Love your customers like every day were Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air, and so is the desire to shop. The National Retail Federation says American consumers will spend a near-record $19.6 billion on Valentine’s Day. So, just like the Romeos trying to find their Juliets (or Romeos, for that matter), you’ve got to win over your customers’ hearts. And how do you do that in?

The answer is personalization.

Personalization starts with data. Even when you match with someone on Tinder or Bumble, you’ve specifically matched with them because of data. Data helps to ensure the compatibility of matches, as it does your offering with customers.  

Once
you’ve connected your data across your business systems, you can start
unlocking your customers’ interests, behaviors, and preferences. Just like on a
first date, you want to absorb all the important information that will enhance
future experiences and make customers favor your brand over the competition.
You don’t want one date with customers, you want a lifelong relationship with
them!

Use your insight to power meaningful engagements, memorable moments that will stick with customers for the long run. After you’ve engaged your customers, it’s time to convert them. You, like Romeo, want commitment. You want to be exclusive. Because no one else – not even your fiercest competitor – can offer what you can, right? 

The work doesn’t stop there. Just like a spouse, a customer who has purchased with you needs to be nurtured and cared for. That’s how you turn one-off purchasers into repeat customers. Treat them (and their loyalty) with the love they deserve.

Let’s take a closer look at the stages involved in building customer love.

1. Connect

First and foremost, you’ve got to link up with your customers. That means gathering all of your important data in one place. If you’re an ecommerce marketer, your focus should be on consolidating contact data, website behavior, order history, and anything else that will empower your messages.

The bottom line is that you want to acquire more customers faster and retain existing ones at scale. Just like the dating scene, if you want to win the person over you’ve got to build up a complete picture of them – interests, preferences, behaviors and all.

2. Insight

Making an effort to get to know your audience doesn’t have to be hard. With the right tech stack, it can be a breeze. Once you’ve harvested your data, use tools to dissect and make sense of it. For instance, let’s say someone’s opened your email, liked the look of the products you’re promoting, and clicked through to browse your website. After several minutes they close the browser without making a purchase. That’s when your data becomes insight: they’ve opened, clicked, and browsed – but they haven’t ordered anything. “Was it something we said?”

So, unlock engagement with the power of context. In this case you should pool high-intent contacts together and trigger a timely email (like an abandoned browse campaign) to reestablish the path to purchase; like dating someone you really like, life can get in the way sometimes. It should never be too late to pick up from where you left off.

3. Empower

Now that you know who your customers are, use the tech at your disposal to organize your audience and customize your content. Data-driven tools empower your marketing team to deliver the right message to the right person, at the right time.

Segmentation is key to making your messages more relevant. According to an eMarketer report, 71% of marketers filter customers by demographic information such as location, age, and gender; while 62% segment on preferences and behavior, like order and web history.

These tactics can translate into meaningful engagement that drives a serious uplift for your business. What’s more, once you’ve identified your high-intent from your low- and your loyal customers from your one-off purchasers, you can use automation to enroll contacts onto the correct programs. This maximizes engagement as the messages they receive – which are crafted for a specific audience – should mean something to them.

4. Engage

Shower your customers with delightful experiences. This is where personalization happens; you’ve got a handle on your data, built up an idea of who your customers are, and you’ve determined who you’re sending what content to. The relevancy of your messages can spark the desired engagement – it might be to prompt a customer to refer a friend or redeem a voucher, leave a product review, or place another online order.

Imagine you’ve just downloaded Match.com and started swiping away to your dear heart’s content. After about 20 minutes of mind-numbing swipes (we’ve all been there), your matches start pouring in – or in my experience, trickling.

There are two options:

  1. Curate an unimaginative message like “Hey, how are you?”, or;
  2. Customize the greeting of each match based on what you can gather from their profile.

If they love travelling, ask them where their favorite destination is. If they’re a dog person, say that you LOVE dogs and, to break the ice, send a GIF of a Rottweiler gulping down yogurt. Creating a hook increases your chances of getting a reply; who knows, that GIF could spark the beginning of something beautiful (or culminate in a boozy and embarrassing first date).

