When I meet with marketing teams, with everyone from executives to digital marketing specialists, they are almost always under some kind of pressure to produce results and improve their marketing metrics. They are working long hours to get things “out the door,” and oftentimes, under a crush of obligations, it is easy to lose sight of the customer.
Marketing tactics such as webinars, shopping data like abandoned carts, and email marketing metrics like open rate and click-throughs are the building blocks of measuring marketing results. Oftentimes, when we review these marketing results, they are far less compelling than we had hoped.
Usually, when I review the details of what marketers are actually communicating to their customers and prospects, I see a relentless focus on products, services, and generally, what marketers want to say and what they want to sell. So, it’s all too common to lose sight of addressing the customer’s needs. This is true across channels, including company websites, emails, and other marketing tactics.
So, if you think this situation applies to you, it’s time to refocus on what matters, stripping down communications to the bare essentials. Essentially, it’s time to be relevant – closely connecting your marketing messages and content to your customers and prospects. Relevancy is the one-word litmus test that you must apply to everything you do. Ask yourself, “Is what I am about to launch relevant, closely connected, and appropriate to each recipient?”
Now, how do you become relevant in everything you do? The answer is easier than it may seem: strip away everything that is unnecessary or doesn’t pertain to the customer or prospect. Take away everything unnecessary on your websites, in your emails, and in any other direct communications. Simply say what is essential to each person.
Some of you might be saying, “I definitely get the concept. But, how can I possibly do that?”
Become a Data-Driven Communicator
The only way to move from batch and blast emails and one-size-fits-all websites is to apply what you learn from your prospects and customers and use the data you’ve collected to personalize your messages. For example, if I have indicated that I rent rather than own my home, don’t send me any emails about homeowner’s insurance. Additionally, don’t provide lengthy information on my website about the products that only a homeowner would purchase. Instead, tell me about the new benefits of the umbrella renter’s policies.
You can achieve this level of sophistication by asking questions/preferences on a Web form, landing page, or pop-over window on your company website. Or, you can implicitly profile me if I navigate to a page about rental insurance. Once that question is answered, store that information in your digital marketing database and use it to construct rules about what is communicated and when. Use that information to only show me rental policy details on your website, for example. Of course, a good website would also include a place where I can update my information when I become a homeowner, but until then, the website is stripped of all the unnecessary details for products and services that don’t apply to me.
Use Behaviors to Drive the Majority of Your Messages
The second way to become more relevant communicators is to dramatically reduce the number of push messages, which are typically the emails you have scheduled on your marketing calendar.
These include promotions, new product announcements, company news, and more. Let’s face it, these messages are usually all about you and your company – what you have to sell, and what you want to communicate. We’re all guilty of it. We send these messages out and hope that the customer opens, hope that the customer finds them interesting, and hope that they take actions like responding to a “contact us” request or putting something in a shopping cart. The ugly truth, however, is these hope-based messages are not very relevant communications for the recipients.
As a consumer and business professional, you know that if you get too many of these one-sided messages, you eventually tune out the brand and maybe never open their emails again. And remember, for every website visitor or email recipient that forever tunes you out, you have to go find another prospect to add to your list.
Your Brand as a Concierge
Try to make the majority of your communications behavior-based, triggered messages. Respond with a helpful email if someone visits a product page but does not take the next desired step, send an abandoned cart reminder, or follow up to ask how the video was that a prospect just viewed and if he/she has any questions. I like to refer to these types of communications as concierge messages.
Concierge messages are only sent when behavioral rules match. They are helpful, relevant, and highly engaging. The more of these rules-based, triggered, relevant messages you can send, the longer your customer will stay engaged with what you have to say.
Apple, for example, continues to do a wonderful job of only delivering products that have highly streamlined designs – something that I’m sure it’s not easy. Everybody seems to want to add another button or another feature. But, because streamlined, minimalist design is at the core of its brand, Apple consistently exercises amazing restraint at every level of the company.
We must take this same approach as marketers. Relevancy must be at the core of communications strategies. It’s time to exercise restraint with every email we send and every content block we put on our websites, asking each time if it is relevant to the customer. Only when you do this will you continue to have customers and prospects that are happily engaged for an extended period of time.
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