5 ways you could be using email to secure longer-lasting loyalty from one-time BFCM customers

Once the stomping ground of only the biggest US brands, Black Friday has now become a universal sales period that for many – it is too costly to ignore.

There are brands out there who don’t embrace the annual price-cutting chaos – for example, Apple, Ikea, and the UK’s Walmart cousin, Asda. However, with 30% of annual retail sales occurring between Black Friday and Christmas (almost 40 percent for jewellery retailers), it’s easy to see why so many are still getting stuck in.

Discounting periods are proving costly for retailers the world over with UK-market leader, John Lewis, recently citing having to match twice as many discounting extravaganzas in 2018 as the key reason for a major fall in profits. The rising number of discount days retailers must acknowledge, combined with the lower lifetime value of a customer acquired during a discounting period, is a key reason why merchants must focus on securing longer-lasting loyalty from one-time shoppers acquired during the sales.

Let’s get started with five simple ways that you could be optimizing your email strategy in order to secure longer-term customer loyalty, both during BFCM and once the sales are over:

1. Segmenting your customer base from the get-go

When it comes to email, it’s tempting to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach and send the same messages out to everyone. It’s even more tempting to take this approach following BFCM, when you have a large collection of customers who have only purchased once, but you want to re-engage with as soon as possible.

You might not know everything about these customers just yet, but use the information that you do have to segment your customer base and send the most relevant emails.

Whether you segment by the type of products purchased or by the brand or collection purchased from, make sure that the first message that you send post-BFCM is highly targeted and relevant. Customers who believe that you understand their individual behaviors are more likely to return and engage again.


2. Sending emails triggered by personal events

80% of customers are more likely to shop at brands that offer personalised experiences. At the most basic level, you can achieve this by sending special messages, offers or discounts on a customer’s birthday. At a deeper level, you can send messages that are tailored around their shopping anniversaries.

For example, celebrate with them each time they unlock a reward, qualify for a higher tier on your loyalty program, or reach a specific number of purchases with your store.

Whether you offer them simple discounts in return for their ongoing engagement, or offer them more exclusive perks such as free shipping or early access to sales or new product ranges, customers will appreciate the fact that they have received an email entirely unique to them and their actions or buying behaviors.


3. Re-engaging at-risk customers with incentives to return

Customers acquired during BCFM are proven to have a lower lifetime value than those acquired at other times of year. This means that they are less likely to return and make their next purchase, leaving them ‘at risk’.

In order to prevent at-risk customers from churning, ensure that you’re giving them reasons to come back and shop again. One approach is to credit customers with points within your emails.

Even if those customers do not immediately return to use those points, you have differentiated yourself by giving them something for doing nothing – something not many retailers will do. We recommend crediting enough points so that at-risk customers can instantly unlock a new reward.

You might also consider moving customers up to a higher tier in your loyalty program, allowing them to unlock more generous or exclusive rewards that are worth returning to use. There is no cost to this strategy, and also no doubt that your customers will be pleased they stopped to open that email!

4. Making the benefits implicit

Use emails you are already sending – such as post-purchase emails – to make sure that customers know what they are missing out on if they don’t return and repeat purchase. We don’t necessarily mean other sales or discounts they could be accessing, but instead, the rewards and benefits they could be unlocking with another purchase.

Use your post-purchase emails to show customers how many points they have or could have earned with their BFCM purchase, and remind them what that could translate to in terms of rewards and benefits.

You can also let them know how many points they would need to earn to unlock other, even more valuable rewards, incentivising them to come back to your store and shop again, sooner.


5. Reiterating your brand values

For many customers, purchasing decisions around BFCM are based solely on price, rather than shared values or beliefs. That’s why we encourage merchants to take the time to share their brand values once the shopping period is out of the way and customers are thinking more clearly.

Loyalty programs are all about community and relationships, and shared values are a key incentive for customers to join and engage more with your brand. Build messaging into your welcome and post-purchase emails, so that customers immediately see how your brand resonates with their own personal values. This is a key step to building longer-term relationships that will drive customer retention and increase lifetime value.

This year, all we want for Christmas is to see merchants making the most of every opportunity to turn Black Friday Cyber Monday into a resounding retention success story, rather than just a spike in acquisition. Have a chat with one of our team to find out more, or head to the LoyaltyLion Academy to learn more about improving the effectiveness of  loyalty emails.

 

About LoyaltyLion

LoyaltyLion is a data-driven loyalty and engagement software for fast-growth ecommerce merchants. Thousands of retailers worldwide use LoyaltyLion to add their own fully customizable loyalty programs and increase customer engagement, retention and spend.  Stores using LoyaltyLion typically generate at least $15 for every $1 they spend on the platform.

 

 

The post 5 ways you could be using email to secure longer-lasting loyalty from one-time BFCM customers appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Three key takeaways from Retail Recharged 2018

The annual event is hosted by Rich Insight, who provides a platform agnostic, fully managed service for online marketplaces.

Writing this blog post was a hard task for two reasons; the first, because there were way more than just three key takeaways from the experts that spoke at the event. The second, because I have never been a keen writer nor able to compete with the blog giants who so effortlessly articulate their wit (I am much funnier in person – I promise). Hopefully I’ve been able to provide three key factors surrounding the retail world, as well as valuable insights that were delivered by the expert speakers.

I want to start by thanking the whole team that contributed to Retail Recharged 2018. The event was full of great panels, innovative pitches and of course rich insight (no pun intended!). What a fantastic opportunity for brands, both starting out and already established, to gain expertise and share best practice.

I highly recommend attending if you haven’t before.

