The better we understand our customers the better we can communicate and use the power of email more effectively.
Sounds blindingly obvious doesn’t it, but just how many companies do communicate effectively ‘one-to-one’ with their customers, with a channel that allows them to do it, cost effectively? Not that many as most see email marketing as a cheap or free communication channel that can produce short term results. Sounds great doesn’t it? But there is a but! We run the risk of alienating the customer, who we’ve worked so hard to obtain, who has the power with one click of a button to unsubscribe or add us to their junk mail filter. Not a pretty picture is it.
Well the Email Marketing Conference at London Zoo focused on that very issue: Customer Focused Email – Marketing to people not lists. The conference brought together industry experts to show how we can treat our customers as individuals and not as a collective mass, who we bombard with email offers.
I chaired the day and thought it would be useful to summarise the key learnings that I took away, that I believe we can all apply in our organisations:
1. Data is key – collect enough but not too much as you risk customer disengagement. Use the data you collect and continually ask your customers questions to build up a richer picture of their attitudes. Also gain an understanding of why people no longer want to hear from you, so that you can apply those learnings to your strategy.
2. Protect your customers and protect your brand. Change the perception of the value of email within your organisation. Use email to drive long term growth and not continued short term offers to generate short term results. Continue to do the latter and your at risk of losing your customers and diminishing the value of your brand.
3. Make your email campaigns customer driven not marketing driven. Remember there is an individual at the end of your communication. Put yourself in their shoes, think about what’s in it for them and what they need to do to respond. Build an experience with your customers and give them value back. Remember that customers judge you on each and every email you send.
4. Make your emails relevant. Relevance makes your email work harder for you. Segment your customers, use triggers, personalise, add interactivity and continually test. The more relevant you are the more often you can communicate.
By applying these key learnings we can achieve our goal keeping our valuable customers engaged with our organisation so that we can build long term profitable relationships.