Customer engagement has been an industry-wide marketing term for around a decade now. It encapsulates the change in marketing philosophy brought about by three effects of digital media:
Rise of marketing automation
Move from one-to-many broadcast marketing to one-to-one conversational commerce
Proliferation of transactional and programmatic messaging
Customer Engagement pressures: Marketers need new ways to engage
According to the report, marketers have found that they need to find new ways to communicate with customers and build lasting relationships, or face crippling competition from more capable rivals.
Those that adopt a customer-engagement approach to their marketing strategy typically see improved customer satisfaction, resulting in improved customer retention and financial performance.
B2Cs, for instance, measure impact in increased order values and reduced marketing costs, while their B2B counterparts use customer engagement techniques to boost acquisition and optimize their lead quality.
For better customer engagement, brands need to connect and communicate smarter
There are two main barriers to a robust customer engagement strategy:
Difficulties in getting a single customer view (SCV)
Disconnected technology platforms
Many businesses struggle with legacy systems that don’t work together, since driving engagement relies on the seamless connection of all data points. Plus, antiquated organizational structures impede the vital sharing of data across the business. This is another key requirement to creating a consistent and engaging experience along the path to purchase and beyond.
Headline stats highlight customer data silos
How are marketers engaging their customers?
79% of respondents use email platforms
65% use content management systems
62% use social media tools
BUT, creating an SCV proves to be a challenge…
Just 65% of companies have integrated email and CRM
Only 56% of businesses have integrated email with their didgital analytics
And the levels of integration are far lower for other types of technology.
Consumers expect personalized experiences
Brands are well aware of the growing expectations of consumers. Personalization has, according to 25% of those surveyed, been one of the most important customer engagement-related trends in the last five years. The need to personalize is driving intermediate and advanced brands to focus more on AI as a tool to accelerate the customer experience into new realms of personalization.
More unmissable insights
For a deep-dive into all of the stats, as well as regional breakdowns across the UK & Europe, North America, and APAC, download the full version here.
You’ll discover the true importance of customer engagement, considerations and tactics for B2C and B2B, as well as how the right technology can drive long-term success.
Change is an important part of any successful business, so we thought it would be a good idea to give you some insight into our key roadmap items and how customer feedback influences what we build.
Behind the scenes
In our company’s infancy we were simply an Email Service Provider – or ‘ESP’ as it is now commonly abbreviated to. Although, once you start learning about ramp-ups and deliverability, email doesn’t seem so simple anymore – luckily, we have a dedicated team to help with that!
20 years on, whilst the market has crowded, and its players have converged – we’re still standing strong. Of course, this doesn’t happen unless you have a taskforce and customer base that are receptive to change.
I’m sure you’ve clocked our rebrand to dotdigital and I hope
you’ve also noticed our change in direction (in terms of what our tech can do).
Today, marketers can use Engagement Cloud to send omnichannel marketing
messages to the right audience, at the right time, and on the right channel.
We wouldn’t have come this far had it not been for you. Whether you’re fresh to dotdigital or a long-standing customer that we’ve served for 10+ years, we work extremely hard to understand how you use our platform and what we can do better to help you improve.
If you’ve visited our roadmap before, you might have spotted a green tab at the side for feedback and ideas.
We invite anyone, including our thousands of users, to tell us how we can make Engagement Cloud better. Some great developments have been put in motion thanks to some of the feedback we’ve received – one of which is RFM segmentation (coming soon!).
Besides our public roadmap, we use dotlives, webinars,
customer interviews, and other opportunities to gather valuable feedback. You
may have even received a beta program invite from one of our product managers;
betas are a way for us to get feedback prior to launch whilst giving our
customers the opportunity to shape the products they’ll be using in the future.