So here goes…

1. Leveraging AI in retail

The digital marketing world if full of buzzwords and they’re constantly changing year on year. AI is arguably one that has divided the opinions of marketeers more than any other. The term AI stands for Artificial Intelligence (sometimes called machine intelligence/learning) which is essentially intelligence demonstrated by machines. The English Oxford Living Dictionary defines AI as: “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making”, etc.

With the application of AI more prominent in digital marketing, and its ambiguity being lessened, it’s apparent that marketers are becoming more confident in utilizing the technology in their own marketing strategies today. A survey conducted by Salesforce indicated that 51% of marketers are actually already implementing AI in some way and a further 27% are planning to incorporate the tech in 2019.

The panel discussing leveraging AI in retail backed up the above stats: many marketers voted that if they weren’t already, they’d be implementing AI strategies in the coming months or years. AI is most definitely on the agenda.

The main message from the expert panel was clear: AI is a tool to enhance the data and processes you currently have available. But it’ll only be used to its fullest when you have the right tech stack. Understanding your data and the technological infrastructure within your organization is key if you’re truly going to leverage the power of AI in your marketing strategies.

One thing that also stood out was the worry that machines would make marketers redundant. This was something that the panel quashed, reiterating that AI empowers marketers to achieve their goals. Machine learning improves resource, efficiency and accuracy, allowing teams to better allocate their time and optimize their strategy.

To summarize, AI isn’t going to solve every business problem or deliver results automatically. Its effect will depend on what you put in. You need to know your tech, know your data, and know your goals.

AI, in whichever form, is the tool that will help bolster your results.

2. Evolving the physical experience

“Have you ever walked into a store and realized you’re the only person in there. You and the store assistant share awkward glances – will they or won’t they approach me? Oh god, the awkwardness. Only then do you promptly make an abrupt U-turn and leave the store immediately!” This was the question posed to the audience; almost everyone raised their hands and collectively let out a little chuckle.

So, how do we make our store experiences less intimidating, less awkward and more comfortable and personal – so that our customers don’t run in fear?

James Rutter from COOK talked a lot about creating a comfortable and friendly environment in store. The theme of community within their 90 store locations is something that, although a tough and somewhat daunting task, he believed to be one that kept the customers coming back and leaving happy. Training staff to be warm, welcoming and approachable was key in delivering the best in-store experience to customers.

Tom Broughton from Cubitts also talked about the importance of employees – specifically, when hiring, to refer to a list of values that candidates must possess in order to become part of the team.

Tom suggested “you can have all the experience in the world but if you don’t have our values you won’t be considered”. It was an interesting way of placing importance on the in-store experience. Beyond the fluffy aesthetics, it comes down to the staff who serve customers directly. That’s what matters.

The consensus of the panel was that opening stores can be a scary task. There’s so much more data readily available from ecommerce stores than physical ones, so consider this option very carefully.

However, if you do look to operate physical stores, investing in your employees can make all the difference.

3. Expanding cross-border

Can a business be global from day one? How hard is it to maintain this mentality? The answer…, as you can imagine, very difficult! Brexit? Culture? Customs? Returns? These are the issues retail marketers have to consider and ultimately overcome when tackling the prospect of globalization. A daunting task, right?!

But for those that get it right, the rewards can be impressive – extending the shelf-life of products and avoiding seasonal fluctuations being among them.

The obvious opportunities are in the US, Canadian, APAC and European markets. And let’s face it, these regions would keep you busy and your pockets full. But, since these are some of the most competitive markets in the world, it might prove more successful to cast your eyes on less competitive markets. Unearthing these opportunities does involve a lot more work, but could prove a quicker win.

How do we navigate this international minefield? How do we make our business a success in other markets? The answer was unanimous…planning and patience.

Plan your strategy to the nth degree. Plan for failure. Don’t scrimp on researching your markets thoroughly. You have interest from a few other countries: does this mean you need to expand right now? Patience is key.

 

In summary

The event put together by the Rich Insight team provided a fantastic mix of insight on retail trends and hot topics, along with some relevant innovative technology pitches to support these. A massive thank you again to all the team for a fantastic event!

 

Retail Recharged might be over for one year, but you can still get tons of marketing inspo at this year’s dotties! RSVP here.

The post Three key takeaways from Retail Recharged 2018 appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Learnings from Bulk Powders: winners of Hitting the Mark 2018 (part 2)

We’ve gone behind the scenes to see how Bulk Powders, winners of this year’s Hitting the Mark, nailed its email marketing and customer experience. Mark Sherwood, Head of Europe at Bulk Powders, kindly agreed to an interview to go through their everyday practices and long-term strategy.

We’ve digested the interview into a two-part blog; the first is focused on the day to day, while the second deep-dives into the brand’s strategy.

The interview: part 2

How important is email in your marketing strategy?

For retention, it’s our number one channel for sure. We’re a pure-play ecommerce company, so in that regard, we’re limited in cost-effective channels. So, email has become and is our most important channel.

Email is very close to my heart, I’m an email marketer. Whilst I’m here, it’ll be an important channel. I feel some people are skeptical about email marketing, saying it’s in decline and there’s a death of email. I can sympathize in some regards – sending the same email day in day out to your entire list is in decline. But, if you can email customers with the relevant and targeted information they want to receive, then for companies like us, it’s the best channel for retaining your customers.

Presumably your martech set-up is pretty integrated. How do you manage all of your relevant data flows?

It’s very simple once you have everything set up. We have tags on the site that monitor consumer behavior; they track users’ product/category views and purchases. This all goes into our CRM platform – i.e. which products they’ve ordered and which discounts they’ve used. Then we have all of their historic purchase rates in once place.

Overlaid onto that, we have category information to see which products fall under which categories. This means we can very quickly create affinities and personas based on the web behavior and purchase activity of users.

It wasn’t the easiest thing to set up in all honesty; it perhaps took us a little longer than expected to be in the position we’re in now. But, on a day-to-day basis, there’s no work for us – it just runs seamlessly.

