Customers now expect nothing less than personal, purposeful experiences from the brands they interact with. More than ever, they are in the driver’s seat exercising greater control over when and how they engage with brands. Brands that miss the mark on the experiences they’re delivering risk being ignored completely. To overcome these challenges, you need to build direct relationships with customers, assemble first-party data to create better cross-channel experiences, educate the consumer on they value they realize in exchange for their data and measure the results. If you stop treating email like a cost center, and start treating it as a value-driven channel, it can easily become your secret weapon to building direct and deep relationships with customers. Here’s why.
99 percent of consumers check their email every day according to HubSpot and 70.8 percent of consumers prefer to be contacted by brands via email says Infogroup. In comparison, 66 percent of monthly Facebook users use the platform daily and 22 percent of Instagram users log in once a day. Only 4.5 percent of consumers want to receive direct messages on social media from brands.
The role of email has certainly changed over the years, and data and technology has been instrumental in its evolution. Today, with AI and Machine Learning at the forefront, the channel can work harder towards driving long term value. When done right, email is the center of a brand’s customer engagement strategy acting as a linchpin for connecting online, social and offline customer experiences.https://martechseries.com/?s=Customer%20data
Read more: 8 Tips for Creating High-Performing Emails
Yet many organizations are missing opportunities with their customers because there are shortcomings in their current mindset. In conversations with brands, they often share that strategic email investment decisions are absent from C-Suite discussions. Many times, the channel is treated as a tacked-on component of a larger Marketing Cloud technology investment they are making. Or CMOs are focused on the email budget line item and decreasing their CPM rates, which incentivizes their teams to send more email. This mindset is antiquated.
Instead of sending more email to create short-term revenue gains, you should be thinking about email as a personalized, outcomes-based channel to reach consumers in genuine ways and grow customer lifetime value. To approach email with this mindset it requires you to:
Make strategic data alignment and activation decisions
Customer data is the fuel that powers any Marketing engine, and email is no different. When data gleaned from an email program is aligned and activated strategically it can power decisioning across channels. Preference centers are a strategic way to collect important first-party customer data at the time of subscriber acquisition, including how often a customer wants to hear from you and what type of information they want to receive. This is where most brands stop. The real value comes in taking it a step further to align that preference center with web activity, email behavior, transactional insights and offline data to create a full picture of how a consumer interacts with your brand and when they want you to engage them. But you must be ready to put the insights to work and activate the data via more sophisticated and personalized email communications.
Go beyond triggers and send time optimization
The ability to activate data in real-time is critical to creating a seamless conversation with your customers. Personalization in email is more than just send time optimization – knowing when and how many emails to send to a customer. Look for Machine Learning and AI capabilities that power real-time decisioning at the individual level including email subject lines, product recommendations, content hierarchy and contextual elements driven by browsing, email and on- and off-line purchase behavior. Finally, take your decisioning to the next level by accounting for where the customer is in their lifecycle with the brand, their purchase journey and their preferred device to influence them at the right moment in time.
Forget about open and click rates
There is a time and place for measuring specific email metrics like opens and clicks but getting caught up in these numbers is a good way to lose sight of the true business impact a strategic email program can have on your business. Even measuring revenue from “batch and blast” fire Sale promotions isn’t good enough. Tying email measurement to broader cross-channel goals like brand awareness, driving people to your store and creating a feedback loop for customer reviews will have a much larger long-term impact on your brand.
Email will become a value-driven channel for your organization when you stop thinking about it as an episodic moment in time and start thinking about having personalized conversations, over time, that create value for your organization and your customers.
Read more: The Email Content That Makes Happy Customers