As the impact of the wider economy continues to be felt marketers are coming under increasing pressure to expand their distribution lists, the problem is that email addresses are becoming harder and harder to come by.
The question many companies are faced with is, how can you expand your distribution list without alienating our core customer base?
1. Reward your customers’ loyalty
The uncomfortable truth is that the credit crunch is changing consumers’ behaviour and that these changes will probably mean you need to revisit your existing customer segmentation strategy.
For example, if we assume that customers in your top segment would typically spend £500 a year; now assume that the economy forces these customers to cut back and spend only £400 a year.
Those £400 spenders are still your loyal customers – tightening their belts, but definitely still worthy of VIP status. Adjusting your parameters will be critical in order to avoid alienating your core customer base.
2. Go multichannel for ‘acquitention’
Those loyal customers are also your brand advocates, and perhaps the best option for acquiring new customers. With new names getting harder to acquire, we recommend a strategy of ‘acquitention’.
Although not a word that rolls off the tongue, the rationale behind it is solid. By devising a strategy aimed at acquiring the e-mail addresses of long term, loyal customers who purchase through other channels, for example point-of-sale, in-store and loyalty card customers, not only are you likely to boost online sales, you will find that offline purchases by these customers are also likely to increase.
There is plenty of research to support the view that the more channels a customer uses to purchase your product, the higher the lifetime value of that customer. By focusing on acquitention, you could significantly increase your e-mail lists as well as build loyalty and online sales.
3. Hone your e-mail frequency
There will be plenty of temptation (not to mention pressure from management) to ramp up the frequency of your e-mails. Increasing your frequency should not be a problem, so long as you are intelligent about it.
Do so by adding relevant programmes that target a particularly active segment of customers, or an opt-in programme that sets the expectation with customers that these messages will arrive more frequently.
Simply bombarding the inbox may increase your revenue in the short-term, but it could devastate your customer list with unsubscribes – including the loyal customers you have invested so much time and money in acquiring.
4. Automate revenue-generating programmes
Implement automated trigger-based e-mail campaigns, these are campaigns that send out messages based on actions taken by a recipient. Triggered e-mail messages offer a two-fold advantage.
First, because they are automated they enable cost-effective programme management. Second, they ensure contact with customers at the most timely points in the relationship and buying cycle, thus delivering consistently high ROI results. In fact, it is not unusual for a triggered message to deliver upwards of five times higher revenue when compared to a standard broadcast e-mail.
5. Test is always best
Times are tough, and you may be tempted to discard with your testing programmes in order to save budget. The truth is that it is more important than ever to understand which campaigns are performing the best, and why.
Save money instead by focusing your budget on improving the highest performing programmes. Testing against a control will help you identify which programmes are yielding the greatest return on investment, and how you can enhance them.
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