What would you say is your main marketing challenge?

My main marketing challenge is how to reduce my email volume. We are in a very crowded, very competitive market, and generally the sports nutrition industry is heavily saturated with emails. That’s a problem for the market.

What we’re trying to do is reduce the volume of our daily email sends without jeopardizing our revenue. This is a key goal for us in the next 6 to 12 months, and we’ll achieve it by doing more triggered and targeted emails (like those you highlighted in Hitting the Mark) and taking it to the next level.

There will always be subscribers getting the daily stuff. But more and more people will be taken out of that when they actively participate in the user journey and enter their own unique program. That’s how we’re tackling it. Ultimately, we know consumers get bored of emails if you hit them too hard.

Have you expanded into other channels? If so, do they seamlessly work together across campaigns?

We’ve launched into other channels – email, SMS and social are key from a retention point of view. They all work seamlessly with the same data (CRM). A year ago, we looked at each of those channels in isolation; we sent an email here, an SMS there. And maybe we put an ad on someone’s social timeline. Now it’s all joined up; so, people who open emails less frequently are more likely to receive an SMS than those who open our emails daily. There are points where we want to talk to people on their Facebook timelines, but we might not do that to those who are super-engaged on email. It all depends on what type of message it is. If it’s our replenishment program, we’ll try to hit them on email and their social timeline, as they work well together.

What are your plans for the future?

Good question. We’re a very fast-growing company. We’re a great company to work for, but fast-growing doesn’t come without its challenges. The marketing team needs to grow with the company. The key focus is to incorporate all the strides we made in our CRM into our front end as well. The real issue we have right now is that we have all these personalized, targeted and tailored messages for customers, but then when they land on the site it’s basically a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about how we can get that level of insight and one-to-one personalization on the front end as well. We’re also on the look our for any other channels out there that can help us with our ambitious growth targets.

What value does Hitting the Mark bring to marketers?

For Bulk Powders, it’s really useful. When you’re ingrained in the business day in day out, it’s hard to take a step back and look at the outside world, to see at what others are doing – how their handling their email, their CRM, their customers. So, to have a report that looks at 100 brands in depth – at what they’re doing really well and what they could improve on – is a great reference for benchmarking. We can get some real tips and ideas and we generally use Hitting the Mark as a knowledge-sharing resource.

For us, it adds a great deal of value. Some of the things we’ve done in the last 12 months or so have come from us looking at the report and thinking ‘oh, well that’s an interesting angle. Perhaps we should try that’. We look forward to it coming out every year.

 

Think you’ve got what it takes to emulate Bulk Powders? Last year the brand came 34th. But after adopting some winning tactics, team Bulk trailblazed up to first place in 2018. Congratulations to them again!

Download the report here for the smartest tactics in email and marketing automation. Benchmark yourself against the competition, adopt better practices, and master customer experience.

The post Learnings from Bulk Powders: winners of Hitting the Mark 2018 (part 2) appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 3 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Learnings from Bulk Powders: winners of Hitting the Mark 2018 (part 1)

We’ve gone behind the scenes to see how Bulk Powders, winners of Hitting the Mark 2018, nailed its email marketing and customer experience. Mark Sherwood, Head of Europe at Bulk Powders, kindly agreed to an interview to go through their everyday practices and long-term strategy.

We’ve digested the interview into a two-part blog; the first is focused on the day to day, while the second deep-dives into the brand’s strategy.

The interview: part 1

How do you feel about winning our benchmark report, Hitting the Mark?

It was a surprise to start with, for sure. But we’re really over the moon. There’s a lot of hard work in our small CRM team. In the last 12 to 18 months we’ve put a lot of hard work into evolving from a batch-and-blast email sender to a personalized, triggered, event-based one. Although we do retain the bulk sends as we’re in a very competitive market.

It was a real reward for the team who’s put a lot of hard graft throughout the last 12 months. It’s really pleasing to see the work we’ve put in recognized outside the company. Once you’re ingrained in the company day in day out, you accept it as the norm. So, to have a company such as dotmailer, with its industry-wide reputation, recognize you for being good at what you do is really pleasing.

Moving into personalization happened over the last 18 months. We had a limited ESP, with regards to automation. Slowly over time, we migrated from ‘batch and blast’ to get as much personalization and segmentation in as possible.

How have you embraced personalization in your email campaigns?

Personalization for us is very key. We are a sports nutrition company that has changed a lot over the last few years. At the beginning we were a hardcore bodybuilding company – our demographic was male, 18-25; gym was their life. Our product range has expanded and, while sport nutrition is still at our core, we focus a lot more now on health and wellbeing.

We’ve an array of customer types – they need different messaging, and personalizing is the way forward. Someone who is gym-obsessed requires different communication to someone who comes to us to buy their month’s supply of vitamin tablets. Tailoring emails in this regard is how we do it – it’s all about imagery, messaging and content.

Our emails are fresh with content, recipe ideas, training tactics, nutrition tips and advice. There’s a wealth of information in our blog. We push the right articles to the right people. Simple as that.

What are the ways you use behavioral data to supercharge your sends?

The long-term goal is to have emails that are one-to-one and event-based. Whilst we’re not there yet, we’re moving away from daily emails to more event-triggered ones. We want subscribers to drive the interaction, not us.

There’re all kind of behavioral trigger examples, such as replenishment: because our product is a consumable product, people will buy it and then need to buy some more. We can work out roughly when they’re due to reorder it with an event-based email. These emails perform very well for us.

Then there’s your usual, behavior ones like abandoned cart and browse. We have a tag on our site to monitor web behavior, so we have visibility over which products users are interested in and categories they are looking at. It’s about getting the right content in front of the right person.

