1. Many companies have the challenge of marketing to customers who only make one big transaction a year; they’re unsure of what to sell and how to promote but want to make sure that they are in consideration whenever the recipient is in the market again.

    My suggestion is to keep the recipient engaged with information, good customer service and useful tips. Two things to consider here - first send them information through email, mobile, & other traditional channels. Second make sure you keep your social media channels updated with relevant information. Make it a place where your customer is inspired to come check out.

    There are three ways to do this - if you simply tell them about the channel, if you invite them to be a contributor, & if you keep the social media channels engaging.

    Here are a few examples from different industries:

    Your customer has just purchased a vacation trip, start by asking for feedback about their trip, offer lifestyle and food tips from other destinations. Make email communiqués reminiscent of the travel channel – offering a get away with every newsletter. Include information and numbers that they can call about destinations but don't force them to buy, simply remind them that you are there.

    A prominent travel company allows people to set up family pages where all pictures and videos can be put into a library. They extend this by connecting on Facebook as well. Put up pictures of destinations and ask people to guess where the picture was taken. It works!

    Your customer has just redone their home; follow up the purchase with a sincere thank you. Then ask them to send you pictures or feedback of how they like the new style and layout. Keep communicating with them offering design tips and ways to spruce up their home. Share stories of how other people have transformed their homes with similar/ complimentary products. Keep them in their same segment but offer smaller gifts that may be perfect for their friends and family. Again, encourage your customer to share their story on your blog or submit their pictures for a contest - it will bring them back and perhaps others too.

    A customer makes a large financial investment – a bond or CD. Thank them and then keep them abreast of what is happening in the market. Engage them in a dialogue by getting them to share information about their family, their financial aspirations and how you can help them get there. If you keep them engaged they will pay attention to your communiqués including your offers.

    Financial Institutions can leverage social media channels to help educate customers on products and also use these social media channels to answer questions.

    Regardless of the industry or purchase, the key is to keep people engaged with content that they perceive valuable and applicable to their daily lives… regular interaction could be your answer. Write good content for your social media channels & use email to direct people in.
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  2. With the buzz around social media marketing and the need to go into the life of the consumer, marketers are trying their hardest to get included. Getting included means getting the consumer to share your brand - to go viral. There is so much talk about inclusion and about following that marketers are forgetting to look at some fundamental issues.

    If you want to get included on the Facebook page of the consumer, it is very much like asking the consumer to invite you & their friends into their living room. The consumer needs to feel comfortable about including you before they open you up to themselves and more so their friends.

    The same thing applies to Twitter; about getting the consumer to add you to their safe list via email; or even getting them to visit your blog. You need to engage the consumer with something that the consumer has an interest in and not just expect that the consumer will blindly follow you.

    It goes back to a quote by the Chinese philosopher Confucius – ‘Marketer who wants to share something should first be sure he have something to share.’ Okay so Confucius didn’t say that, but to really keep a consumer engaged you need to learn what it takes to keep them interested.

    It is all about engagement, about making connections.

    Here are five simple ideas to help facilitate engagement –
    1.     You have to improve your segmentation
    2.     You have to use active copy
    3.     You have to achieve real personalization, name calling will not cut it
    4.     You have to look hard at your numbers, if something doesn’t work don’t do it
    5.     You have to carry on a conversation

    Good copy, a good product or good service, and great customer service goes a long way in helping too.
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  3. As you prepare your campaigns and plan your communiques with your lists here is a quick recap of why people transact – (it could be why they read what you send, why they bank with you, why they make a purchase).

    Broadly speaking people interact or purchase or transact because –

    1. They need what you are offering,

    2. They find that you offer a great value,

    3. It is something aspirational for them.

    If you walked into a grocery store to pick up milk, eggs, & cereal for breakfast – you are satisfying a need. As you walk through the store you may see beer or soda on sale so you decide not to pass up on the good deal (value). As you are walking out of the store you eye that water fountain – it looks wonderful and sounds so serene & soothing – you think about purchasing it sometime soon – now that is aspirational.

    A checking and saving account is a need, so is a credit card. Opening a six month CD for 1% interest would be something of value today, planning a purchase to redo your kitchen is something aspirational.

    Three basic shirts from your clothing cataloger might be a need. Picking up two more to waive the shipping might be of value. Getting the shirts monogrammed or switching to French cuffs with cufflinks might be aspirational.

    The key here is that the consumer gives us these opportunities to try and connect to them. As marketers we need to watch and plan for these connections. Your digital engagement strategy should take advantage of the need to showcase value, ultimately up-selling you on something aspirational.
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  4. Most organizations put out email campaigns with the standard tag line that asks that you join them on their available social media channels. Yes, there is an obscure button that lists all the social media sites that the business has a presence on. The expectation is that the consumer will find the link, and go join each of the social sites. This rarely drives results.

    A few organizations do a slightly better job in engaging their recipients. Their message lists specific social media sites, has graphics, and requests you to join each one. They may ask you to 'Become our Fan on Facebook' or 'Follow us on Twitter' or 'Read our Blogs.'

