Email is still one of the best, most cost-effective ways to reach targeted audiences with customised content.
It has been a while since I’ve written about email. Only email. Not mobile, not social, not other channels. Just email. It was November 2013, to be exact, and I think it still makes a good read.
Email is still here, alive and kicking. No other channel comes close to its cost-efficiency, reach and cultural acceptance, especially when it comes to the channels used to retain clients.
Yes, mobile and social are very important but they are not as widespread as email.
Besides, email is the 'tissue layer' that connects the entire web together. Try opening an account on a website, make a purchase, get your weekly summary feed from Instagram or Twitter, or notifications from Facebook, without an email account.
My point is - email is still here.
Yet the use of this channel should be adapted to present times. Call it email on steroids.
What is Email on Steroids?
It is the ability to take advantage of new and available technologies and to engage your customers and provide them with a better experience and push them another step closer to conversion.
Here are the most important elements that should be used in emails (and I am keeping it simple):
Think along the lines of your favorite restaurant or coffee shop. As you walk in, the team knows you and offers you special treatment – you’re being greeted and led to your favorite place, and they know what you’d like to order. Every now and then they’ll throw in a free drink or dessert to reward you for your loyalty.
Airlines and hotels do this, too. But there’s not enough of it in the B2C space.
I am not (Read more...) to simple segmentations, but to knowing who your customer is – where they stand on the customer lifecycle, and what they like.
Transactional data is being scored and crunched with smart algorithms that show us who the client really is. So make use of this and use the treatment layer to treat clients differently based on where they are in the journey with your brand.
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
About 40 percent to 50 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices, with a higher response to B2C emails than B2B.
Your email has to be responsive. The journey doesn’t stop there and you need to ensure your client’s experience is smooth when they hit the link and are redirected to a mobile site.
Many emails today are still being created manually. It is tedious work – approving copy and creatives, putting links together, testing, choosing segmentation and finally sending. Let me tell you – creating emails is not a fulfilling job to say the least.
Many of our clients understand that there’s no good reason for the email to be created manually. They have a content engine that creates email content automatically for predefined audiences (remember the treatment layer), with extra rules for dynamic content. The content engine then executes the message in a blueprinted lifecycle.
A big portion of the content that will be automatically produced needs to be predictive. Predictive in the sense that it will help the customer to buy what they want, but also will support them in a spontaneous purchase and help them explore and discover products and services they did not plan to acquire.
Some of your clients will be very careful with their purchases. They will look at reviews, compare prices online with different merchants, and will hit your shop knowing exactly what they want to buy and for what price, and start the customer journey to purchase.
Others will just want to indulge themselves with something new and will hit your shop trying to discover some goodies. You need to cater for both types – the planned purchases and the spontaneous, experimental ones – and push them to the shop with smart content recommendations in your email.
Consumers are on the move and you must address this and add contextualization to the emails.
If it’s events, then you want to add dynamic timers. If you have bricks-and-mortar shops, then add the closest shop address and a map that shows the direction, or add short movies embedded in the email.
Back to the future? It is already the present and that is what your consumers expect from you.
Is this complex? I do not think so. It’s a matter of making a decision to enhance the experience of the consumers, who will reward you with their loyalty in return.
Until next time, stay tuned. Ohad.
*Image via Shutterstock
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