1. Fraud cuts into margin for many retailers, it can wreck havoc on your reputation or worse… A few tell tale signs of possible fraud include a new account making a big purchase, multiple sizes ordered and/ or the bill to address not matching the ship to address. On the flip side you could have landed a new customer making a big purchase or sending a gift to someone else.

    I once had the opportunity to listen in on a call to a customer who ordered 17 shirts from an online retailer, they were of different sizes and each had a different monogramming request. The order was flagged as fraud but turns out that the buyer was the concierge for a sports franchise placing an order for the team members. We thanked the customer and followed up with two email invitations offering more options to browse the available selection.

    I also learned that your professional crook usually designates standard shipping and places a call to change to overnight shipping; they also make the request to change the shipping address. This way, the order usually is processed without being flagged and if the rep can be fooled – oh well.

    Conversation is the best litmus test, nine times out of ten it’s not fraud but it gives you the opportunity to make an impression on the customer. Use the opportunity to create a bond, let them know you’re calling to verify, thank them and if appropriate talk a little about the product they are buying.

    Promote the importance of your email program throughout the conversation, your boss and your customer will appreciate the work.


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  2. You measure the value of your programs by setting up different benchmarks that help you gauge success. How valuable your social program is will depend on how much social capital you build up. Just having a large number of followers or just being present on social media isn’t going to cut it.
    Use these seven steps to help plan your strategy and build up social capital so your consumers (or fans) flock to you.

    1 – Think about branding your program with a name – don’t just call it your social media program. Instead give your program a name and then invite your consumers to come join that program.

    2 – Offer your consumers some relevant reasons to sign up for your ‘Named’ social media program. Your reasons should reflect your brand and are ideal if they match what your consumers expect.

    3 – Leverage the reasons to get your consumers to be part of your social sphere of influence. Begin the solicitation process by advertising the reasons across multiple channels.

    4 – Think about the first few messages after sign up. Once your consumer joins your program, think about putting together a welcome stream of messages for that consumer.

    5 – Pay attention to what the consumer is saying and try to learn from the dialogue that is taking place in the social sphere. The easiest way to get input is to ask for it – so offer a link to a survey.

    6 – Respond to consumers by answering their questions. Converse with them and keep the dialogue going, don’t be the only one starting conversations – join other conversations.

    7 – Find your brand champions or brand advocates and endorse them. You can do this in a few ways. First, if someone is leading the dialogue (appropriately), thank them. Second, if this person continues doing good things – list them as a brand ambassador. Third, if they continue to talk about your brand, think about offering them ‘samples’ or ‘service experiences’ to evaluate and write about for the rest of your fan base.

    The goal here is to continue to build up social capital by doing things that are relevant to the consumer and help you build relationships with that consumer. All of this adds up to help you stay engaged, and continue to serve your consumer.


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  3. As email marketers we need to engage our recipients in a dialogue, there are some financial institutions that do a phenomenal job with their email marketing programs but others forget that they are in the business of effective communications – you cannot simply create a program to take over your paper communiqués (even though that is one of the reasons you could start.)

    Introspection about the program is a good way to begin, an important step is to stop and consider why people bank online; those reasons can also be applied to your email program. For instance, people bank online to:

    Access services at Anytime – Consumers are always able to serve themselves quickly, their statements are always available, searchable and easily accessed. No waiting for statements or sorting through papers.

    Avoid waiting in line – When banking online, the customer is always first, they can go from “counter to counter” to get the right answers quickly.

    Easy Bill Pay – It’s easy to pay bills with a few clicks, no writing checks, no addresses, envelopes or stamps. More importantly, transactions are immediate and can be tracked from start to finish. The same principles apply to fund transfers.

    Security – Online banking is actually more secure than regular banking; financial institutions continue to invest in improving authentication to make things even more secure. Exceptions are handled through call centers.

    Save Money – Many institutions offer an incentive to sign-up for electronic statements, plus there is the out of pocket expense avoided by not driving to the bank etc.

    Online banking is very convenient and financial institutions spend a bundle trying to market the virtues of the service. Just remember, that your email program is your conduit to the online banking channel, remind your people – front line and management – about this factor and don't forget to educate your customer about the same.

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  4. The more your team can lead in collecting digital assets the more successful you will be. The key is to get them on your side by showing the benefits of digital engagement, by making things easy for them to capture information, and by giving them something valuable to share with their customers.