So, join us on the 27th of June when I’ll be running through the items on our roadmap in a little more detail. I’ll focus on the projects that are particularly relevant to the agenda on the day and fill you in on the beta programs we’re running. Most importantly though, please stick around and give me your two cents’ worth over a tea or coffee after the sessions!
loyal customers can help boost a company’s revenue. Engaging your email recipients
is vital for converting prospects and building customer loyalty. What’s more,
looking your best in the inbox increases your brand’s reputation.
be hard to measure numerically and objectively. Put simply, it’s an indicator
of how interested your contacts are, and therefore gauges the success of your email
campaigns. Generating more engagement means that you’re making a bigger impact
with your recipients.
The start is
always the hardest, but here you’ll find some great ways to increase customer
engagement and encourage your recipients to take more actions through your
What do we mean when we talk about customer engagement? The definition is broad and might change depending on who you’re asking, but let’s look at some examples of how to inspire customer engagement.
Personalize your campaign
Have you ever received an email which started with ‘Dear valued customer’? Chances are, you didn’t feel very valued at all. Whether you use a CRM or keep your data in other formats, it will contain plenty of valuable information, from recipients’ first names to their purchase history.
Ensure you use this information to create personalized subject lines and messages that speak directly to each individual recipient. It’s harder to ignore something that feels intended for you, which is why personalized email campaigns usually have higher open rates than generic ones.
Nobody wants to be treated as though they’re a cog in a machine – they want to feel like they have a personal relationship with your brand. If they get this impression, they’ll be more likely to engage.
The operative word here is ‘specific’. Like the denim jeans of this world, one size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to email marketing. If you offer a variety of products or services, chances are you have different customer segments with unique characteristics. If you’re not using segments, why not?
To take full advantage of customer engagement, prepare messages that specifically address the needs, wants, and interests of different groups.
Don’t get lost in the crowd. Make life easier for your customers: write actionable subject lines that set the expectation of what your messages are about. You want to inspire customer engagement by letting customers know what they can do with the email.
Most emails are won or lost at the subject line
Most emails are won or lost at the subject line; not only does it determine whether your email is ever opened, but it affects your recipient’s mood and nature from the outset.
something appealing, unique, and compelling; avoid using exclamation marks and
salesy language in favor of something clever and original.
forget the preheader text. So many marketers don’t even know what this is, and
yet the preview, or preheader, text in your email can make or break your open
Generally, this is pulled from the first sentence when you’re sending personal emails, but, in the marketing world, it normally consists of image alt text or browser instructions.
Your dotdigital Engagement Cloud platform provides you with the space in which to choose what text gets shown in the preview. Using 35-90 characters to capture the recipient’s interest—and supplement your subject line—will help you get those higher open rates.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Your business is unique, and so are your recipients. You need to determine what types of emails drive customer engagement for your business. Experiment with different strategies and see what succeeds. In email marketing this is called A/B (or split) testing.
The idea is to run two nearly identical versions of an email campaign and compare the performance of each version. The campaigns might differ on variables such as subject line, layout, or friendly from name. Once you learn which factors lead to higher engagement, you’ll be able to create more effective campaigns in the future.
Allow omnichannel opportunities
wants to engage in the same way, and that’s OK. Omnichannel marketing means
retailers can now offer a consistent experience across all channels – you can
let your customer choose when and where to engage.
If you have a strong Facebook presence, get involved in our Facebook Audience Program Extension. A Facebook Audience channel extension can be used in programs to automate the enrollment of new contacts into your audiences. This enables you to easily maintain and grow your audiences and improve your re-targeting efforts. Optimizing your ad campaign spend, you can target your ads to people who aren’t engaged through other channels, such as email. You can read more here.
Easily maintain and grow your audiences
Offering multiple ways to engage with your business maximizes marketing results, customer engagement, and brand reputation.
Triggered and automated email campaigns come in many varieties, but they all share the same incentive: sending custom emails to recipients based on their previous actions and interests, all without any manual input – perfect.