Then we can build up a persona based on what people are looking at: i.e. if you’re always looking at vegan products, that’s the content you get, while if you’re looking at weight-loss products, that’s the content you get. That’s the key aim we’re trying to achieve.

We loved your preference center. How important is generating customer insight for your programs?

It’s really important for us. The preference center you’re referring to is the one included in our welcome program. The survey helps us gather more information on new customers coming on board – very integral to the welcome program.

It gives us insight into new customers. While we expand and increase acquisition channels we are increasing customers and different types of customers. But, importantly, we need to make sure we’re acquiring the right customers. That’s where the preference center comes in.

Preference data feeds into an email and CRM database, so we get the content right. But this preference center is just the start of the process – it helps with the initial day-to-day emails but then quickly gets taken over by the consumer’s behavior.

What the consumer tells us and what they go on to do can be very different things. For example, they might tell us that they’re into bulking up and want to put on weight, and then they go and purchase weight loss products. Ultimately what their website behavior is and what they go onto buy gives us a greater indication of what they’re looking for, rather than the information they initially submitted.

So, the preference center helps with the initial outset and our customers’ on-site and purchase behavior gives us a better idea of who they are. Essentially, it’s combining your explicit and implicit data to better understand your customers. You have to start somewhere, and that’s the preference center.

How do you use email to nurture your leads into loyal customers?

For us, it’s all about the welcome program. Having a welcome program that isn’t just email is the way forward. We spent several months testing various different programs – just 3-4 emails, 5-10 emails, ones that last a week, two weeks, a month. Ones that include different channels…and that’s the one that works for us.

When you buy from Bulk Powders and participate in the welcome program, not only do you get an intro email, you’ll also get a welcome message on your social feeds. Our testing shows that when we adopt a multichannel approach, our customers are more likely to engage with us.

It’s all about nurturing rather than a hard sell. Making the customer feel part of ‘team bulk’ – that’s our aim, making them feel part of ‘us’ and being a customer-led brand.

Are there any tactics you use to re-engage lapsed customers?

For us, a lapsed program is slightly different to what you would imagine. This is purely because of the market we’re in – competitive and offer-driven, all of the time. All of the key players in our market constantly send out very aggressive offers.

Sending out another offer – as part of a lapsed program – isn’t going to cut the mustard, because that’s what we’re doing all of the time. It’s more about trying to re-engage with these customers, trying to find out why they stopped buying and if there’s anything we can do to help them.

Generally, our re-engagement approach is soft – we just inquire a little more about them. And perhaps it’s impossible to re-engage that customer because they’ve moved out of the category and they’re no longer interested in sports nutrition. Maybe they’ve moved elsewhere. Even if a customer’s impossible to win back, at least we’ve learned something we can adopt to improve retention in the future.

Were there any longer-term programs that our pseudonym, Harry Thomas, wasn’t enrolled onto?

The short answer is lots. Each of our programs has lots of different paths to go down, so you would have just experienced one journey depending on the actions you took (i.e. whether you opened and clicked). So, even if you were part of the welcome program, the route you took was unique.

If you unsubscribed after 6 months you probably wouldn’t have received our lapsed program, which aims to win back our ‘at risk’ customers – those who we think are at risk of permanently becoming lapsed. We have a further lapsed program for customers whose lapsing is almost certain.

You probably would have missed our replenishment program, too. This would’ve been based on what you purchased. Depending on your date of birth you might have missed out on our birthday program, too.

It would have been possible for you to do down any journey route. Some of our programs include SMS – and this multichannel approach to the journey depends on your very behavior. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

Keep your eyes pealed for part 2 of the interview!

Think you’ve got what it takes to emulate Bulk Powders? Last year the brand came 34th. But after adopting some winning tactics, team Bulk trailblazed up to 1st place in 2018. Congratulations to them again!

Download the report here for the smartest tactics in email and marketing automation. Benchmark yourself against the competition, adopt better practices and you’ll truly master customer experience.

The post Learnings from Bulk Powders: winners of Hitting the Mark 2018 (part 1) appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 3 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Get more from your landing pages

Landing pages are your job

You’ve built a winning campaign, with compelling content and a stellar call to action. The reports show a healthy click-through rate, so you can tick that one off, right? No way, José. As email marketers, we’re a dab hand at perfecting the design, targeting and optimization of our messages; but our job goes beyond the remit of the email to include landing pages.

Lying just outside the bounds of your email campaign, landing pages facilitate crucial conversions, including online sales, mailing list sign-ups, and data input. All of these actions are under your influence and should not be overlooked; it’s time to think beyond the initial call to action.

Today’s consumer is looking for a perfect brand interaction

Lead generation marketing is no elaborate rouse. Your modern-day consumer, a tech wizard in their own right, is perfectly aware that their data is a hot commodity. They are willing and able to leverage their details to achieve the best of the best in customer experience, and they’ve already terminated relationships with brands whose interactions haven’t hit the mark.

This new attitude to data sharing doesn’t have to hurt your business; it’s all about understanding customer expectation. We know that a strong email marketing campaign with intelligent personalization, compelling content, and an attractive CTA encourages consumers to click through to convert.

However, if those clicking through are transported to a generic, impersonal homepage, it’s highly likely that all of the magic created from the email will be lost. Your CTA will become diluted by nonspecific website content, and the chances of your customers completing the action you desire get slashed.

In order to keep the magic alive, a strong sense of cohesion must be created between the campaign and the click-through destination. This is where the landing page comes in.

Provide consistent conversion opportunities

Landing pages offer engagement opportunities that arise seamlessly from an initial brand interaction. A landing page can take many forms, and provide a variety of essential services for your business. Ultimately, it’s the best web tool you have to drive your targeted audience to take an action, whether it’s making a purchase, requesting a demo or sales call, or downloading a piece of content.

