Getting customer feedback is critical not only for your marketing efforts but also for the future of your business. Understanding how your customer base views your brand, products and services not only enables you to increase the level of quality on offer, it also allows you to determine the products and services you need to introduce into the marketplace in order to keep customers happy.
In other words, the humble customer survey may well be the single best tool for collecting marketing data and we provide you with more crucial information on surveys below.
5 Reasons To Use Online Surveys
- Saves Time & Effort: You don’t need to lift a finger once you send out the emails since your customers provide the information.
- Easy Analysis: There is an abundance of software on the market that enables you to quickly and easily create charts and graphs to analyze the data.
- Honest Answers: As they are protected by the cloak of anonymity, customers can provide you with their true feelings about your company and what it offers (be prepared to learn some home truths).
- Company Value: Once you know what customers want, it is possible to confidently make changes to your business that places you ahead of your rivals.
- Marketing Strategy Information: Customer surveys give you all the data you could ever need when it comes to launching a brand new marketing strategy whether it involves content, social media or email marketing.
4 Ways To Improve Customer Surveys
- Responsive Design: Your survey emails must be responsive to all devices because at this moment in time, almost 20% of all surveys are opened on a mobile device; a number certain to increase.
- Choose The Right Template Design: There are countless great template designs available for surveys so pick the one that best suits your brand. It’s a good idea to choose a color/pattern that is close in appearance to your logo for brand consistency.
- Use A Drag & Drop Editor: This makes the entire creation process so much easier. An intuitive drag and drop editor is fun to use and saves a lot of time.
- Personalization: Personalized emails increase conversion rates by at least 10% so make sure you use an online survey that is integrated with your contact list. The feedback you receive can then be stored in your company’s email database. Then it is possible to create segments and personalize each email.
In order to provide customers with relevant email campaigns, you need to discover their needs, desires and concerns and personalize accordingly. There are few better ways to receive this information than through online customer surveys.
It’s a mistake to believe that your email marketing efforts end once you have converted visitors into paying customers. In fact, you should believe it is only the beginning because once you have customers; it is much easier and less expensive to retain them than to bring in new custom. In fact, it can cost 7 times more to bring in new customers than to keep old ones yet companies habitually shift their focus away from customer retention.
What Is Customer Retention?
This process isn’t just about keeping customers; it involves actively trying to keep them happy by ensuring they have a great experience which coerces them into spreading the word about how great your products/services are. When you focus on existing customers then bringing in new consumers almost takes care of itself.
This is where triggered email marketing comes in; it is a way to identity what is troubling these customers (pain points) and make a difference. Behavioral marketing involves the personalization of marketing based on the data you collect relating to the activity of users. Here are a few ways to use this strategy and retain a high percentage of your existing customers.
- Advocacy Program: Send an email to new customers inviting them to join and offer reward points for signing up. Make sure the advocacy program has expiry dates to ensure the recipients of the email take quick action.
- Promo Code: This classic strategy still works! Offer a thank you gift or special coupon code once customers have made a purchase. The gifts on offer depend on your business and what you can afford. If you sell something with an annual plan for example; you could offer 20% off.
- Holiday Gifts: Holiday marketing is extremely popular so offer a gift inside the email to make sure your company stands out from the rest. Corporate giants such as Amazon and Starbucks send e-gift cards to customers so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for everyone else!
- Market Research Survey: As well as gaining important insights into your company through customer input, these emails can be great ways to retain customers. Simply ask customers for their opinions in a short survey (shorter emails of this nature tend to have better response rates) and offer them a spot in a draw for a big prize like a $500 voucher or vacation in the Caribbean. This gets customers excited about your brand and may even cause them to spread the news about your generosity.
The above is just a handful of retention email strategies you can use to keep a loyal fan base and ensure you are forced to spend less on new customer marketing campaigns.
There are thousands of different email types you could be using in your marketing efforts but in reality, only a small percentage are successful. Instead of relying on one type of email or a mishmash of unsuitable emails, stick to the following message types.
- Welcome: An estimated 80% of companies now send welcome emails so don’t get left behind. In this email, you need to not only welcome subscribers, you must also immediately set their expectation levels. Let them know what to expect and add a discount or special gift as a ‘welcome’ present.
- Promotional: Make your offer clear; while customers may not read the entire email, they should at least remember what the special offer is. The best promo emails are very short and also create a sense of urgency; expiry dates work well.
- Newsletter: These messages are designed to build a relationship with your audience and should consist of short and easy to digest paragraphs. Always include your contact information on this email as its purpose is for customers to find you as opposed to making an immediate sale.