Every marketer wants more customers to engage more frequently with more of their content. After all, engagements are generally considered positive key performance indicators. If customers are opening your messages, clicking through to your site, and ultimately buying from you – your job as a marketer is done, right? Wrong!
All too often, customers have negative experiences after they click ‘buy’. It might be that their order is delayed because the product’s out of stock. Perhaps they receive the wrong item. Or maybe they simply change their mind and don’t want to engage in your returns process.
These types of experiences are part of the engagement iceberg, where less-visible interactions can cost a lot of money and undo your hard-spent marketing dollars. To illustrate, it takes 12 positive customer reviews to make up for one negative customer review.
Brightpearl automates retail: all the tasks in the back-end associated with placing and receiving an order. Their mission is to reduce errors, eliminate bottlenecks, and make the customer experience painless.
dotdigital and Brightpearl are pleased to announce a new integration
The new connector helps brands sync their back-end retail operations with dotdigital Engagement Cloud. Marketers can achieve a more robust single customer view and take control over how and when they market to someone.
The integration lets retailers sync:
Doing your data due diligence saves you time to re-market to a new or automatically created address book(s). You could even create a new marketing segment combining contacts with related Brightpearl contact tags. Cool, huh?
Relevant and valuable communication with clients is one of the cornerstones of customer-centric retail. We’re excited to partner with dotdigital to provide our mutual customers the capacity to enhance their customer engagement with accurate operations data. This will give Brightpearl and dotdigital Engagement Cloud users the ability to avoid disjointed or irrelevant communication to clients, and instead will lead to the kind of seamless customer experience both platforms are already known to provide on their own.
Rob Beattie, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Brightpearl, UK
The partnership with retail operations experts Brightpearl makes a lot of sense. We have a number of mutual clients who have all expressed the need to be able to link up their business systems, front- and back-end. As an increasing amount of businesses feel fierce competitive pressure, having the ability to respond to end-to-end experiences, both good and bad, becomes increasingly important when trying to gain an edge over the rest.
Brightpearl is an omnichannel retail operations platform
that helps retailers streamline the back office. Brightpearl’s complete
solution includes financial management, inventory and sales order management,
purchasing and supplier management, CRM, fulfilment, warehouse, and logistics.
Integrated with major ecommerce platforms and online marketplaces, Brightpearl
is designed to scale as retailers grow.
Customer engagement is earned through trust and over time. It’s no easy feat for brands; our noisy digital age means that connecting with customers is rather challenging.
What’s more, customer engagement is intrinsically hard to measure. Sure, you can track email opens, clicks, and conversions. But what about word of mouth and brand awareness? The important stuff.
What is customer engagement?
Put simply, customer engagement is attracting and influencing customers in order to capture and retain their attention. Brands seek participation from consumers at length: a collection of individual moments that make up a customer’s experience or journey.
Customer engagement is a persuasion game and has more than one facet. To nurture prospects into customers effectively, you’ll need to tap into the following three layers of the consumer psyche:
In the very first instance, you should look to engage your customers at an emotional level. They need to ‘feel’ something for your brand and trust your proposition.
Secondly, you need to lock in commitment and ensure that what you’re offering makes logical sense to the customer.
Lastly, and most importantly, you’ll have to communicate your brand virtues. Ethical marketing helps nurture promoters – people who will actively advance your brand’s influence.
Let’s look at the best tactics for smashing all three:
Inspire emotions to engage customers.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou, American poet
As human beings, our decisions are influenced by our emotions. We love authenticity and hate deceit, so brands need to come across as trustworthy. Only then will customers respond positively.
An authentic brand narrative is important for creating brand relevance. Millennials in particular will respond better to emotive marketing than promotional ads. Enchanting subscribers with storytelling means activating memories, feelings, and desires. Relevancy is key: Use the customer data you hold to create meaningful campaigns. EasyJet’s anniversary story is a lovely example.
