Email: The Trigger Email Bill of Rights
Target marketing pros know the "rights" mantra: right person, right content, right time. In today's digital data world, many believe a combination of marketing automation and behavior data is all you need to create successful trigger email campaigns in just three easy steps: Select leads that match your customer demographic, gather data about their behavior and apply business rules that trigger emails based on that behavior. Presto, campaign success … right?
Wrong, if you want more than a 2 percent response. Really wrong, if you want respondents who convert to sales and campaign ROI.
To get 25 percent to 40 percent results—the kind of results you read about in many case studies—success means targeting carefully selected leads using high-incentive offers and sending custom messages tied to recent behavior, as well as psychographic data that appeals to that lead's special interests, work role, etc. (bit.ly/15IbQR7 and bit.ly/ZcR7iL).
Why does the specialized data and customization matter? Because even if leads fall into the right demographic bucket, you don't know what motivates them buy. To get sales conversion, optimizing the lead is vital. But how do you assess behavior and qualify leads? Much depends on your business goals and knowing your customer base.
To help you create quality trigger email campaigns that result in higher success rates, here are the fine points of the "Trigger Email Bill of Rights."
1. Right Person—"You Talking to Me?"
Engaging the right prospect is vital to engage and keep customer interest, no matter where you are in the lead nurturing cycle—from first contact to repeat offers. Demographic data can help identify who may have a need for your product or service, but it can't tell you what motivates them to buy. To find the optimal target, you have to apply intelligence about demographic data, as well as behavior, and rank the target based on success criteria.
For example, if you sell unique home items and have 250 expensive items of heirloom quality, you may have 1,000 targets who meet the demographic requirements: income, gender, age and location of potential buyers. To hone in, apply a score to leads to rank their value, weighting them by recent or frequent purchase, or dollars spent, or by purchases over time to indicate brand loyalty. This lead scoring process can identify the best targets by combining demographic and behavior tracking data from your customer database. Social media gives marketers psychographic data to segment targets by interest and relationships, and opens the door to scoring leads by their value as influencers. If it is a rare item, you may want to have your leads carry the buzz to 5,000 targets who purchase by auction.
The most valuable criteria will depend on your business and your marketing goals, but a strategy that identifies the right person is the first and most critical step.
2. Right Time—"I Can't Talk Now!"
Using the right combination of data, segmenting to reach exactly the right lead, the next step is timing. How do you know what threshold behavior should trigger a marketing response, and when does it become too little or too much?
Timing is determined by knowing your customer and what builds a long-term relationship. The tools and analysis you need for a precision trigger campaign are most valuable in the long haul and pay off through testing the interests of different segments of your customer base.
For example, if you have customers who are collectors and frequent shoppers of unique and expensive items, you want all their purchase histories to guide the frequency of contact and offers: Approach them when you have what they want, or when it will go on sale, triggered by specific landing pages and graphics tied to the merchandise. Sending email for a common action—e.g., each time they visit the home page or click on an item—defeats the purpose and cost of personalized campaigns and does little to build a relationship that wins repeat business and/or referral customers.
At the same time, testing is the point of trigger campaigns, and the way to grow your profit margin. A fundamental error is quitting before you learn. If something fails and you do not get the exact response the first time, then assumptions about the offer or approach are not accurate. The good news about trigger campaigns is reframing and revising during the campaign are easy and will lead to ROI.
3. Right Content—"I've Never Worn a Dress in My Life!"
Make triggers and offers intelligent, based on what you are selling and what the customer wants. When you are sure everything you know about a lead is correlated, your customer helps shape your message with past behavior and/or data. Take heed and approach leads based on interest, as though they have entered your showroom and you are observing them.
For example, if a product or service is high-end, high-priced, for a specialized purpose and will last for years, you have to determine which customer in your universe of leads is the right one. Then tie the behavior of that group of customer leads to your content so the conversation is engaging and compels action.
Have they purchased unique jewelry? Be sure you know the cost, category and gender before you offer a new and novel Mickey Mouse weekend watch to a man who purchased a $12,000 Rolex Submariner.
Top-performing marketers know all leads are not equal and can't be treated the same. It may be digital marketing, but it pays to think of a campaign as a personal conversation with an ideal customer.
As you hone in using digital tools, the best practice is to think of the "right" lead as someone who has rights. To avoid a costly campaign that gets only a lukewarm, "just not that into you" response, respect those rights. For the best results, be sure to know who you're talking to, what they need and how to approach them.
Wrich Printz is president and CEO of San Jose, Calif.-based marketing automation software provider L2 Inc. Reach him at WPrintz@L2soft.com.