This article was written by Erica Stonehill and Tyler Williams of guest contributor Right On Interactive.
Noah from The Notebook most famously asked it, “What do you want?!” Knowing exactly who your customers are and what they are looking for is the first step to identifying how to meet their needs and eventually create customers for life.
Nurturing customers with the appropriate information looks different from customer to customer because of where they fall in the buyer’s journey. Whether it is an unknown prospect, brand advocate of 20+ years, or someone in-between, every individual is at a different point in the customer lifecycle. That being said, interaction and engagement will be different; content at the “bottom of the funnel,” for instance, covers more advanced topic matters as these prospects have moved beyond the flashy, generalized marketing. The goal of this content needs to reinforce previously positive interactions to provide the final push into a purchasing decision. However, we all know when you ask, “What do you want!?” the answer is not always that simple.
Marketers may not know how to answer the above question (Noah certainly did not), but data never lies. Collecting clean, relevant data allows for integration of the sales and marketing teams at both the strategic and tactical levels. This provides insight into what your consumer is actually interested in and how good of a fit they are for your company. Using this data appropriately results in sending relevant, personalized content when your prospects need it the most – at the bottom of the sales funnel. Personalization is key to the massive transition between engaged prospect and paying customer. As marketers, we must ensure that each prospect feels special throughout the buying cycle, regardless of company size. People love to buy; yet they hate to be sold!
Where they at? (Hey, must be the money!)
As you have probably learned from your GPS once or twice, finding where people are can be tricky. Similarly, evaluating a specific stage within the customer lifecycle relies on accurate, relevant data. This provides insight into how good of a fit a particular lead is for your company as well as the type of content that is appropriate.
The ability to identify how engaged a lead is with your brand combined with how good of a fit they are for your company maximizes sales and marketing efforts. Think about how great it would be if you walked into a room with neon signs pointing to the leads that are the best-fit and most likely to purchase. Neon signs sure would save a lot of time, and so does accurate data!
Armed with individualized data about specifically qualified leads allows for providing customers with the personalized content, information, and resources necessary for lifecycle stage progression.
Are you talkin’ to me?!
According to Lyris, segmenting to deliver more personalized content results in email open rates increasing by 39%, emails being seen as more relevant by 34% of email recipients, and unsubscribe rates being reduced by 28%.
The people have spoken, and they want… well… themselves. What is every person’s favorite word? One can argue that every person’s favorite word in the world is his or her own name! Marketers must use this knowledge to personalize communications in any way possible.
To achieve this level of personalization, grouping must be done based on specific characteristics – otherwise known as segmentation. This allows for better serving of specific groups and optimization of marketing efforts. Likewise, segmenting in emails allows for each individual at any point in the funnel to receive the right email at the right time in the right context.
Segmenting can be done based on a wide variety of data points stemming from ideal customer characteristics. This can include product interest, recent downloads, previous purchases, and/or engagement with the brand. Whether B2B or B2C, every company has a lifecycle that can be segmented in order to nurture at the top of the funnel, or provide more personalized content at the bottom. The ability to segment on key characteristics allows for successful personalization of content, especially in emails.
The content itself can also be optimized through A/B testing within segments. This aids in determining which factors in emails are the most effective within a group to increase the effectiveness of the email. Once emails have been tailored with the optimal content for a segment, you can let them work their magic on their own through marketing automation. This saves time and increases revenue because the content is distributed to a segment that is going to resonate the most in order to encourage lifecycle stage advancement.
What’s in your inbox?
Let’s start with the stats:
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing yields an average 4,300% return on investment for businesses in the U.S.
A study by Experian revealed that personalized emails are 6 times more effective than bulk emails at lifting transaction rates and revenue per email.
The top reasons for U.S. email users to unsubscribe from a business or nonprofit email subscription are content that is not relevant (Chadwick Martin Bailey).
Email marketing clearly has a huge potential when content is personalized and relevant to the individual. However, email personalization requires more than a name-drop here and there. What’s in the email needs to be tailored to the recipient as well.
Think about the last time that you purchased a car. If, during your second visit to the dealership, your salesperson did not remember your name and began discussing vehicles well out of your price range, how would you feel? A good salesperson would have taken the information that he or she learned about you during your first visit to ensure that he or she had a short list of specific vehicles to show you that meet your buying criteria.
At Right On Interactive, we’ve seen profitable growth sustained when marketers view engagement as a journey, not just a campaign. So we’ve designed our software to automate the concept of Customer Lifecycle Marketing, providing visibility into who is the best fit and the most engaged for an organization at each stage of the customer journey. Our cloud-based solution maps the customer’s entire brand experience, from messaging through product usage. Marketers and sales teams can know exactly where a prospect or customer is in their relationship with a brand, and how best to approach them to maximize lifetime value. At Right On Interactive, we believe in attracting and acquiring the best-fit customers for life.