Put your social proof to use
Customer-first businesses earn social proof. The important thing is to let the customer do the talking. Ratings, reviews and testimonials, and user-generated content (UGC) are all great examples of social proof that can influence broader engagement. Shout about your endorsements and broadcast what other customers are buying. You’ll soon spark interest from similar consumers who are in the market for your product or service.
Now that you’ve struck up an emotional connection with your customer, it’s time to appeal to reason. They’ve built up enough trust to hear you out.
And while impulse can sometimes mislead, logic isn’t as easily fooled. Rational engagement will consolidate emotive desires with reasoning: Do I actually need this Klimt print? Can I afford it? Where would I hang it? I’d need to buy a frame, too.
Convincing customers of your products or services requires some fine-tuning. You need to align your proposition as a solution to an existing want, need, or problem. After all, no one likes buyer’s remorse.
While stories can be broad in their message, communications such as email need to be tailored to specific individuals. Base campaigns on personas or use preferences and behaviors to customize your content. Remember that, to satisfy the customer’s rationale, there should be a reason behind every message.
Relevancy improves the likelihood of engagement. The knock-on effects include: increased customer satisfaction, retention, and cross-/upselling. 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize and provide relevant recommendations. Plus, 83% are willing to share their data to make this possible! Do you have a preference center?
Segmenting based on explicit preferences, like product tastes, enables you to power dynamic content in email.
Tracking implicit data, such as online activity, allows you to recommend highly relevant products.
Leverage different channels
Armed with a mobile device, consumers can shop wherever and whenever they please. And while email is the undisputed king of ROI (£42 for every £1), other channels such as SMS and push notification warrant equal attention.
Consumers, who perceive SMS as a direct and service-based communication channel, are super-responsive on mobile. They engage with messages instinctively. It’s no surprise that SMS has an unbeatable open rate of 98% and a response rate of 45%.
Marketers have a real opportunity to capitalize on this near-perfect engagement score. Sending highly contextual and timely SMS messages, such as dispatch notes or appointment reminders, can instill consumer confidence in your brand.
Drive context with lifecycle automation
Lifecycle marketing is about taking your customers on a journey. Automation empowers brands to logically structure their campaigns and content around the customer. The premise is context; every message should be relevant to the customer at their point in the journey. Think: welcome series, birthday trigger campaigns, post-purchase content, and loyalty programs.
Lead the charge on ethics! Happy customers aren’t always active promoters; brand promotion is at its strongest when they experience a sentimental connection with your brand.
Remember, customers love companies who show they care for something other than the bottom line. Putting ethics before profit not only builds trust, it inspires customers to become actively involved in your brand. And that means more sales.
66% of consumers are willing to spend more money with an ethical businesses. What’s more, 92% of millennials are more likely to buy products from companies that value their ethics.
Engage customers in ethical conversation:
Fair trade practices
Good working conditions
Respect for the environment
Ask yourself, what does your business care about?
Make a commitment – and stick to it
Commit to something that both your brand and your customers care about. You might want to donate a percentage of your profits to charity, or plant a tree for every 10 products you sell. Showing that you’re making a difference can earn you more trust and cement your brand reputation.
Use holidays to inspire giving
Anniversaries are a great cause for celebration. They’re a time for reflection and inspiration, so brands need to get stuck in. Making a campaign all about compassion – rather than promotion – can go a long way in customer engagement. Perhaps organize some business-wide charity work on your company’s birthday, or use Black Friday sales as a reason to donate to an important cause. Maybe your customers will follow suit?
Let customers know what their purchases go towards. A compelling aftersales moment can stay with customers forever. That feeling is something brands can’t buy. Go up in customers’ estimations by highlighting the contributions you’re making to a specific cause.
Make it about more than the transaction
Promoters will advocate brands that provide special customer experiences. You’ve got to make the transaction extraordinary so that it sticks out from the others.
Customers will, for instance, be delighted that their purchase is helping others in need. Having felt something meaningful, they’ll continue to purchase with the brand and recommend it to their peers.