    Here are things your frontline can do -

    1) Spend a little more time engaging the customer in relevant dialogue; talk to them about the product they’ve purchased, solicit their input and point out your digital assets – sell them on visiting these portions of your site and sharing information.

    2) As you sell them on these digital assets and associated benefits, be crisp and precise – make sure you have this scripted so there is no confusion by the reps. A consistent branded message across channels goes a long way in keeping things clear.

    3) Take a little extra time to get their email ID, get them to notice your Facebook page, let them follow you on Twitter. Don't just ask for their email first, describe the benefits of your program and only then ask… this increases your chances of collecting the information.

    This intelligent conversation gives your brand credibility, makes your reps look real and helps to engage your customers.

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  5. Once you capture your consumers digital connections, including their email id - you have to make sure that they are now paying attention to your campaigns. We all know that an email capture is not just about getting their ID; it’s about ensuring that your recipient is interested in what you’re sending.

    Start by getting your team to be proficient users of your email program, your goal should be 100% opens and clicks by your own people. If your team is paying attention to your program – they’ll be in a better position to describe the emails to your customers/ prospects.

    Don't forget to have signs in your store/ branch and posted on your other channels listing the benefits of your email program – really crisp messages to 1) entice the user to sign up; and 2) stress to the recipient that you have a program worth their attention.

    Try to keep your solicitation messaging consistent across channels, run internal contests to reward your own people – on email collection and email capture effectiveness. Define email capture effectiveness as a scoring system for a customer to both open and click your campaigns. It is not just about collecting names, it’s about getting people to pay attention.

    Share your ideas with us and look for future posts on effective ideas to get your customers engaged.

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  6. A friend of mine runs marketing for a retail store chain and does a great job collecting customer information; at check out, the store reps ask customers for additional information with the following offers:

    1) If we add you to our database, you’ll be able to look at your purchase history online

    2) You’ll be able to return/ exchange items without a receipt

    3) You’ll get advanced notice of sales and special events – before the public

    Her capture rate is high, both in-store and across channels – web and catalog – with the majority of customers including their email addresses (regardless of channel.)

    Apply her model to your marketing program – tie your customer contact info with purchase history, you’ll be able to segment and target with 1:1 personalized offers. You can also do follow up on returns/ exchanges with targeted messages that can inquire about the reasoning, experience and/ or prescribe an alternate.

    The pre-sale events are always good, this could be in the form of additional days notice or through a special event after (before) store hours and could be the pre-cursor to a first responders club.

    Try extending your data storage so that you can capture additional data fields on your customer base and their purchases. Your site, email and their transaction could be used as a contactless loyalty program system.


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  7. Many marketers 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. 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.

    Your customer has just purchased a large piece of furniture; follow up the purchase with a sincere thank you. Then ask them to send you pictures or feedback of how they like the purchase, how it fits with their existing décor. 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.

    A customer makes a large financial investment – a bond or CD. Like the furniture purchase, 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.

    Whatever your industry, start building up your social content by soliciting feedback from your consumers after they transact with you. Leverage this feedback in all of your messages as other consumers make decisions based on real feedback.

    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.

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  8. Here are five best practices that work for marketers to convert their prospects into buyers, and then repeat buyers - basically fans that start following the brand with a passion.

    1. Making a connection - Target people with their preferences. If they have not provided you with preferences, then give them options via an email, social media, or a direct mail piece. Watch what they prefer, and add that to their preferences. Use this information to create targeted offers for them.

    2. Try to create a memory - Make sure that your copy and image are interesting enough for the recipient to remember what they were looking at. Also, make the call to action stand out. In an ideal situation the recipient will click through to purchase. If not, coax them to review your offer or even perhaps add the offer to their shopping basket which you can store for them.

    3. Provide a trigger - Let people purchase a tangible asset from you. Even if this is a small purchase, it is a foot in the door. Solicit their feedback, their opinion, and seek additional preferences. So even if you don't get the sale or connection, try to get them to engage with you a little more.

    4. Follow up with more - Use the information provided to create a second order. Do this within 45 days and you will be well on your path to moving the one time buyer into a repeat buyer. Leverage this information to thank them and make them another offer within a 30 day period.

    5. Keep score - Look at your results in real time. Test out offers, headlines, & prices. Listen to the buzz on social media channels. Keep an eye on your numbers and use this to come up with dynamic offers.

    Marketers look at Recency, Frequency, Monetary values to make offers for prospects. Recency offers a great opportunity to re-engage fans, customers, or even prospects driving them towards more from your organization.


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