times a week, then that might be too frequent. As mentioned above, if you are sending promotions in every communication, then that is too much. Be relevant and timely.
Blast emails should become less frequent as you create better journeys and segments for your customers. Reduce marketing waste by being dialed in and specific. Marketing waste is more than just the money that is wasted by going to the wrong audience. It is also the wrong message going to the right audience. By sending the right message to the right audience at the right time will drastically improve open rates, click-through rates, and ultimately conversions and average order values, which, in turn, drive higher revenues.
Email marketing is becoming more valuable than ever. Proper communication with your customers is key to keeping them coming back and staying a relevant part of their lives. There is a reason why they chose to purchase your product or service previously. By engaging them appropriately, they will remain loyal to you and come back again and again.
Building social media followings and website visitors are significant. These are great parts of any marketing plan. Store traffic is the ultimate tool for getting the opportunity to sell and create a customer for life. The problem with using social tools as the only method to market your business is that you never own that customer data. The platforms own it. They dictate how you can communicate with your customers.
Ten years ago, marketing on Facebook was terrific because you would gain fans, and then when you posted something, it was seen by every follower. Then, the algorithms came into play. Now only a fraction of your content is seen by your audience on these platforms. Whereas, you will always own your email database. There is still a minimal cost associated with sending emails out to your entire database. And now, with Cinch’s tools, you are able to segment better than you would on any social platform.
We value email. We also value text message communications, direct mail, and using social platforms and other emerging media to talk with your customers. There are a lot of things that will be coming out in the coming years to improve communication and data for retailers and customers. Amidst all of these changes, email remains a very valuable tool. When used appropriately, email can become one of your most significant revenue drivers in any business.