Using customer behavior effectively in every aspect of your email-marketing program can help lift your results from "so-so" to "spectacular."
Behavior triggers highly relevant emails that reflect what your customer actually does, such as opting in, purchasing, browsing your website or downloading a file.
But you must know where to find and collect the data and integrate it into triggered email messages. Before you take the next step, study up on these rules of the road that will help you make the most of your behavioral data:
1. Capture behavioral data everywhere. You know already that you should track what your customers do online, whether it's in email, on your website or in your social networks.
Now, think beyond Web and email, though. Offline and mobile channels can yield data gold via call-center interactions, response to direct mail, check-ins, coupon redemptions or event attendance.
2. Turn your email message into a dynamic content platform. Transform your emails from static promotions to dynamic, relevant messages with product reviews that reflect either past purchases or customer recommendations, social-media posts and other online activity.
Integrating offline data can trigger emails that match content to customer activity, such as following up on store visits, issues handled at the call center, email opt-ins or abandoned carts.
3. Marry data to action with automation. Effective behavior-based messaging requires a marketing automation platform. These technology solutions integrate with third-party CRM, analytics, ecommerce and other systems and add features such as contact scoring. Messages are triggered automatically in a series of “tracks” based on if/then statements.
4. Solve your biggest business problem first. Instead of making incremental changes, decide what your greatest challenge is and how to solve it with behavior and automation.
Don't worry about being perfect right out of the gate. You can always refine your abandoned-cart reminder later.
When you ask the C-suite for the resources you'll need, emphasize the financial gains or business goals this behavior and automation approach will deliver. Show the big picture -- and save the details for the case study you'll write when you succeed.
5. Think in terms of series and programs, not stand-alone messages. You'll generate better results from behavior-based messaging when you expand a one-off email into a series -- or better yet, tracks that respond to additional recipient behaviors.
6. Generate multiple follow-up messages from a single message triggered by demographic data. March brings me a shower of birthday emails and offers. So far, though, nobody has sent me any follow-up emails urging me to act on my offers before they expire.
Add behavior-based tracks that are triggered by recipient action and non-action to your event- and demographic-based messages such as anniversaries and birthdays.
7. Design for the platform or message context. People use their smartphones to scan QR codes. So, if someone scans your code for more product info, be sure the follow-up email you send is also designed for the customer's small screen, not a 21-inch desktop monitor.
Also, consider the message context. A cart-abandonment email should convey a friendly sense of support, not the message that Big Brother is watching everything your shopper does online.
8. Get human. An automated message doesn't have to look and sound as if Robbie the Robot wrote it. Take it to the next level with content and tone that reads like a conversation.
Incorporate employee photos and content. One client uses a photo and identity of an actual call center rep in cart abandonment emails. An airline client puts a message from the chief flight steward of the customer’s actual upcoming flight in pre-trip emails -- along with the steward’s photo.
9. Go home earlier. That's the ultimate payoff. Behavior-based messaging and automation free up time allowing you to focus on strategy development, campaign analysis and optimizing your broadcast messages.
The beauty of automated behavior-based messages is that once you set them up, you never have to push the send button. So while you are on the golf course or lying by the pool, these emails are flying out the door and producing results.
Have I missed any “rules” for behavior-based messaging? Please share in the comments section.
Until next time, take it up a notch!