Use cases for landing pages

Lead generation

Landing pages are the pillar of lead generation. Capture leads from email, social media, and search traffic at an increased rate by sending relevant customers to a targeted landing page. Once you’ve generated these leads, you can then segment, nurture, or pass them on to your sales team.

Support for your side of the bargain

Your offers are designed to increase engagement and drive sales. By implementing a landing page that trades customer contact information for access to the offer, you’ll bag more buck for your benevolence.

Achieve better customer insight

Whatever stage they’re at in the lifecycle, you can use landing pages to obtain more information about your audience. This can help you better profile contacts, leading to better quality customer communication.

Get the measure of engagement

Landing pages facilitate an understanding of which customers are the most engaged with your brand by tracking the interactions of existing leads. This also means you can collect more information on customers’ preferences and online behavior, which is handy for sales.

Get the measure of your success

Each landing page serves as a data asset for your marketing campaign. Track the reports from these pages to get insight into your marketing performance and strengthen your strategy.

There are a variety of ways in which you can incorporate landing pages into your marketing strategy to give them the edge they needs. The next step is to create an effective page that’s fully optimized for a seamless customer interaction.

What does it takes to make your landing pages a success?

The landing page program:

For 10 steps on how to build a high-converting landing page, download our cheatsheet here.

The post Get more from your landing pages appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 3 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

T.M. Lewin’s seamless journey, from proposal to handover

Earlier this year T.M. Lewin joined the dotmailer family, and we’re delighted to have them! They had an incredibly unique and large scope that involved both Enterprise Onboarding and Abandoned Cart Onboarding services and required extensive involvement from the Professional Services and Customer Success teams. This included myself (Digital Marketing Specialist (DMS) – Onboarding and Managed Services), Custom Technical Solutions, Deliverability, Creative Services and 3rd line Support.

This was such an enjoyable project to work on, especially with the relaxed yet motivated vibe we experienced with the T.M. Lewin team. We all pulled together, knew what needed to be done and when it needed to be done by. Communication internally and externally was clear, and we had set goals to strive towards.

I joined one of the final pitches with Sales, and, from an onboarding perspective, I feel this really helped the client understand how we work. Plus, it provided them with a great experience to meet the long-term team before signing on the dotted line. We covered at top-level how we work, how other teams would be involved and what a project plan would look like with an onboarding of this size.

Overall, our involvement in those pitches – as part of the longer-term team – helped us set clear expectations, develop cross-departmental timelines and ascertain who the points of contact were for certain queries.

Enterprise Onboarding

Essentially, this is a more complex onboarding process across a longer timescale. It involves frequent contact with a designated DMS (weekly catch-ups etc.) as well as more support and guidance from the Key Account Management team. T.M. Lewin came on board as a Key Account client, and they were delighted with how the whole process went.

Abandoned Cart Onboarding

Separate, yet similar to general onboarding; your DMS will work with dotmailer 3rd line and your developer/agency to implement this product. It involves more technical heads and can take longer to implement as every ecommerce platform behaves differently. To find out more about Abandoned Cart onboarding and who and what’s involved, you can take a look at this overview for the marketeer.

Testimonial from Richard Jones, Head of CRM at T.M. Lewin

When we were looking for our new ESP, we needed a flexible platform that allowed us to access the power within our data; simply, quickly and effectively. Our old platform was clunky, rigid and slow. Not ideal when you’ve got big ambitions.

Throughout the pitch and integration, dotmailer – both as a platform and a team – offered us the perfect blend of simple UI, expert technicians and brilliant tacticians to help us map out our world and our future ambitions.

Across every point, from data integration, onboarding and the first steps towards a new, fully automated, scientifically fluid world, they’ve been proactive, warm and brilliant.

The T.M. Lewin team is small, not particularly technical, but still brilliant so we needed a fair amount of hand holding through the onboarding. dotmailer’s expertise, response times and the simplicity of advice they’ve offered, particularly Shan (DMS), Ross (Key Account Management) and Darryl (Head of Custom Technical Solutions) has been integral to getting us up to speed with not a single road bump. Impressive.

In a nutshell…

This onboarding was a great experience for myself and the various teams involved. We had a lot of opportunities to test our knowledge and gained some really useful insight and information from a more technical perspective.

It’s been a joy getting involved in the technical scope and implementation; I have to thank David Gibbon and Boris Maslennikov in particular, whose expertise helped guide what was an unusually structured project.

I thoroughly enjoyed looking at T.M. Lewin’s existing customer journeys, scoping out new ones and seeing how we can use insight data to refine the user experience. Given the chance, I’d definitely onboard these guys again.

Want to know more?

Want to know more about the managed services add-ons, plan credits and onboarding packages available to you?

Reach out to your Account Manager, or feel free to book in a platform demo with one of our Sales Reps.

The post T.M. Lewin’s seamless journey, from proposal to handover appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 6 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Time to Act: Review Responses Just Evolved from "Extra" to "Expected"

Posted by MiriamEllis

I’ve advocated the use of Google’s owner response review feature since it first rolled out in 2010. This vital vehicle defends brand reputation and revenue, offering companies a means of transforming dissatisfied consumers into satisfied ones, supporting retention so that less has to be spent on new customer acquisition. I consider review responses to be a core customer service responsibility. Yet, eight years into the existence of this feature, marketing forums are still filled with entry-level questions like:

  • Should I respond to reviews?
  • Should I respond to positive reviews?
  • How should I respond to negative reviews?

Over the years, I’ve seen different local SEO consultants reply in differing degrees to these common threads, but as of May 11, 2018, both agencies and brands woke to a new day: the day on which Google announced it would be emailing notifications like this to consumers when a business responds to their reviews, prompting them to view the reply.

