Marketing automation: How to send the right message at the right time
How many promotional emails did you delete this week, before even opening them? Most promotional emails – up to 95%, depending on the quality of a campaign – will never even be opened! Much of that is because people are extremely crafty at knowing when an email has been generated automatically. They are quick to throw away these impersonal mass emails, but you buck this behavior by creating email messages that are both automated and authentic.
In this post, we will share three key strategies to for developing messages that drive results.
Make it personal
The simplest way to personalize an email is by addressing each target by name. It’s so easy to do there’s really no reason not to. Also attribute the message to a real member of your team, or even your CEO. Take it a step further and add your photo and email signature to the body of the email. A dead giveaway is to send email from generic addresses that don’t allow replies. Don’t do this; consumers should be able to hit the reply button and reach a member of your consumer service team. It’s the little things that show an actual human took the time and effort to craft the message and actually cares about fielding any responses.
In our last blog, we showed you how to create market segments…now is the time to use them. Parents with kids live in a different world than college students or retirees. Creating the right personas for your business takes time, just like the effort of collecting enough data to assign a persona, but it can pay off big time. The number of personas can be built up over time as more data is collected.
The best lists and segmentation are useless when they aren’t used to create relevant messaging. This requires full channel integration and a bit of creativity. The key is attaching every shopping behavior — from a single website or in-store visit to a full conversion — into a response loop that automatically generates the most appropriate and relevant messaging.
Imagine a customer is about to embark on a 6-month hike up (or down) the famous Appalachian Trail. She begins to research her journey online to identify an outfitter who can equip her with the right gear. As she researches, she might stumble upon a helpful blog post on the “best ways to keep your feet dry on long hikes.”
She immediately opts in to your newsletter, which communicates an interest or desire for more info. Eventually, she visits your store and chats with sales consultants about the adventure. After an in-person product demo, perhaps she’s not quite ready to pull the trigger. This is an opportunity for marketers, as the relevance doesn’t end at the brick and mortar experience.
She begins receiving equally informative and personalized e-mails from the owner of the outfitter. A credible courtship has been created on the basis of relevance. Not an aggressive barrage of random messages that will likely force customers to opt-out.
Timing is everything
Knowing when to deploy relevant messages is another critical part a successful marketing automation campaign. The value of the above trailblazer prospect is lost if your message lags behind and she’s already halfway down the trail before she gets the message. Conversely, messaging surrounding products consumers aren’t ready to buy yet comes off as pushy.
In the case of our outdoor enthusiast, you might know that she’s embarking on the big hike 3 months from now and that she needs a full pack and all the tools needed to fill the pack. This advanced timing allows you to pace your outreach each week by A/B testing relevant messages. A simpler example would be to deploy messages that sync known weather patterns with customer persona zip codes. For example, “Next week is the first day of Spring. Here are 5 essential tools every hiker needs to conquer Joshua Tree.”
In most cases, you won’t have the luxury of knowing exactly when a trip is coming up. Let behaviors be your guide. If your message generates a page visit or the consumer spends five minutes reading the email, you’re on to something. If she closes it in three seconds, that indicates it’s time to back off.
Using a technology platform that allows marketers to act on such insights in real time to deliver timely info, deals and support are critical to conversion.
Continue to maximize on what you know about your customers and your messages will resonate, allowing you to deliver the goods, figuratively and literally.
In our next blog…
We will discuss measurement and how tying every engagement touchpoint to conversion helps marketers identify holes in the journey, alerting you to what’s working and where you’re coming up short.