- New Inventory: This email tells recipients about new product launches and should be sent as soon as the news becomes available. Use the subject line to make your point and include at least one glossy image of the product/service.
- Product Advice: Provide customers with advice on how to get the best from what you offer. This email is all about great content so make sure it is well edited and has a focus on providing outstanding customer service.
- Reorder: Retaining customers is crucial to any business model so a gentle reminder to reorder your goods is a necessary marketing ploy. Remind customers of the value of what you offer, mention previous purchases and have a clear CTA.
- Educational: This email should contain information about your industry which is helpful to customers. Again, it is all about the content here which should be divided into smaller paragraphs.
- Testimonial: This helps to build brand trust with customers; these emails should contain customer reviews and have a few images of the items you offer. Be sure to offer readers the chance to leave their own feedback.
- Shopping Cart Reminder: As an estimated 76% of shopping carts are abandoned, you should send customers an email reminding them of what they chose. Additionally, tell them that there are only limited quantities to create a sense of urgency.
- Survey: This involves collecting customer information as a means of learning more about your target audience. Offer an incentive to complete the survey, make it easy to access and keep it short.
When you engage in email marketing, it is important to provide a way to easily opt-out in each message but did you know that there are various anti-spam laws in force all over the world? Below, we briefly look at the regulations in place which will hopefully prevent you from breaking the law and receiving a huge fine!
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 says that businesses must identify themselves and cannot use subject lines to deceive recipients. In other words, the content of the email must be reflected in its subject line. Additionally, you have to provide customers with the physical address of your business along with clear directions on how to opt out.
A combination of the 1998 Data Protection Act and 2003 Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive legislation means the UK has one of the world’s strictest approaches to spam as it is illegal to send a direct marketing email unless the recipient has provided you with his/her express consent. This is not the case if a business relationship has already been established. Additionally, the opt-in option needs to be clear and distinct to ensure individuals know precisely what they are opting in for when they sign up.
The 2007 Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act defines unsolicited commercial marketing emails as spam. Senders of emails must include up to date information about their business and all promotional emails must contain options which allow the recipients to opt out or refuse to receive any further communications.
There is no ‘grace’ period when it comes to unsubscribing emails; as soon as the recipient clicks on ‘unsubscribe’, it is illegal to send them further emails at any time. If marketers refuse to allow the Japanese Government to inspect their records or violate the law, they are hit with a 1 million yen (just over $8,000) fine. If a sender’s agents violate the law, the fine increases to 30 million yen (over $240,000).
Canada has some of the most up to date spam legislation in the world as it make changes to the existing Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in 2014. Now, marketers need express or implied consent when sending commercial emails, they must clearly identify their company in each email and they must have an opt-out option in every email sent. Along with the UK, Canada has some of the world’s strictest anti-spam laws.
It is imperative that you continually monitor your database and ensure unsubscribe and opt-out requests are immediately processed. Otherwise, you could be on the wrong end of complaints which will damage your reputation and your bank account.
Despite its importance, typography is an overlooked part of the design process and this causes marketers to make very basic errors. While generic fonts such as Times New Roman will suffice much of the time, this is no excuse to avoid learning more about the subject of typography. Below, I have included 10 essential typography terms you should become acquainted with.
- Aperture: Refers to the area partially or totally enclosed by a symbol or letter form.
- Arm: A letter’s Arm is the horizontal stroke you see on some characters which does not connect to a stem or stroke at one or both ends.
- Counter: This is the open space in a partly or fully closed area within a letter.
- Kerning: This is a term used to describe the adjustment of spacing between the characters in a word.
- Leading: The amount of space between lines of words. ‘Single’ and ‘double’ spacing can also be called Leading and it can make a significant difference to the legibility of a text. For example, 12 point Leading can look messy whereas 30 point Leading makes text easy to read.
- Ligature: When two or more characters that are not usually combined are joined into a single form. The result is an unusual looking character.
- Sans-Serif: Along with Serif, Sans-Serif is the most popularly used classification type and refers to characters that don’t have the Serif finishing strokes on them. The word ‘sans’ is French for ‘without’ which makes the term Sans-Serif almost self-explanatory. Common Sans-Serif fonts include Futura, Verdana and Arial. As it looks good on lower screen resolutions, Sans-Serif is popular for blog posts.
- Serif: This is the other most common classification type and is the small finishing strokes you will find on the tails, stems and arms of characters. Common Serif fonts include Georgia, Richmond and Times New Roman. In a typical novel you’ll find a Serif classification used because the distinctiveness between the letters makes it easy to read long texts.
