As published on February 18, 2019 in MarTechSeries.
Email is often the key ingredient in cooking up a successful marketing campaign, leading to happier customers who are willing to buy your products or services. But many email marketers wonder how they can use Email Marketing in new ways. This article offers three tips anyone can follow to become a true master chef and serve up a winning recipe for their next marketing campaign.
Not that long ago, email was used as a one-way channel for sending a single, impersonal message to a large audience. It was — and still is — an extremely cost-effective channel, but marketing teams that continue to use it in this way are missing a real opportunity to connect with consumers and engage them in a meaningful way. (Worse, they could get left behind.)
Today, thanks to many innovations related to real-time personalization and other advanced experiences, email is often the secret ingredient in the most successful marketing campaigns. Why is this? When used to its full potential, email connects with consumers on a one-to-one basis. In doing so, it delivers a much better experience, one that is capable of converting prospects, generating higher sales, improving customer retention, or achieving just about any other marketing technology goal.
Focusing on Customer Experience Is the Winning Recipe
As you consider these benefits, think of your own approach. To stay with our culinary metaphor, are you a master chef, taking full advantage of all that today’s advanced email experiences have to offer? Or are you still in the “send-one-message-to-many” phase, essentially throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks?
If you don’t yet consider yourself to be an email master chef, this article will provide three important tips to help you create the best customer experience possible. It will also describe how creating helpful, highly personalized, customer-focused email is now the winning recipe in successful marketing campaigns. Yet there’s something more. We’ll show how improving the customer experience can help you increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, generate impressive new results, and achieve the fastest ROI possible.
Do Today’s Marketers Have the Key Ingredients?
Before we get started, we need to take stock of our kitchen to see if we have the right tools and ingredients to succeed. It turns out that we all do, but we tend to overlook the most important ones. For proof, a joint study recently conducted by Liveclicker and Holistic Email Marketing shows that while many brands are making progress toward the goal of delivering the best customer experience possible, many still have a long way to go.
This research report, “Customer Experience Email Marketing: Getting Ahead of the Consumer,” surveyed 82 different retail and travel brands to see how well they delivered on three pillars of great customer experience: helpful content, personalization, and customer-focused messaging. According to Holistic Email Marketing, these three attributes are essential to improve Customer Experience (CX) Email Marketing, a concept that focuses on the customer’s success—not sending salesy, one-size-fits-all email campaigns.
The Three Pillars for an Improved Customer Experience
What can marketers do to improve in each of these three pillars and create a better customer experience? Let’s take a closer look at each one and highlight specific best practices you can follow to achieve better results:
- Helpful Content: Emails are obviously short messages, so many marketing teams feel the pressure to sell, sell, sell! Yet in doing so, they may miss the opportunity to connect with their recipients and stand apart as a partner invested in the customer’s success. Worse, these marketers may risk alienating consumers and lose them forever.
Many marketing teams today are flipping the script by delivering content that helps recipients succeed with their own objectives. Examples of this include industry research, tips, tricks, and best practices, ROI tools, buying guides, and more. These marketing teams have discovered that email content that helps the customer goes a long way to help them accomplish their goals, too.
- Personalized Content: Many marketers think of personalization as the end product, or the use of data to introduce personally relevant information in an email blast or a triggered email. But true personalization is so much more than just merging the customer’s first name into a subject line or a greeting. Instead, it’s about using preference data in segmentation, behavioral data in email messages, or those contextual elements that can make a message more helpful or customer-centric.
Contextual personalization is a fast-growing technology that takes marketers on the journey from mass broadcast emails to true one-to-one messaging. For example, using moment-of-open technology, real-time personalization tools can show changing weather conditions, deliver in-message polls or videos, update product images or offers, provide in-email shipment tracking, and so many other examples. All of this creates new experiences that delight recipients and help marketers stand apart from the competition.
- Customer-centric Marketing: On one hand, this element should be the easiest to achieve because it seems to rely on copy tone and overall approach. But it’s actually one of the most difficult because it forces marketers to change their habits. Specifically, they need to do a better job demonstrating how their products benefit customers — not just how various features work.
Many marketers default to an approach where they attempt to sell a product based on its features, such as what it does, how it works, or what makes it different. This information may be valuable in a different context, but as an email message, it will fall flat with consumers who want to know how this product can help them overcome a specific problem.
Become an Email Marketing Master Chef
Focusing on the three pillars of Customer Experience Email Marketing will help you begin the process of becoming an Email Marketing Master Chef. Specifically, improving in areas such as helpful content, personalization, and customer-centric messages will keep you from throwing pasta at the wall to see what sticks and help you create new recipes for your next great main course.