Marketing automation is a moving target that has evolved greatly over the past several years. Many retailers have seen tremendous success with smart programs that understand the desires and values of the customers. While the benefits of marketing automation done right can be fantastic, the risk of using it in a way that fails to understand or respect customer expectations can be considerable. You can actually lose customers by sending them messages that turn them off.
That’s a major reason why some retailers are missing the boat on the benefits of marketing automation. Don’t let fear of doing the wrong thing prevent sales that you could be achieving with a properly developed and executed marketing campaign. In the next several blog posts, we will explain everything you need to know to capture the benefits of marketing automation without the risk.
It all starts with the first question most retailers have when thinking about marketing automation: How do I build a quality email list populated with appropriate targets?
One of the fastest ways to obtain a large list of prospects is to purchase one. This is almost always unnecessary and leads to results that are far from optimal. Instead, here are some things you can do to generate a list of high quality targets that are likely to become your best customers.
Mine your existing E-Commerce database. Retailers that sell online should have email addresses on file for most all of their customers. Create a list of email addresses that includes all consumers that have purchased from you within the past six to twelve months.
Mine your existing loyalty club database. Shoppers that are part of loyalty programs likely provided email addresses when signing up. In most cases, these customers expect to receive emails from your brand and are excellent targets.
Collect email addresses at POS. Ask shoppers that convert at POS for their email addresses during checkout. Many will gladly provide them, but it can help to incentivize even more to do so by offering a simple reward. A guaranteed email that provides $5 off any future purchase or similar benefit will drive very high compliance.
Get opt-ins on social media channels. Social media is a great place to promote sales, special offers, sweepstakes and any other promotion appropriate for your vertical. Come up with one that is likely to resonate with your audience and require email registration for participation.
Create gated offers. Build a special section of your website that has exclusive content that will appeal to your best targets. This might be limited edition merchandise, deep discounts or clearance items. Ask consumers for an email address before granting them access to these special areas.
Partner with vendors for contests and offers. You can expand your penetration by leveraging the reach of vendors. Work with them to create special giveaways or other offers that require email addresses from consumers that wish to participate. Having your vendors promote these offers will expand your audience.
Ask current subscribers to share with their friends. Include a simple “email a friend” button in your marketing emails and add entered addresses to your database. You can incentivize sharing by offering a referral reward if the friend buys something or performs another measurable activity.
In our next blog…
We will discuss how to best segment your list, but all prospects you have not reached out to in the past should start life in the same “new user” segment. This way, a simple message can be sent that offers some incentive for a desired behavior and allow a specified quiet time where no emails are sent so the prospect is less likely to unsubscribe. Then, appropriate segmentation can commence based on known information from your CRM and subsequent behaviors such as purchase history.