So, whether it’s on your homepage or product pages, in email or on social, communicate your ethical activities. They’ll draw the eye, because your actions speak louder than your words.
Customers buy brands, not products
Remember that an authentic narrative will always inspire customer action. People will always pay attention to your business if you’ve got something worthwhile to say. Engagement is the result of a good brand story. It’s just a case of getting the balance of emotive and rational marketing right.
Your brand proposition needs to feel right, make sense, and convey compassion.
This can be for numerous reasons, from a lack of planning or consideration of website design, to a lack of relevant and inspiring content conveying your brands’ message. It’s preventing visitors from converting and damaging your bottom line.
To stop this from happening, it’s important that marketers create shopping experiences which are relevant, exciting, and make it as easy as possible for customers to complete their purchase.
Tactic #1 – Create stunning content
Three seconds is all a consumer needs to absorb the visuals on your web or landing page and decide whether to stay or not.
In the Amazon-age we live in, online retailers need to work harder to differentiate themselves. The best way to do this is by creating unique digital experiences and curating engaging product stories that Amazon can’t. Using a consistent mix of eye-catching visuals helps to guide visitors down the page and clearly tell your brand’s story.
To keep your returning visitors engaged, these pages need to be updated regularly. Unfortunately, the process, from planning through to development and implementation, can often be a slow one. An automated design process that takes minutes to update will help you maintain a high level of engagement and encourage new guests to browse. This is where Styla is here to help.
Tactic #2 – Shoppable content
Connect content and commerce by delivering branded content
with relevant product information.
Help your customers mentally commit to their purchase by populating your content with important product details. Making your page directly shoppable significantly shortens the path to purchase and improves your conversion rate by 3.5x.
After successfully driving shoppers to engage with your ad, social, or email campaign, you don’t want to leave them with choice paralysis. Most failures to convert are caused when they can’t find the product or service information that they want. Including shoppable content prevents this from happening.
Including user-generated content will increase your conversions even further. But, as your designs need to be updated regularly, you also need to keep your content fresh to ensure new and returning customers alike are staying engaged.
Tactic #3 – Segmentation
After taking the time to design and regularly update your content you need to ensure you’re successfully driving visitors to your page.
Hitting the Mark 2018 found that 66% of brands still aren’t segmenting their audiences. By segmenting your audience, you can get a clearer picture of their likes and interests, which will improve the relevancy of your content. The more relevant your content, the more inspired customers will be to act.
When building your segments, it’s essential you fuse your
implicit and explicit data. This includes data gathered directly from the user,
such as through a preference center, and behavioral data like online browsing
habits. Using advanced segments really brings your communications to life.
By targeting your segments, you’ll be delivering the right message to the right person, in the right context.
Tactic #4 – Personalization
Further increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by personalizing your customer engagements.
The conversion rate for personalized emails are 6x higher
than generic emails. After all, who doesn’t like content specifically designed
and chosen to meet your unique needs?
Hyper-relevant content, such as abandon cart emails are proven to drive results. 50% of users who engage with abandon cart content go on to complete their purchase. But, the impact of these communications would be significantly reduced if customers were directed to generic product grids, once again emphasizing the importance of creating visually appealing and shoppable landing pages.
Personalization drives a response from audiences, but the relevancy
of your landing pages is was makes them act.
Put it into action
Using rich content across all stages of the customers’
journey helps you build stronger relationships with them. This, in turn, helps
you pave the way to purchase and customer retention.
The opportunity to engage on mobile is now! Brands (like yours) need to adopt a mobile-centric strategy if they wish to extend their reach, acquire and retain customers, and increase their marketing ROI.
Why’s that? Ultimately, it’s because consumers’ shopping habits rely heavily on the smartphone and its capabilities. Today we’re inseparable from our mobiles.