    A rare few do an incredible job! They coax people to join the social media sites. They do not give money or gifts. The power of intrigue and a little more effort works very effectively.

    Try saying this -
    1. Join us on Facebook to see the latest pictures from our 'special event.'
    2. Follow us on Twitter, and we will send you the 'information.'
    3. Offer part of the story in the message and encourage people to find the rest of the story on your Blog.

    Think about specific reasons why one should come to your social media sites. List those reasons down, and try to leverage them into your conversations with recipient.

    Many organizations still block their 'workers' from social media sites. Instead you should mentor them on the use of social media and train them to engage the customer or prospect in a cross channel dialogue. You have call centers and stores that are training their employees to direct people to social media sites. They list the question and the answer on the blog - they tweet about it, and even offer solutions on Facebook.

    Social Media is here to stay. You have to learn to grow your database of contacts and plan out how you communicate with those that you connect with. Consumer engagement has to become part of your natural conversation.
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  5. Many organizations have a survey as a key requirement as part of the consumer engagement process. They put together quarterly, or even end of year surveys to get feedback from those they serve.

    Try these tried and tested ideas as they can both help get higher responses (to the survey) and increase the validity of the information that has been collected. Surveys are supposed to provide organizations with information about the needs of their customers and prospects, the hope is that this information can be leveraged into actionable information and make the recipient’s experience more meaningful.

    Many surveys are full of flaws and as a result the responses are less valuable than expected. One of the biggest mistakes made is the military-style opening – the request for name, rank and serial number right out of the gate. I’ve seen many surveys that start off by asking the user to identify themselves, the survey then progresses to a series of multiple choice questions and ends with the text box for opinions.

    Think about the last time you responded to a survey, did your answers skew from the start to the end? Typically, we lose interest and start half-reading the questions and answers. Most respondents start off the survey by giving aspirational answers but as time progresses they tune out and may contradict previous answers or completely abandon your survey. In either case, the end results aren’t helpful and can be a waste of time for all parties.

    A better way to engage the user is to ask them to share their opinion through a text box, keep questions interesting, engaging and try to solicit true views – do this by offering creative response options or by keeping the question types variable. These strategies will help you hold the respondent’s attention and will ultimately yield more truthful responses.

    Collect your demographic information at the end when the respondent is on auto-pilot and more comfortable with providing the information. Finally, try and leverage the responses in future communications – email, social media, and print. Acknowledge that the update or change is a result of survey respondent; you will bank extra points with all recipients.
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  6. In addition to the fundamentals of customer / non-customer or buyer / non-buyer, and leveraging their preference information here are some tips on operational real time segmentation. 

    I would like to share a little insight from a marketing manager of an apparel company and his criteria to target buyers. To their credit, this “tiny” company runs circles around their competition.

    1) Recent – Check the time associated with the last order and when the recipient became a customer. Their strategy is to flag the person quickly for targeting with more personalized emails. 

    2) Frequency – Recipients who buy once are encouraged to quickly buy again; two-time buyers are pushed to three etc. Once the customer is over the five time buyer mark they are put into a special category where the goal becomes creating a dialogue with this customer.

    3) Average Order – They evaluate the total revenue and margin from the customer, the higher the values the higher their customer rating. Higher margin customers get five stars and are treated with a lot of respect and work hard to move the high revenue/ lower margin customers to higher margin products.

    4) Geography – They realize that certain products do not sell in certain climates or year-round so timing and geography become key factors. Geography also plays into their timing, they have seen an up-tick in sales from recipients shopping at work around 11:00AM and 3:00PM, so they release based on time zones to grab the multi-tasking worker.

    5) Payment Method – Customers purchasing by check or PayPal are treated differently than those who pay by credit card (and not all credit cards are created equally.) Just a few items to think about while developing the right mix for you to create interactive conversations with your customers…


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  7. Digital marketing is an effective way to control costs and measure ROI. One of the easiest ways to start making your campaigns stand out is to segment your list. The more effective your segmentation, the more you can focus. With better focus, you can drive better results.

    Segmentation is truly an art; if you’re not careful you could simply be slicing and dicing your list without even realizing it. Don’t get me wrong, random splits play their part, but for effective segmentation you really need to incorporate elements of relevance to the recipient.

    For starters you need to target prospects and customers differently, the same formula should be applied to those who are engaged and those who are not responsive. But to really reach the next level, you have to learn to get personal.

    Campaigns that are segmented well have to meet the needs of the recipient, incorporate their preferences, continuously seek their survey responses, follow their behaviors by watching how the consumer responds, and then make an effort at responding to those needs.

    Ultimately your recipient is no different than any of us – we spend only a few seconds looking at marketing messages (if we open them.) We check our personal email after work, while the TV is on or we take a quick glace while multi-tasking at work. We’re distracted, we’re fickle and we want to know that you are paying attention to us. Think about your inbox; are there messages that truly spoke to you? Was it because it struck a chord of relevance?

    Ask yourself these questions and think about what you would like to see when you’re creating your campaigns and applying effective segmentation to your list.
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