1. 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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  2. If you have a direct marketing relationship with your prospects and customers, try to use this these three ideas with them to get them to sign up for your digital marketing campaigns.

    Early Bird
    Offer your customers the ability to get ahead in line by emailing their appointment request to a store or branch representative. This early bird email allows them to bypass the line, simply printing out their appointment card and walking up, a significant advantage of being part of the email program.

    So “oops” doesn’t become “ouch”If you accidentally slip into the red, we’ll give you a chance to slide out of it. This was the title of a nice marketing message giving customers an opportunity to sign up for overdraft services from a financial services institution. Three things stood out here, first the financial institution got you to share your email id, second they got you to pay attention to their email messages, and third, they were able to up-sell you. Once again, this was an interesting way to elevate the importance of the email campaign.

    This promotion underscores the importance of this channel to their financial institution; it also gives them an opportunity to track the people taking advantage of the service and perhaps offer them other services.

    Hold on
    Another good idea is to alter your hold message; if callers are waiting to speak to you (and you absolutely have to speak to them) why not ask them to go a specific website, provide their email id and contact information. Tell them you will do one of three things:
    • Have a rep call them back (so they don’t have to stay on hold);
    • Have their call assigned to the appropriate department (by asking them more about their question/ issue); and
    • Try to answer their question on the internet – give them access to frequently asked questions.
    Notice the self-service option is positioned at the end of the list, by doing this the caller will not feel as if they just entered a second loop. Be sure to audit your loops regularly and send an email back to the customer to make sure that their problem was solved satisfactorily.

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  3. 1) Ends Friday: Save 21% on your $75 purchase – We’re including this one for a few reasons, for starters the percentage off was unusual for the sending company, they usually offer a 15% discount. The cataloger also pushed up the minimum purchase from $50 to $75, also a twist for them.

    2) Gift Ideas for Any Occasion – This subject line is a powerful way to show variety and subtlety communicate your willingness to help. Recipients are coaxed to browse the site rather a specific item/ price point. This subject line would be even greater if it was from a bank or a company selling memberships, because they’re offering gift alternatives.

    3) Lock in Your Summer Savings – I received this email from a cataloger, intrigued I opened to learn that I could lock in my savings coupon for the next 30 days. There was a sense of mystery in this email because I had to go to a landing page to find the percentage savings and the amount of time I had to redeem.

    4) Your Account Aggregation Service – I received this from my bank regarding a service I had subscribed to through my banking profile; I opened the email to read about the changes to the service. The same principles apply to any other sender, if the recipient has elected to receive information on a specialty product/ service then talk to them about it through a special email – this simple approach is very focused and effective.

    5) It’s time to Refill – This was a reminder email and a good use of a recurring campaigns reminding the recipient that they need to order more. It is also a good way to extend the life of a product/ service.

    6) Looking forward to meeting you… – Last week we included the “Don’t Miss Out” subject line and follow up. This is an alternate take, sending a reminder with a personal invitation may earn additional attention. Build excitement by leveraging personalized invitations from the recipient’s individual sales reps – this could be to a seminar or webinar with a promise for a personal follow-up; the odds of grabbing attention increases if this is done in conjunction with the general invitations.

    7) Start Saving With this Exclusive Coupon – This subject line is geared toward the recipient that opens, clicks through to your site and browses around but has yet to make their first purchase. To help push them into the buyer category, send a special coupon for their first purchase, run tests to determine their threshold and get them started.

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  4. 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.

    Yet so 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 then 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/ change is a result of survey respondent, you’ll bank extra points with all recipients.

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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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