The device equips customers with:
quick access to information
convenience of purchase
easy selection process and checkout
extensive product and service choice
Brands are under pressure to deliver a seamless ‘at-home’ experience now that the shopfront sits on the consumer’s coffee table. Since mobile is inherently personal to the individual, marketers need to be prioritizing personalization at every stage of the customer journey.
Here are 4 ways to deliver the best experience on mobile:
1. Implement a welcome program that’s fit for mobile
First impressions are what build the initial foundations of a long-lasting customer relationship. Brands aiming to nurture a loyal customer base should take an active interest in new subscribers. Winning them over on mobile can make all the difference.
Confirm subscription via SMS
Send a mobile optimized welcome email (promote your app if you have one)
Invite subscribers to fill in a fully responsive preference center
Segment contacts based on the information you capture
2. Deliver an on-the-go aftersales experience
The post-purchase journey is a honeymoon period (your customers are really into you, so it’s important to be really into them, too). This is where you can drive valuable mobile moments that build that all-important brand love.
timely transactional notifications
informative delivery updates in real time
value-add aftersales content (‘how-tos’, reviews, promotions related to past behavior)
Whether these messages are delivered via email, SMS or push, they need to be contextual and relevant. Every mobile moment should mean something to the customer.
3. Engage customers at meaningful moments
Loyalty doesn’t come from one single purchase. Brands have got to invest in their customers – that means providing rich content and tailored product recommendations. It costs five times more to acquire a customer than to retain one, so nurturing tactics should be the cornerstone of your mobile marketing strategy.
Trigger a product review via email/SMS and offer an incentive to boost responses
Combine preference data with behavioral insight to power relevant communications
Send broadcast promotions/event-based notifications via SMS and push (flash sales, content drops, new arrivals, appointment/renewal/replenishment reminders)
Anniversaries are a great conversation starter – think birthdays, throwbacks, one-year-since-first-purchase etc.
4. Keep customers hooked wherever they are
Customers inevitably fall off the radar, and it’s a challenge for every business. Since acquisition is pricier than retention, marketers need to refine their re-engagement tactics and prevent customers from lapsing. But fear not: if you’re going to win them back, it’s going to be on mobile.
Agree on your lapse criteria (i.e. customer hasn’t opened an email in three months or purchased in six)
Build a winback program that incorporates SMS, push and email (using whichever channel subscribers are likelier to engage on)
Consider retargeting ads on Facebook and Google
Audience segmentation is the most important tactic for marketers to practice. The experience on mobile must be as personalized as possible; consumers won’t engage with messages that lack context or relevancy.
Omnichannel experience is one of the big buzzwords in the business world for good reason. Offering an omnichannel experience to customers goes above and beyond a multichannel experience. The two are very similar, but there are some key differences.
Instead of simply offering customers multiple channels to make their experience more personalized, businesses are bringing these multiple channels together to work simultaneously. Here, we’re going to break down why this practice is important for your business and what elements encapsulate the omnichannel experience.
What is omnichannel?
The omnichannel experience brings multiple channels together for customers to use simultaneously. While it is mostly a marketing tool, it can easily and effectively trickle down to other aspects of business, especially customer experience. The simplest example of this might occur when a customer walks into a retail store looking for an item. They want to be in and out quickly, and there are no employees around. Instead of walking around the store looking for an employee to direct them to the item they need, they pull out their phone and go to the website to see a) if the item is at the store; b) if the item is in stock; c) how much the item costs; and d) what aisle the item is located in.
Rather than having to choose between ordering an item online or going to the store to buy the item yourself, you can do both simultaneously for a better experience. This could also apply to the experience of customer service. In an ideal omnichannel world, a shopper can speak to someone behind the desk while pulling up the item on their phone if, for example, there’s a price discrepancy at that particular location, or if the customer has a question about the return policy.
Omnichannel experiences help improve many aspects of customer experience. Sales, marketing, and customer service teams can all take advantage of what omnichannel brings to the table to drive ROI and increase brand loyalty.
