How to Get Your Customers to Appreciate You
After too many experiences with batch-and-blast email marketing, the level of relevance consumers now expect is increasing. According to a recent research report, Manifesto for E-mail Marketers: Consumers Demand Relevance, from e-Dialog's Centre for Digital Marketing Excellence, consumers are keen on marketers exhibiting intimate knowledge of their preferences and interests, and expect them to deliver on those preferences to improve message relevance.
As consumers look forward to more individual treatment, it's necessary to look for ways to deliver on this expectation. By capturing preferences for new and existing subscribers and merging this information with actual consumer behavioral data, you'll accomplish a new level of relevance.
The following are three tactics to help you capture customers’ and prospects’ preferences.
1. Incentives for information. Get new and old subscribers to update their profile information by offering something in return. Think about what your customers’ value and align your incentives appropriately. Nothing entices a shopper like free shipping or a percentage off their next purchase. Incentives such as whitepaper downloads or educational content also work well. Including an "Update your preferences" call to action in a welcome message is another great way to capture information from the newest members of your list.
How should you approach existing subscribers to get them to update their preferences? Where you already have a highly engaged audience, for example, try including a call to action in your transactional messages.
No matter where, when or how you solicit customer data, be sure to thank enrollees for sharing their preferences. Send them follow-up emails with their preferences pre-populated so you can confirm that you've collected the desired information.
2. Provide bookmark capture on product pages. Consumers want marketers to know what products and services they like. To find this information out, place a bookmark capture function such as "Add this category to my preferences" on product description pages.
For subscribers not on your list, include an email sign-up box on every page of your website that links back to a central subscriber registration center. Ensure there's a strong call to action for signing up, rather than having it buried at the bottom of site pages. If customers are browsing your site and finding products they're interested in purchasing, they'll be more inclined to sign up for your email program if they don’t have to go looking for your registration page.
3. Pay attention to frequency preferences. As consumers continue to receive more email than ever before, preference capture has never been so important. It's no longer just about what products, services and types of email messages consumers would like to receive.
To reach the new level of relevance, pay attention to the frequency preferences of your subscribers. If they know when, how and why you're emailing them, they'll be more likely to engage with your marketing messages.
Be transparent at registration by setting subscriber expectations for certain types of campaigns. If subscribers sign up for your newsletter, let them know they'll receive it once a month. Then, continue to monitor subscriber engagement and alter the frequency of campaigns based on this behavioral information.
Consumers’ appetites for marketing email messages remains high. The increase in message volume underscores the need for you to adopt preference capture tactics that will improve message relevance and cut through the inbox clutter.
In part two of this article, which will be published in the Aug. 5 edition of All About eMail, I'll discuss how you can start optimizing the preference data discussed here by aggregating behavioral data to create a blended mix of preferences.
Andrea Orvis is the group director of strategic services at e-Dialog, a Burlington, Mass.-based provider of email marketing solutions. Reach Andrea at email@example.com.