5. Communicate

In 2019 it’s no good sending a blanket email. What if customers prefer SMS? Maybe they only like to communicate via push notifications (did you know that the worldwide opt-in rate is 67.5%?). Brands that dominate their customers’ channel preferences will have a competitive edge. Think about all the communications consumers get in a day; you need to make contact on the right channel, or else your message will never reach its intended recipient. The same goes for finding ‘the one’; what if the person you’re meant to be with is on Tinder, not Chappy, or on Bumble, not PlentyOfFish?

6. Convert

You know when you know, right? After a period of dating – perhaps it’s 7 dates, maybe it’s 10 – there’ll come a point, a specific moment in time, when you have the ‘talk’. “Oh, had the talk yet?”, your friend might ask. “No, but I think it’s coming; we seem to really like each other and I want to be exclusive.” Similarly, once a prospect starts engaging or interacting with your messages, they’ll start building up a level of intent which will potentially end in conversion.

You’ve got to make sure that you’re there, ready and waiting, once they’ve reached this level of commitment – perhaps with a perfectly targeted Google ad? Obviously customers – unlike romantic partners in a relationship (you would hope!) – won’t shop with you exclusively. But that’s not to say they won’t shop with you again and again. That’s where the romanticism of conversion comes in; it’s the beginning of a lifelong relationship between your brand and your customers.

7. Retain

Cultivate your relationships for the most profitable return on investment. Remember, generating a new customer can be up to five times more expensive that retaining an existing one. So, focusing your efforts on customer retention can mean more bang for your buck.

Let’s revert back to the Valentine’s analogy: While going all-out on February 14th is a must, it’s even more important for your partner to go the extra mile the whole year round. Customers, in a similar manner, will become more loyal if you build the love over the long term. Unfortunately, a yearly money-off voucher on their birthday won’t cut it for customers; you’ll have to nurture them continuously with consistent, data-driven messaging.

Do you have a loyalty program? What’s your VIP criteria? Is it based on average order value or the frequency of purchases? Whatever you decide, know this: customers are humans who want attention.

So go on, share the love!

Join us at dotdigital HQ on Wednesday 13th February for an evening of digital speed-dating!

Attendees will have quick-fire meetings with ecommerce experts to discuss all things ecommerce: improving conversion, customer experience, marketing, personalization, and order management.

Sign up for your place here before spaces run out!

The post Love your customers like every day were Valentine’s Day appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Christmas didn’t quite work out? Well maybe Valentine’s Day then.

Valentine’s Day is on the 14th of February. Now this should not come as too much of a surprise – it is the 14th of February every year. Yet, it sneaks up on us each and every year. We get past the fraught Christmas period and think we can relax and then Valentine’s Day seemingly comes out of nowhere. I am not talking about the the blokes that get surprised by Valentine’s Day, but rather, I am talking about the ecommerce companies that seemingly get caught out by it as well.

At the 2017 dotmailer Summit in March, we launched the Hitting the Mark Report (HTM) where we reviewed 100 UK and US ecommerce brands. We thought we would go back and review how those brands handled the 2017 Black Friday period to see if anything had changed and if not, what advice we could give for the upcoming holiday season of Valentine’s Day, Mothering Sunday, Easter, Father’s Day and Graduation Season for our friends in the US.

Sixty percent (60%) of the brands in the full HTM did not have abandoned cart programs in place and surprisingly this number grew to 66% over the Black Friday period (the Monday before through to Cyber Monday). This increase is more likely down to brand concerns about stock and their ecommerce tech rather than a general move away from abandoned cart programs. While there is nothing worse than delivering a bad customer experience, failing to send cart recovery emails is simply leaving money on the table. With 69% of carts being abandoned globally (Baymard Institute 2017), you don’t have to reclaim many of them to make money.

Another surprising thing in our Black Friday Hitting the Mark was that 44% of the brands in the study did not push their Black Friday offers via email. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom when you consider that email is still the most popular channel for consumers when maintaining a relationship with a brand and email consistently delivers the highest ROI; the DMA reports that marketers get a return of over £32 for every pound spent.

On the other hand, these brands may have had the right idea and actually stood out because of their absence. Over the course of that week we received an average of 18 emails per day that teased us with promotional items and potential deals on offer early on and then closed out the week by adding urgency with countdown timers.

