Any 21st Century marketer would agree that content is indeed king. But times are still changing, and shaping strategy around content is no longer going to cut it. The customer (or contact) has now taken the throne.
In 2019, if your brand wants to drive higher engagement rates, reach bigger audiences, and gain more leads and conversions – then it’s time to become customer-centric in your marketing strategy.
Email has become the bedrock channel for countless marketing teams across industries. As the value of email marketing becomes more obvious across both B2C and B2B brands, the average user’s inbox is becoming inundated with content-centric campaigns, and as such – promotional ‘batch and blast’ email marketing is no longer garnering the attention it requires.
What is content-centric email marketing?
Content-centric marketing is currently the default (traditional) strategy. It describes a marketing strategy that is built in a linear fashion, starting from the point of content creation. This means that the content is what drives the rest of the strategic flow.
If you haven’t considered customer-centric email marketing, then you’re probably falling back on content-centric email marketing without even knowing it.
Here’s what the process of content-centric email marketing might look like (in a nutshell)
- Goals are decided on for an email campaign (these goals are company specific)
- With the goal in mind, marketers create the content for an email campaign
- With the content and campaign approved, the email is blasted out to all contacts
- The above 3 steps are repeated whenever a marketing goal has to be reached
What is customer-centric email marketing?
Customer-centric email marketing centers every part of the email strategic flow around the customer (or contact). Customer-centric strategy looks less linear, and more circular, as the customer drives content, strategy, and is the center of feedback and reiteration loops. Putting the customer/contact at the center of your email marketing strategy makes your efforts better informed, more agile, and more prone to a successful ROI.
Here’s how you can make the customer (or contact) the center of your email marketing strategy, and how doing so may save your email marketing attempts from irrelevancy, disengagement, and low conversion rates.
Align your goal with theirs
Start off with the customer in mind. Before building your email campaigns, consider the goals of your campaigns, and before committing to your goal – consider how it aligns with the goals of your customers.
The goals of your business and your customers may at times seem completely at odds with each other, but when it comes to email marketing strategy – making sure your campaign’s goals align with your customers’ wants/needs will improve your results.
For example, you might be designing an email campaign to help your company achieve the following goal: gain 3 times as many event registrants as last year’s event.
In order to align such a goal with the needs of your customers, consider why your customer would benefit from a bigger event. More chances to network? A better, bigger venue with more on the schedule than last year?
Aligning your goal with your customer’s wants and needs not only helps to put the customer at the center of your strategy, but it also informs your strategy and content.
No more batch and blast, send each recipient the content they value
Traditionally, with content-centric email marketing, batch and blasts were the most common way to carry out email campaigns.
This means most of the effort and strategizing was spent on content, and no nuanced thought was given to the receiving end of such content. Switching things up so that content adapts to multiple targeted, segmented groups, helps to keep the contact at the center of your email campaigns.
What’s batch and blast, and what’s the alternative?
Batch and blast is when you create a single email campaign and then publish it to your entire database. This is traditionally how email marketing has been carried out, and the reasoning is that the content should be good enough, and your contact base big enough, for you to reach the open and conversion stats you’re looking for.
The alternative is to send custom email campaigns to the right person, at the right time. With a marketing automation platform, doing this is a breeze.
Trigger based emails, for example, enable your marketing team to setup email campaigns ahead of time, and set rules and criteria that must be met for the campaign to publish to specific individuals.
For example, you might want to offer a relevant educational email to a contact who has recently live chatted with your customer service team. The email can outline further information and resources on the topic they asked about in live chat. Your email would be set up with Dynamic Content (to display only the copy relevant to what they live chatted about), and would be set up to ‘trigger’ (send) an hour after they completed a live chat on your website.
Using triggers to automate your email campaigns allows your customers to drive their experience with your brand. By giving them multiple touch point options across different marketing channels, and triggering relevant email content based on their journey, your email marketing strategy will compliment and boost your overall multi-marketing efforts, rather than slow them down.
Integrate your Sales CRM with your email marketing platform to create a seamless journey
In a customer-centric marketing strategy, your contacts should be in the driver’s seat, and that shouldn’t change once they’re warmed up and are ready for your sales team.
By integrating your Sales CRM with your email marketing platform, your sales and marketing team can be transparent with each other with prospect and lead data, making it obvious where leads are in their interactive journey with your brand. This puts your contact at the center of both your marketing and sales workflows, and avoids any human-error-induced overlap with marketing and sales communications.
Having marketing data reflected in your Sales CRM gives your sales team a great advantage; they will know what your contact’s experience has been so far, what they are engaged with, and what they don’t care for. With such knowledge, your sales reps can make the closing of a sale just another part of a seamless contact driven journey.
Depending on what CRM your company uses, and which marketing automation platform, integration may be as easy as flicking a (virtual) switch.
Swift Digital, Australia’s leading marketing automation platform, offers out-of-the-box integration with the globally popular Salesforce CRM. With such a set up, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t integrate the two, and reap the benefits.
We all know that automation is continuously changing the game when it comes to online marketing, and that means we have to also change our strategies in light of the functionality now available to us as marketers.
If your email marketing channel is underperforming, consider making the customer the center of your strategy, and find out why the customer is, indeed, always right.
Want to leverage countless marketing automation tools to make your email strategy customer-centric? Talk with Swift Digital today about how our platform can help. Call us on 02 9929 7001.