Is your email database in need of some fattening up for Christmas? Like many retailers, you probably bank most of your yearly sales during the peak festive season – and it’s just around the corner.
So now’s the time to whip your database into shape, and start warming up potential customers so they’re poised to shop with you when the Christmas spirit kicks in.
Why a customer database is a potential gold mine
Did you know that when it comes to attracting customers, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined? A recent McKinsey & Company report* shows people who click on these emails are three times as likely to purchase something versus those who click through from social media. Also, they tend to spend more money.
In other words, email campaigns are where it’s at if you want to attract new customers to your business, and keep the conversation going to stay on their radar.
And the two things you need to run effective email marketing campaigns are an accurate, up-to-date database of customer details, and emails that make these people behave the way you want them to (ie eventually buy your stuff).
If you build it, the sales will come
Building a database can be as easy as 1,2,3.
- Collect email addresses in person, in store
Salespeople should ask for an email address at the time of purchase. Many people are reluctant to part with their details, so customers will likely require an incentive to give their details over, for example a membership that offers them exclusive deals and offers.
- Use your website
While users are browsing your site, it’s a perfect opportunity to ask them to register with you, using an incentive to motivate (15% off your first purchase!). Most websites come with built-in forms to use, or you can install plug-ins that can create more flexible and customisable forms. Make the offer pop – but not so much it annoys the user (a pop up that can easily be closed can work well for this).
- Collect details as part of online purchasing
When you have customers who are about to finalise a purchase with your site, offer them the option of registering their email address.
Make it optional though, not mandatory. No one likes to be forced into these things, as that’s a quick way to turn people off the idea of purchasing at all. Offer some benefits to registration (track your order, have your details retained for next time) and give users the option of checking out as a guest if they’d prefer it.
Talk to people about stuff that makes sense
Now you have your database, it’s time to make it work hard for you. This doesn’t mean sending out one email to every subscriber. You’ll probably hit the mark with a few, but a generic email won’t resonate with most.
Target your emails to certain customers and send them relevant information based on where they are at in their relationship with you.
A brilliant way to do this is to send out emails to customers based on a certain interaction (trigger) they’ve had with your website, app, email or other channel.
Why? Because as reported by VentureBeat,** triggered emails drive 624% higher conversion response, a 381% higher click through rate, and a 180% higher post-click conversion rate.
What’s the optimal number of triggers for an effective email marketing campaign? The answer is as many as possible. The more tailored your messaging is, and the more targeted your audience is, the most success you’ll have.
So what are trigger emails, exactly?
Here are some examples of the most common types:
- Welcome: This introduces your customer to your brand, and can outline your offer.
- Introductory: This type of email encourages subscribers to further interact with a website by setting up an account or showing them how to browse items of interest.
- Activation: These emails encourage inactive subscribers to take action – for example, to make their first purchase on the site, potentially through an introductory offer.
- Re-activation: Targeted at subscribers who haven’t responded to emails. They might need further incentive to engage.
- Remarketing: This is a very effective way to close a deal. Email customers who have made it to the final stage of the online shopping process but abandoned their cart.
- Account: These are simply notifications of changes to their account. Not exciting, but keeps you on the radar and can prompt a re-visit to the website.
- Transactional: Information about an existing order (order confirmation, shipping confirmation, tracking information).
- Personal: Emails wishing customers happy birthday, or acknowledging any personal event (ideally with associated offers or ‘gifts’)
- Milestones: Thank customers for their loyalty and acknowledging their anniversary as a member of the website.
- Real time: These are more dynamic updates – could be weather or location triggers that suggest purchases that make sense (don’t get caught in the rain – 20% off all wet weather gear today only!).
A database of customer details can be the Christmas golden goose if it’s used effectively. Start building your database now and emailing your customers information that’s relevant to them.
Look at every customer in your database as a potential VIP, and offer them targeted messaging via triggered emails to move them through the buyer lifecycle. If your messaging is relevant enough, you stand a good chance of getting customers to where you want them – engaged and active as Christmas draws closer!