Surveys indicate that well over 50% of consumers already expect responses within days of reviewing a business. With Google’s rollout, we can assume that this number is about to rise.

Why is this noteworthy news? I’ll explain exactly that in this post, plus demo how Moz Local can be a significant help to owners and marketers in succeeding in this new environment.

When “extra” becomes “expected”

In the past, owner responses may have felt like something extra a business could do to improve management of its reputation. Perhaps a company you’re marketing has been making the effort to respond to negative reviews, at the very least, but you’ve let replying to positive reviews slide. Or maybe you respond to reviews when you can get around to it, with days or weeks transpiring between consumer feedback and brand reaction.

Google’s announcement is important for two key reasons:

1) It signals that Google is turning reviews into a truly interactive feature, in keeping with so much else they’ve rolled out to the Knowledge Panel in recent times. Like booking buttons and Google Questions & Answers, notifications of owner responses are Google’s latest step towards making Knowledge Panels transactional platforms instead of static data entities. Every new feature brings us that much closer to Google positioning itself between providers and patrons for as many transactional moments as possible.

2) It signals a major turning point in consumer expectations. In the past, reviewers have left responses from motives of “having their say,” whether that’s to praise a business, warn fellow consumers, or simply document their experiences.

Now, imagine a patron who writes a negative review of two different restaurants he dined at for Sunday lunch and dinner. On Monday, he opens his email to find a Google notification that Restaurant A has left an owner response sincerely apologizing and reasonably explaining why service was unusually slow that weekend, but that Restaurant B is meeting his complaint about a rude waiter with dead air.

“So, Restaurant A cares about me, and Restaurant B couldn’t care less,” the consumer is left to conclude, creating an emotional memory that could inform whether he’s ever willing to give either business a second chance in the future.

Just one experience of receiving an owner response notification will set the rules of the game from here on out, making all future businesses that fail to respond seem inaccessible, neglectful, and even uncaring. It’s the difference between reviewers narrating their experiences from random motives, and leaving feedback with the expectation of being heard and answered.

I will go so far as to predict that Google’s announcement ups the game for all review platforms, because it will make owner responses to consumer sentiment an expected, rather than extra, effort.

The burden is on brands

Because no intelligent business would believe it can succeed in modern commerce while appearing unreachable or unconcerned, Google’s announcement calls for a priority shift. For brands large and small, it may not be an easy one, but it should look something like this:

  • Negative reviews are now direct cries for help to our business; we will respond with whatever help we can give within X number of hours or days upon receipt
  • Positive reviews are now thank-you notes directly to our company; we will respond with gratitude within X number of hours or days upon receipt

Defining X is going to have to depend on the resources of your organization, but in an environment in which consumers expect your reply, the task of responding must now be moved from the back burner to a hotter spot on the stovetop. Statistics differ in past assessments of consumer expectations of response times:

  • In 2016, GetFiveStars found that 15.6% of consumers expected a reply with 1–3 hours, and 68.3% expected a reply within 1–3 days of leaving a review.
  • In 2017, RevLocal found that 52% of consumers expected responses within 7 days.
  • Overall, 30% of survey respondents told BrightLocal in 2017 that owner responses were a factor they looked at in judging a business.

My own expectation is that all of these numbers will now rise as a result of Google’s new function, meaning that the safest bet will be the fastest possible response. If resources are limited, I recommend prioritizing negative sentiment, aiming for a reply within hours rather than days as the best hope of winning back a customer. “Thank yous” for positive sentiment can likely wait for a couple of days, if absolutely necessary.

It’s inspiring to know that a recent Location3 study found that brands which do a good job of responding to reviews saw an average conversion rate of 13.9%, versus lackluster responders whose conversion rate was 10.4%. Depending on what you sell, those 3.5 points could be financially significant! But it’s not always easy to be optimally responsive.

If your business is small, accelerating response times can feel like a burden because of lack of people resources. If your business is a large, multi-location enterprise, the burden may lie in organizing awareness of hundreds of incoming reviews in a day, as well as keeping track of which reviews have been responded to and which haven’t.

The good news is…

Moz Local can help

The screenshot, above, is taken from the Moz Local dashboard. If you’re a customer, just log into your Moz Local account and go to your review section. From the “sources” section, choose “Google” — you’ll see the option to filter your reviews by “replied” and “not replied.” You’ll instantly be able to see which reviews you haven’t yet responded to. From there, simply use the in-dashboard feature that enables you to respond to your (or your clients’) reviews, without having to head over to your GMB dashboard or log into a variety of different clients’ GMB dashboards. So easy!

I highly recommend that all our awesome customers do this today and be sure you’ve responded to all of your most recent reviews. And, in the future, if you’re working your way through a stack of new, incoming Google reviews, this function should make it a great deal easier to keep organized about which ones you’ve checked off and which ones are still awaiting your response. I sincerely hope this function makes your work more efficient!

Need some help setting the right review response tone?

Please check out Mastering the Owner Response to the Quintet of Google My Business Reviews, which I published in 2016 to advocate responsiveness. It will walk you through these typical types of reviews you’ll be receiving:

  • “I love you!”
  • “I haven’t made up my mind yet.”
  • “There was hair in my taco…”
  • “I’m actually your competitor!”
  • “I’m citing illegal stuff.”

The one update I’d make to the advice in the above piece, given Google’s rollout of the new notification function, would be to increase the number of positive reviews to which you’re responding. In 2016, I suggested that enterprises managing hundreds of locations should aim to express gratitude for at least 10% of favorable reviews. In 2018, I’d say reply with thanks to as many of these as you possibly can. Why? Because reviews are now becoming more transactional than ever, and if a customer says, “I like you,” it’s only polite to say, “Thanks!”. As more customers begin to expect responsiveness, failure to acknowledge praise could feel uncaring.