Elements of the omnichannel experience
Now that we’ve defined an omnichannel experience, we can talk about what actually goes into it, and why it differs from a multichannel experience.
Offering an omnichannel experience requires multiple channels for customers to use. These channels are simply different ways for people to interact with your business. They could come in the form of a website, a brick-and-mortar store, an app, or a phone service. There are other ways businesses and customers can interact with each other, but the key to separating a multichannel experience from an omnichannel experience is that customers can use multiple channels simultaneously.
Channels Are used and updated regularly
One major problem with multichannel experiences is that, although they offer customers different ways of interacting with businesses, what often happens is that one channel isn’t as strong as the other and gets ignored. This can affect the efficiency of your ROI. If we go back to our original example of a person walking into a store and relying on the app to improve the experience, but the app doesn’t work, then the omnichannel experience becomes pointless and can even have detrimental effects.
It’s not enough to update and use certain channels regularly. If you’re offering an app that lets users go back and forth between their computer, phone, and even a tablet, the website and app have to work together seamlessly — meaning there’s no loss of information, the channel easy to navigate, and buttons and menus actually work. Multichannel solutions are often not fit for purpose because some channels are better than others. Omnichannel solutions look to take the best from each channel to provide an all-round positive experience.
Combining online and offline channels
This is especially important for retail stores and e-commerce websites who either spend all day face-to-face with customers or never see who they actually are. Let’s say you’re looking for an item and can’t find it on the shelves. You look to the app and see that they have it in stock. You go find an employee to ask if they have any more of the items in the back, and they immediately tell you no because they checked before. Instead of leaving the store defeated, you can show them the app and correct their mistake. Disney provides a prime example of this with its omnichannel guest experience.
If you’re an ecommerce business, and customers have a problem with their order, it’s important to offer omnichannel customer support so they can reach you via email, phone, via a form on your website – or even on social channels like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp. If a customer has a negative experience and they have no one to engage with to rectify their issue, they’re going to think your only concern is taking their money. This kind of experience can drastically hamper your brand’s reputation – and ultimately your bottom line.
What about social media?
Social media plays an important role in the omnichannel experiencesbecause social media itself is an omnichannel experience. Let me explain. If you’re marketing on social media, that usually includes incorporating more than one platform. Think of platforms as channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. If your business uses Instagram primarily, change the settings so posts also go live on Facebook and Twitter. That way, you’re more likely to reach customers earlier. Plus, you’ll expand your reach to audiences that only use one platform over the other. When social media is one of the channels you use in your omnichannel experience, you achieve omnichannel inception. Who doesn’t want that?
Omnichannel experiences are an absolute essential for businesses. In fact, 73 percent of consumers are already using more than one channel for shopping. The key is to bring these channels together into one 360 degree marketing strategy. The best part about the omnichannel experience is that it’s adaptable to multiple departments; customer support, sales, and marketing can all take advantage of the channels they’re already offering customers. Sophisticated, personalized customer experiences are the new standard going forward; if you haven’t taken advantage of this yet, it’s time you start.
Check out our resources page for free cheatsheets on your marketing challenges
In a recent report by the DMA, sponsored by dotmailer, two in five consumers said they receive more than 164 messages from brands per month. That’s a deluge of content arriving in people’s inboxes every week.
The good news is that the majority of consumers still feel favorable towards email as a marketing communications channel, with just 14% disagreeing that email is the best medium for status updates. It’s therefore not a matter of whether recipients want to receive emails from you; rather, it’s finding the content that gets them hooked and hungry for more.
The Stroke Association, the UK’s leading charity changing the world for people affected by stroke, made it their mission to do just that.
Amy Smith, who’s Digital Marketing Officer at the Stroke Association, found that while open rates for the charity’s monthly supporters’ newsletter were achieving solid results, click-through rates were in need of an extra lift. The appetite for the charity’s communications was clearly undeniable; Amy just needed to find a way to pique people’s interest with the content that sat beyond the subject line.