To me, this data all points to one thing: marketers falling into the Black Friday trap of focussing on the sale and forgetting that this transaction is part of a long-term relationship. So, what should we be doing in the coming weeks and months to make sure we get these important holiday sales but also maintain and build relationships to get further sales throughout the year?

1. Don’t just sell, add value

You want to promote your products but often this is more achievable not by giving an offer but by using your marketing to enhance your customer service. One of the easiest ways to do this is by providing gift inspiration. Generally, people know they have to get a gift but will have absolutely no idea what to get. What they need is a little inspiration and reassurance. Of course, you can also add value to your customer service by reminding people about the last day to purchase to get things delivered on time, order confirmations and shipping notifications.

I have also recently heard about an email program for people who have procrastinated just a bit too long and missed the all-important date. It was an ecommerce company that would (for an extra fee) send an apology email or even include an apology letter in the package for “their delayed shipping.” They were essentially willing to take the hit for someone who had ordered too late.

2. Recognize that it may not be a special day for everybody

I was recently taking a train to an event and overheard a conversation where a woman was telling her friend about a recent breakup. It was clear that her emotions were still quite raw as she lamented about Valentine’s Day being right around the corner. This got me thinking that a lot of these upcoming holidays may not be relevant for a lot of reasons and our marketing messages may be more than just an annoyance, they could hurt too.

Of course, it would be impossible to know this. It is like bumping into an acquaintance and asking about their parents only to find that one had passed away. You had no way of knowing, but you feel bad anyway.  As part of your preference center let people take a break from your emails. You do not need to know why, and they probably would not say, but they will remember you for providing this little courtesy.

3. Reduce the cadence once they have bought

One of the trends we saw in the full Hitting the Mark report which ran over a period of six months was that even though we had filled in every field on every form, answered all of their questions, thoroughly browsed their websites, and went on to purchase something; many of the brands failed to recognize any of that behavior.

Their emails consisted of a new offer with each new message. Many even went so far as to send us an offer for a product we had already purchased. Most people only need one gift for each of these holidays, once you have bought that Valentine’s Day, Mothering Sunday or Father’s Day gift, how likely are you to need another one? One of the easiest ways to ‘recognize’ a recipient is to know whether they have purchased recently and change your mailing cadence accordingly.

4. Don’t add new customers to your business-as-usual comms right away

Similarly, we have found that many retailers refuse to recognize new customers and treat them differently. Your new customers have found your site, registered, browsed and purchased. How likely are they to need to purchase again right away? That however is too often ignored and new customers are immediately put into the full-on marketing comms program (which as we saw above is usually based around buy, Buy, BUY). Think about easing your new customers into your program by starting with your value-added content, increasing the offer cadence over time.

5. Start working on your abandoned cart program

Let’s face it. If you haven’t started yet, you are unlikely to have your abandoned cart program up and running by Valentine’s Day, so this is a longer-term recommendation. Start working on your abandon cart program as soon as possible. One dotmailer client was able to cover the entire cost of setting up their abandoned cart with the very first recovery email they sent out. In another example, a medium fashion retailer working with dotmailer successfully recovered over £50k per month with its abandoned cart program. The success stories are countless…

Gone are the days of the big Christmas Shopping Season, when just over two months’ trading determined if we had a good year or not. As marketers and retailers, we have been really good at creating the next big gift-giving occasion and these seem to get bigger, better and more frequent every year. The brands that really succeed however do not rely on this constant stream of ‘important’ days. The successful brands build strong, long-lasting customer relationships by using the data they have to deliver relevant emails, which are regarded by subscribers as useful, one-to-one comms rather than generic marketing.

To learn more about seasonal email marketing trends, download our Black Friday Hitting the Mark report below:

The post Christmas didn’t quite work out? Well maybe Valentine’s Day then. appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Co-Citation over Anchor Tags and some Valentine’s Day Love – SEO Lunch

Subscribe – http://slocumstudio.com/subscribe Original Article – http://slocumstudio.com/2013/02/co-citation-anchor-tags-valentines-day-seo/ Matt and Dan hav…

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