I would also suggest that responses to negative reviews more strongly feature a plea to the customer to contact the business so that things can be “made right.” GetFiveStars co-founder, Mike Blumenthal, is hoping that Google might one day create a private channel for brands and consumers to resolve complaints, but until that happens, definitely keep in mind that:

  1. The new email alerts will ensure that more customers realize you’ve responded to their negative sentiment.
  2. If, while “making things right” in the public response, you also urge the unhappy customer to let you make things “more right” in person, you will enhance your chances of retaining him.
  3. If you are able to publicly or privately resolve a complaint, the customer may feel inspired to amend his review and raise your star rating; over time, more customers doing this could significantly improve your conversions and, possibly, your local search rankings.
  4. All potential customers who see your active responses to complaints will understand that your policies are consumer-friendly, which should increase the likelihood of them choosing your business for transactions.

Looking ahead

One of the most interesting aspects I’m considering as of the rollout of response notifications is whether it may ultimately impact the tone of reviews themselves. In the past, some reviewers have given way to excesses in their sentiment, writing about companies in the ugliest possible language… language I’ve always wanted to hope they wouldn’t use face-to-face with other human beings at the place of business. I’m wondering now if knowing there’s a very good chance that companies are responding to feedback could lessen the instances of consumers taking wild, often anonymous potshots at brands and create a more real-world, conversational environment.

In other words, instead of: “You overcharged me $3 for a soda and I know it’s because you’re [expletive] scammers, liars, crooks!!! Everyone beware of this company!!!”

We might see: “Hey guys, I just noticed a $3 overcharge on my receipt. I’m not too happy about this.”

The former scenario is honestly embarrassing. Trying to make someone feel better when they’ve just called you a thief feels a bit ridiculous and depressing. But the latter scenario is, at least, situation-appropriate instead of blown out of all proportion, creating an opening for you and your company to respond well and foster loyalty.

I can’t guarantee that reviewers will tone it down a bit if they feel more certain of being heard, but I’m hoping it will go that way in more and more cases.

What do you think? How will Google’s new function impact the businesses you market and the reviewers you serve? Please share your take and your tips with our community!

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Reblogged 7 months ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Top 10 moments from the dotmailer Summit 2018

On a gorgeous April day, over 1,000 international marketers gathered at the Park Plaza in the heart of London to discover even greater digital potential. This year’s event was jam-packed with inspiring talks, breakout sessions and technical workshops designed to help our delegates advance their day-to-day marketing. There was so much going on during the day that you had to be super switched on to catch it all. In case you missed any of the highlights, here are our top 10 moments from the dotmailer Summit 2018:

  1. Powerful and empowering women in business

It’s safe to say that the 2018 Summit played host to some serious titans of the industry, and we were thrilled to see the agenda opened and closed by two powerful and empowering women. Natalie Nahai, author and web psychologist, showed us how she advises Fortune 500 companies like Google, eBay and Unilever how to use online persuasion to win over and retain business. We learned about homophily, cognitive load and how to engage with customers in a more meaningful way.

Our keynote speaker this year was Baroness Karren Brady, one of the most influential, high profile and respected female business leaders in the UK and rated among the 50 most inspirational people in the world. Karren gifted us her own top 10 ingredients for success along with a witty, provocative and inspiring insight into her career journey.

  1. GDPR reassurance

It was easy to predict that GDPR would feature heavily on the agenda this year, but the key takeaways were far from dry, doomy and gloomy. In his primary session, dotmailer’s Strategy & Insight Director, Skip Fidura, showed us to treat GDPR as an opportunity to strengthen our data and build more compelling, trusted relationships with customers through automation. And Rachel Aldighieri, Managing Director at the DMA, got us thinking about how marketers can work effectively and creatively within these new parameters.

  1. 1,142 delegates

After welcoming over 600 marketers last year at dotmailer’s inaugural Summit, we set out to make 2018 a year of international empowerment. Watching over 1,000 digital marketers discover, grow and network throughout the day was one of our highlights. In fact, dotmailer’s CEO, Phil Draper, let it get to his head a little. Here he is pretending to be his favorite artist, Ed Sheeran:

  1. Twitter trending

While the hottest news on 19th April was undoubtedly the 26° heat (welcome to the UK!), it was awesome to see #dotmailersummit take the no.2 spot on Twitter as an equally hot topic. We loved checking in throughout the day to see so many empowered marketers tweet their key learnings from our knowledgeable speakers. Plus, it’s always good to know the lunch went down a treat!

  1. 849 app downloads

The dotmailer Summit 2018 welcomed 30 international speakers to deliver on 27 session topics across three speaking tracks – so we wanted to make sure delegates could get organized. Marketers in attendance were able to follow, schedule and query every session using our free dotmailer Summit app. With ¾ of attendees making use of the app on the day, you can bet it’ll be back for 2019.

  1. Launching an evolved dotmailer

2018 Summit delegates were able to get a first look at the brand-new innovations happening within the dotmailer platform. With 27% of revenue generated by automation over batch-and-blast campaigns, marketers need to be able to flex their mailing muscles. dotmailer users now have access to 30 new free automation programs to help them deliver on rising customer expectations. In order to help our customers hit every contact on the right channel, we’ve incorporated Facebook Messenger into the platform, and our new COMAPI acquisition brings sophisticated SMS capabilities on-board. Add free Facebook Audience and Google Adword Re-targeting to every account, chuck BigQuery into the mix and you’ve got a souped-up omnichannel automation platform with no need to pay for a complementary tech provider. Oh – and we’ve added a native product recommendations tool. Innovating dotmailer, empowering you!

