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Think before you send


Think before you send


Your mum receives an email saying “We noticed you haven’t been opening the emails we have been sending you…” while this may seem fine from a marketer’s perspective, it could scare your mother.

Before this email she may not have been aware that companies such as yours can watch what she does and does not do online. If she does not agree with this kind of surveillance, the email could easily backfire and could potentially fuel toxic discussions in social networks.

Marketers have long used off and online behaviour data to segment their campaign audiences to amplify the effect of their campaigns. You can get conversion rates greater than 30 percent, which is why marketers are increasingly adding site behaviour trigger campaigns to their marketing communication mix. These campaigns can get you great results, but only if you think before you act.

Before you send any email ask yourself how the average individual, such as your mother, who is not in the marketing world, will react. Here are some areas to think about before you click send.

Communication strategy
Before drafting your email, you need to decide whether you will be communicating with a sales driven message or one that is more helpful or service focused. You also need to decide how quickly you will send the email after the behaviour you have observed occurred such as an in-complete shopping cart or incomplete event registration.

Using a promotional message strategy places the emphasis on regaining the lost sale of registration. The idea is to make contact with the person before the behaviour is forgotten. These follow-up reminder messages are typically sent shortly after the incomplete behaviour. This approach generates higher conversion rates but may have privacy implications if they did not opt-in for these communications.

The customer service message approach focuses on the individual’s experience and offers help to complete the transaction. This approach often achieves lower conversion rates but the message avoids any privacy implications, as it is seen as customer support where opting-in isn’t necessary.

Message content
Don’t underestimate the value of planning your message content, and taking the time to align it with your chosen communication strategy.  You should keep the following in mind when drafting your emails:

  • Include pictures
  • State the benefits of the specific products or content the individual considered during their site visit.
  • Make it as easy as possible. Include a link to the transaction.
  • Decide whether to mention the specific behaviour or not. Whichever you choose, select your wording carefully and don’t make reference to something the individual doesn’t expect you to know.
  • Avoid diluting the message by including information and offers for other items.
  • Consider multi-wave reminders. Use more than one follow up message to increase conversion rates without adding significant costs.

Sending offers shortly after an incomplete transaction generates higher conversion rates. They also make it more likely the individual will associate a “sweetened deal” with recent behaviour. You should test the timing and offers to find the optimal ROI. Try message approaches such as; urgency (eg limited supply left), unavailability (eg content will expire) and uncertainty (eg price may go up).  

Permission and legal considerations
Sending messages to individuals requires the right permissions. A site visit and an incomplete transaction does not necessarily equate to an opt-in. Think of these communications as part of your customer service offering. Automated follow-up communications are executed as reminder messages from the customer service team – at least in look and feel. This approach helps you avoid the grey area of permission marketing.

When measuring your site-behaviour trigger campaigns keep in mind that your metrics should be more than open rates and click throughs. Here are some areas to think about:

Because they are triggered, your variable costs may be limited to email send and incentive expenses. You need to determine whether you will include fixed costs or a portion of the variable costs incurred to support follow-up reminder tactics. There is no industry standard, so it is up to you to decide what is right for your organisation.

Chronic incompletes and behaviour conditioning
It is a good idea to mine your data for insights that will help you refine and advance your follow-up reminder strategies and tactics.

Marketers today can capture and use more data to maximise communication relevancy, particularly when using digital channels. There is so much you can do with your data, but remember there is a difference between what you can do and what you should do. Ask yourself “What would my mother think?” before you click the scary send button and you will be rewarded with happier recipients and increased conversion rates for your troubles.

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