For the Stroke Association, the answer was a quiz. The FAST quiz was designed to educate readers and test their knowledge on how to identify the early warning signs of a stroke. Amy used a bright copy-led graphic to create standout in the email, along with super-persuasive wording urging subscribers to take action.
Stroke Association supporters’ newsletter
The new content initiative blew February’s email engagement rates out of the water. Clicks more than doubled compared to the previous five months, as did the click-to-open rate.
Amy used a tool called Qzzr that enabled her to create the branded seven-question quiz:
“Our FAST project team knew they wanted the campaign to include an interactive element, but they weren’t sure how to deliver it. I was confident that a slick, shareable format would encourage our supporters to engage with this potentially life-saving message. We’ve now included quizzes in the planning for our upcoming marketing campaigns and I’m looking forward to seeing the impact they’ll have on our email engagement rates.”
Your welcome email is the first email that your customers are likely to receive from you. It typically has the highest engagement of any email you are likely to send, and it’s your opportunity to show off what you do and how great you are. It is also a way to thank your customers for buying from you and begin building a relationship with them; yet too many retailers miss this great opportunity. You only get one change to make a first impression.
Office, Sweaty Betty and Hotel Chocolat didn’t send a welcome email at all after signing up. There was no thank you, no offer, and no attempts to capture extra data. This is a lost opportunity for these three companies.
Charles Tyrwhitt, Reebok and Urban Outfitters did send an email after signing up. But their subject lines and content don’t come across like a welcome email and can be easily missed for instance, “15% off your Reebok gear”, “Start Urban Outfitting”, “Hurry, your £10 offer is waiting!” However, their emails are on brand and offer an incentive to take action.
Reebok’s welcome email
If UO replaced its hero image with an animated GIF they would probably see an increase in engagement with their emails.
Urban Outfitters’ email has a nice graphic but a GIF would be more eye-catching
Diesel, Footlocker, Havaianas, Hugo Boss, and Uniqlo also send a timely email shortly after signing up. Yet their emails need a lot of work. They are text-heavy, aren’t on brand and are not particularly engaging. Diesel’s email copy is confusing and tries to get you to create an account.
Lack of branding let Diesel’s email down
All of these brands create a poor initial experience. Footlocker, Fossil and Hugo Boss’s emails are double opt-in emails. This is good for data quality, but it is at the expense of great customer experience. At least Fossil and Hugo Boss’s actual welcome emails are on-brand. But since signing up and confirming my subscription, Footlocker hasn’t sent me a single email.
The welcome email from Hugo Boss
Adidas, Allsaints, Cath Kidston, FootAsylum, Forever21, Jack Wills, Kuoni, Levi’s, Schuh all sent what in my opinion are good welcome emails. They had clear subject lines that welcomed or thanked the user. The copy and design of these emails are on brand and again welcomed the user to the company.
Levi’s welcome email is image-heavy and on brand
Some of the brands like Adidas and Forever 21 included a discount to encourage the customer to engage further, and followed best practice elements to create a positive customer experience.
Adidas offers an incentive in its welcome email
However, the outstanding winner of the welcome emails goes to FootAsylum.
The email has great use of microcopy throughout.
It contains a clear benefit statement of being a subscriber. The benefit statement also set the expectations of what you’re likely to receive.
They use a great Call to Action “Stop Reading. Start Shopping!”
They are also the only company to use their welcome email to collect further data by having a very obvious preference centre within the body of the email.
Finally, the email is clearly on brand.
Foot Asylum wins the welcome email contest
Tips for welcome emails
Make sure you send it immediately after the customer signs up.
Keep the subject line clear and obvious that it’s a welcome email.
Set expectations for what the customer will receive and how frequently.
Provide a benefit statement for signing up.
Use this email as an opportunity to find out more about your customers.
Use preheader text as a follow on from your subject line.
Provide a safe sender message to encourage customers to add your email to their safe senders.