  1. Hitting the Mark 2018

Summit attendees were the first to gain access to insight from dotmailer’s biggest and beefiest benchmarking report, Hitting the Mark. Attendees were able to snap up the latest statistics on segmentation, as well as learn how many brands are still leaving money on the table by failing to send an abandoned cart email. Plus, we revealed this year’s number one marketer. Want to find out for yourself? Download the full report.

  1. Wayne Hemmingway

One of the most inspirational talks from the day came from Red or Dead and Hemingway designs co-founder, Wayne Hemingway, who showed the audience that “Design is about improving the things that matter in life.” The compelling businessman – who’s provided sustainable designs for tube uniforms, student accommodation and entire housing estates – entertained and inspired with his personal anecdotes. To achieve perfection in design, Hemmingway urged marketers: “Spot something that’s wrong and make it right.”

  1. Customer insight

At dotmailer, we know our customers are true superstars, so it was awesome to see Charlotte Hilton from Sika take the stage to show audiences how they’ve harness automation to build trust in B2B marketing. Alongside Charlotte, attendees were able to hear success stories from Tom Wheatley of Shortlist Media and Sarah Elphick of Forest Holidays – to name a few! See the agenda for a full list of dotmailer superstars who lent their expertise on the day.

  1. Our partners in tech

From our superb Gold partners, Magento and Shopify plus, who helped realise the Summit 2018, to the inspiring session on trust and social proof from Neil Bayton at Trustpilot, attendees were able to access expertise from a seriously eclectic mix of tech experts. See the full list of partners for 2018.

 

Don’t believe the hype? Check out some videos from the day.

See you next year!

The post Top 10 moments from the dotmailer Summit 2018 appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 7 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

dotmailer receives ‘Great User Experience’ title for email marketing software – from reputable business software directory

Leading business software directory FinancesOnline believes businesses and organizations can highly benefit from an email automation marketing platform that is both feature-rich and easy to use. FinancesOnline’s experts found this in dotmailer, thus they gave us a positive 8.8 score and bestowed to us their prestigious Great User Experience and Rising Star awards.

 

The Great User Experience and Rising Star recognition for online email marketing software is given to systems that have satisfied clients with well-designed functionalities alongside a user-friendly and intuitive interface. This can be attributed to dotmailer’s unique drag-and-drop template builder that allow users to effortlessly create impressive email templates within a few minutes. It was also one of the reasons why our solution was recommended in the platform’s ‘what is email marketing software’ guide.

 

FinancesOnline believes dotmailer’s throng of functionalities enables users to remain “on top of every single phase of their email marketing campaigns and other related activities.” Aside from easily creating emails, FinancesOnline said our software can help users “fully optimize their email marketing strategies and get the best results” through various services including, but not limited to, campaign management, creative studio and strategic services. With these, users can significantly boost click-through rates and grow their business.

 

Businesses are also safeguarded with dotmailer’s scalability and custom-built integrations. “As your business needs develop and become more demanding and diverse, dotmailer is more than capable of growing with your enterprise,” wrote FinancesOnline’s experts.

The post dotmailer receives ‘Great User Experience’ title for email marketing software – from reputable business software directory appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 7 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The four smartest projects from dotmailer’s Hack Week 2017

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Our biggest hack week ever

Although our Hack Week is now in its fifth year, this was the biggest: 38 hackers, five locations, six days. The aim was to build – in the fastest way possible – something new, something left field, that could benefit marketers (or in some cases, us). Here are the top three (and my personal favourite).


The top three hacks

Third place: Logo subscriber

Our Minsk-based developer Darya Pesina hacked a mobile app that used AR to re-invent how email signups could work. Want to scan a logo to sign up? No problem. Want to see what brands are nearby and sign up to them? Go ahead.

This hack was also joint winner in our CEO Award; I was in the ‘judging room’ and Milan could see how this could legitimately create new ways to incentivize signups, with localized special offers creating new subscribers.


🥈 Second place: Live images

This team set out to see how images in emails could be more dynamic. They ended up with a method of streaming image content continuously, so images could look and behave differently for every recipient.

They showed a countdown timer that was always correct, no matter when the email was opened, along with a stock ticker that always used live information.

But they also showed examples of loading an image of a restaurant that’s nearby, and pictures of the weather local to the recspient.

Hacked by our Head of Development Andy Gretton and Development Manager Sergey Shchegrikovich, this was the second joint winner in the CEO Award.


🥇 First place: AR report viewer

Another AR app, but this time for our users: the hack opened up new possibilities for visualizing campaign statistics.

For example, it used virtual Winstons (lots of them!) to show open and click data; the pack of Winstons would begin forming two groups as a campaign was sent – one that represented openers and one non-openers. Then they would reform to create groups of clickers and non-clickers, and then show device breakdown, and so on.

Worked on by Croydon-based developers Darran Jugdoyal, Joseph Appleyard, Grant Lodge and Robert Turner (with the help of a Google Pixel phone).


My pick for standout hack

Is it a tad narcissistic to pick a hack that prominently featured my head? Probably, but I’m not going to let that stop me.

My pick goes to the team Disappointing Demoer (which was actually just our front-end developer Claire Chambers, based in Liverpool).

The hack saw Claire looking at ways of making email more interactive – and what’s more interactive than a game? The result got the recipient tapping flying heads (in this case, for reasons I don’t fully understand, mine) and avoiding Floyd the dog to increase their score – all without leaving the email. In another example, a quiz was built into the email. Imagine what that could do to your engagement rates.


Interested in being part of Hack Week 2018?

If you fancy a bit of marketing tech hacking in 2018, there may be a place for you in the dotmailer team. We’re looking for all sorts – check out the list and apply instantly online.

The post The four smartest projects from dotmailer’s Hack Week 2017 appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 11 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com