- Stem: The main stroke of a letter; the stem is usually a vertical stroke.
- X-Height: This is the height reached by lowercase letters based on the height of the lowercase ‘x’. The x-height does not include descenders or ascenders.
Hopefully, the terms above will give you a slightly better understanding of typography though it really only scratches the surface.
Marketing technology is transforming itself as it adapts to the changing demands of the Internet consumer. Email marketing is arguably the most exciting channel of all and below, we take a look at what its future might be as it embraces and benefits from technological innovations.
Email Service Providers (ESPs) To Become Real Time Connected
Most ESPs don’t look beyond the next 12 months but this will have to change as they will become interconnected with various digital media channels such as social media, Web Analytics and real time marketing tools which provide online interactions. As ESPs hold a huge amount of behavioral data, they should be able to do the following:
- Push targeted ads on social networks according to the behavior or status of visitors to websites.
- Interface with web analytics to create a behavioral retargeting trigger in less than 60 seconds.
- Personalize and target web interactions such as pop ups with the data it holds.
Consumer privacy and data protection are now deemed to be extremely important and there will be new ways to protect customers from unwanted email communications. At present, Gmail already makes it easy for users to ignore emails they don’t want to know about and there will be even less clutter in the future.
As a result, email marketers will need to create higher quality emails. They must leverage data through the segmentation of clients by every possible data point. This information will include source of lead, email history and tracking of website clicks. The result will be personalized emails a world away from the inclusion of a first name in messages.
The best way to determine the success of an email campaign is to analyze reports from your ESP. At present, you can use these reports to find out click-through and open rates for example but the real trick in future is deciding what to do with this information. Internet Service Providers are using interaction rates to determine the emails that should get delivered and those that should end up in the spam bin.
In future, you need to use the data provided by improved technology to take action based on what you find. Email campaigns of the future will consist of multiple steps so if recipients don’t interact, you will need to find out why and change things up.
Ultimately, the future of email marketing is very bright but only if you learn how to use the newly available technologies to your advantage.
How often have you delayed something you were going to do? It is far too easy to say ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ but then something else comes up. In the world of email marketing, you should never delay what can be done right now. As such, you should be making a ‘bucket list’ of things you should do in your email marketing campaign while you still have the opportunity. Here are a few of the most common thing successful email marketers will put on their bucket lists.
- Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails: An estimated 68% of shopping carts get abandoned online and while you can’t win ‘em all, converting even a few of these ‘lost’ sales into actual revenue could transform your business. There are a number of tactics you can use on one of these campaigns including offering discounts and designing the right templates. Research suggests the best time to send the first cart retrieval email is 1-3 hours after the abandonment.
- Birthday Emails: Most people like to receive a birthday email and they certainly like to treat themselves so use this to your advantage by crafting a clever birthday email campaign. One great campaign used by a company involved sending emails to people promising a treat if the recipient told the sender their birthday. The click-through rate of this particular campaign was over 140% higher than average.
- Use Video: One of the best ways to share your video content is through emails. If you are sending emails to relatively new subscribers, keep the videos below 90 seconds. You can use much longer videos for people further down the sales funnel. Be sure to place that all important Call To Action outlining the next step at the end of the video.
- Know Thy Reports: It is imperative that you know what is happening ‘beyond the click’. You can use the free Google Analytics dashboard to find out how your email marketing campaigns are doing compared to your other marketing channels. This dashboard allows you to determine the articles in your newsletter which were deemed most relevant by subscribers and see how email subscribers are engaged compared to other visitors to your site.
It is important to note that your ‘bucket list’ is not the same as your ‘strategy’. However, your bucket list can serve as a place where you find improvement and passion points. Finally, it feels truly fantastic to make one of these lists and cross an item off it!
While a large percentage of companies have used email marketing over the years, the quality of their campaigns varied markedly. Too many businesses have been happy to utilize a fairly sub-standard generic email strategy but consumers won’t accept this anymore and are only interested in companies that provide information tailored to their specific needs. As a result, improved data and personalization are the way forward and we explain more below.
Marketing in Real Time
Email marketers are starting to understand the importance of triggered campaigns and are analyzing the behavior of customers to ensure they are sent more personalized emails. As mobile Internet use has risen exponentially in recent times, marketers know that their target audience regularly checks their emails while on the move. Therefore, a real time marketing email based on a recent event or news story is probably going to be read since it is still in the consumer’s mind.
