I recently booked a hotel for a trip through a travel aggregation site. The shopping experience was easy, payment was painless, and they had a great loyalty scheme.
But soon after, I was bombarded with emails from the same site, including special offers, flash sales, and changes in prices for hotels I hadn’t booked and destinations I didn’t want to visit.
Up to that point, I was happy with my experience booking through this company. But when the emails started hitting my inbox several times a day, I quickly became annoyed.
It didn’t matter that many of the emails were useful. I couldn’t keep up with them all! The pure volume of emails from this one company prompted me to delete them all without reading a single one.
Unfortunately, too many B2C brands take this same approach to email marketing. They send out messages with abandon to email lists, forgetting to think about it from the buyer’s perspective. Brands are carelessly contributing to the staggering 269 billion emails that were sent and received each day in 2017. With so many emails, it’s no wonder everyone’s inboxes are overwhelmed.
That’s exactly why you need to stop relying on email alone and branch out into new channels instead. Email is just one of many ways to engage buyers, and you have to spread out your communications to your audience across multiple channels and platforms.
With the right marketing strategy, you can stop a mass exodus from your email list and keep buyers engaged with all your newest marketing campaigns.
Why should I stop sending so many emails?
We’re not saying you should stop sending your customers marketing emails entirely — merely that you shouldn’t rely on email as your only channel of communication. Your email list is one of your most valuable marketing tools, and so you have to treat it with care. Use it wisely, and only when you are really sure it is the right channel for the particular message or campaign.
There’s no right or wrong way to use email, just as there is no right or wrong day to send email campaigns. Your brand is unique and needs a tailored approach according to the data. Maybe your customers mainly consume content on social media, or maybe they prefer to receive sale notifications as a text message, or maybe they want coupons with a longer shelf life via email. Other customers may read emails regularly, but your marketing emails are getting mixed up with transactional emails and so your message isn’t getting through.
You risk losing out on repeat business by not contacting customers in their channel of choice. This is exactly why you need to measure how your buyers interact with your brand. For example, you may think buyers aren’t engaged because they aren’t opening emails, when in fact they regularly like your Instagram posts or visit your website. If you diversify the channels you use, then you’ll be able to better engage with customers across their preferred channels. This will improve engagement and increase the ROI of your marketing campaigns, while also increasing the effectiveness of your email marketing.
How do I find the right channels to engage?
Step 1: Understand your customers
Instead of getting multiple emails a day, I personally would have preferred to receive a push notification from the travel site’s app if there was a sale I’m interested in. However, that’s just my personal preference. Another customer may have preferred to receive a Facebook message, another a text message, and another a Tweet.
While it is a good idea to stop sending so many emails to your customers all the time, that doesn’t mean you can simply switch this blanket approach to another channel. Instead, you need to understand your buyer’s preferences and contact them according to their preferred channels.
To do this, you need to bring all the information you have stored on your customers’ shopping and communication channels together in one place. You can either straight up ask them for their preferences, or you can look at how they’ve interacted with your brand most in the past. This will give you a holistic view of your customers so you can segment them according to their preferred channels of communication.
By tracking all your customer interactions in one place, you can personalize and tailor your marketing campaigns using this data. You can also use multi-touch attribution to better understand which of your channels are best at converting buyers, what campaigns work on which channels, and which messages are most effective. Each new data point you collect on your buyers will help you get better at marketing to them.
Step 2: Segment and personalize your campaigns
Once you have the data on your customers in one place and you’re able to analyze it effectively yourself. Once you understand how your buyers behave across channels, then you can segment your customers based on this data. With dynamic customer segmentation, you can pull in real-time data to update marketing segments as your buyers take action. Then you can send out communications to the right customers in the right channel at the right time.
Once you’ve effectively implemented segments, then you need to personalize your marketing campaigns across the channels your customers prefer. This is more than just including your name in communications — it extends to products they have bought or viewed, as well demographic and location data, and how they are interacting with your brand.
To be able to effectively do this, you need to have a seamless omnichannel strategy to enable you to send consistent messaging to customers, no matter what channel they use to interact with your brand. After all, your customers don’t think in channels; they want a simple, quick, and trustworthy buying experience no matter when and how they shop.
While email is an extremely important marketing channel, your email list is gold and you must use it wisely and sparingly. Take your customer preferences into account and segment and personalize across channels. With the right omnichannel strategy, you should see improvement in the ROI of your marketing campaigns overall, while maintaining the integrity of your email subscription list at the same time.