Context & Behavior
The rise of Big Data has helped with the evolution of email marketing since marketers now know when and where someone will open a message as well as having an understanding of the type of content recipients are likely to consume. If you know when a recipient will open your email, it can make a world of difference to your click-through rate. You can find out this information by tracking previous opens, segmenting them and applying geographical location data.
With more data in the email channel, you can send more specific emails which of course improves the personalization experience for recipients. The better tailored your emails, the more engagement you can expect.
Email Is Going Up The Funnel
Traditionally, email marketing was deemed to be best suited for use at the bottom of the sales funnel since the focus was on conversion but this will change in the future. Companies should be using emails at the top of the funnel as a branding tool. Once you learn how to optimize email at both ends of the funnel, you will end up with improved results on your campaigns. Since much of email marketing is automated now, you can concentrate on creating great content since the technical aspect almost takes care of itself.
Although mobile digital channels may take some of email’s traction, email marketing is set to remain as the #1 method of successfully reaching your target audience to provide them with information they want to hear.
Although it would be far better if you were already up on these trends at the start of the year, it is not too late to catch up on the following marketing tactics as long as you start right now!
1 – Mobile Marketing
If you don’t already understand the impact of mobile on marketing, perhaps you are in the wrong business! By the beginning of 2014, more people were accessing the Internet from mobile devices than desktops and this gap is growing as there are now more than 1 billion Smartphones in use. You need to embrace responsive web design because mobile Internet users expect ease of use when accessing any website.
2 – Marketing Automation
This timesaving measure will soon dominate the marketing realm. It already helps increase existing conversion rates by 50% so start looking for ways to integrate your existing marketing tools. Marketing automation systems are looking to combine CRM, content management and email marketing into holistic tools which work to deliver the right content to consumers at the right time.
3 – Paid Placements
Get ready to open your wallet because paid placements will be needed to convince difficult to reach business consumers that your brand is the one they should spend their cash on. There are sponsored content placements available on the major social networks now and they outperform brands looking to continue taking advantage of free reach. You will need to tighten up your content to make it more educational and more to the point. This means more explainer videos and infographics.
4 – Microtargeting
This means getting to grips with personalization which will allow you to find the perfect subniche to market to. Microtargeting is all about finding small yet profitable segments of your target audience and the goal is to earn a very high conversion rate. To get involved in microtargeting, you need to learn more about your audience and really delve into their lifestyles and motivations.
5 – Hire A Professional Writer
With a growing emphasis on brand identity, marketing companies will need to bring in professional writers as brands will become associated with the quality of content they produce. You should have an editorial team which creates style guides and maintains the highest standards. In most cases, you will need to find high quality freelance writers; in this case, make sure he/she receives the necessary internal documentation to create the required content.
If you’re not already following the above marketing trends, start moving now and get back on track in 2015.
As other forms of digital marketing get touted as the ‘next big thing’, the demise of email marketing is said to be imminent. Yet on every occasion so far, the latest fad has been confined to the dustbin of history while email marketing continues to be a way of reaching huge audiences and it provides companies with a staggering ROI.
It has become obvious that email marketing will continue to be important and innovations will shape its future rather than destroy it. Today, we look at developments that could change the way we use email marketing.
The majority of marketers believe email marketing will be fully integrated with other channels by 2019. The value of email will become almost entirely linked to its performance when used with other channels but to say it will become 100% integrated in such a short time frame is a tad ambitious. There are many challenges facing integration which should take longer than 4 years to solve.
Relatively few companies properly use the power of automation; while it has led to an increase in the volume of emails sent, not many businesses go the extra mile and create automated triggers. However, as email marketing will become more integrated with other forms of marketing; automated campaigns will be a certainty because of the time they save. As well as sending out emails based on a recipient’s behavior, marketers will be able to focus on other things.
The ‘spray and pray’ tactics of yesteryear are now known to be outdated as customers become more particular about the type of content they read. Almost 80% of marketers believe all email communication with customers will be personalized within the next 4-5 years. This isn’t as far-fetched as the integration ambition because over 30% of companies already use personalization as a tactic in their email marketing strategies.
There are expected to be 100 million wearables worn by people in 2016. Google is planning to create wearable ready Gmail clients which are to be included in Android devices in the next few years. These wearables will make it easier than ever for people to access the Internet and check their emails on the move. This technology will make it possible for email marketers to reach people during all their waking hours which mean more chances to make a sale!
These are just some of the innovations set to change the way we market using emails. Get on board or risk being left behind.