Making a connection with someone has many rewards, which leads to trust, exchanging ideas and creativity, and sometimes a lifelong relationship. We make connections through shared interests or passions, as well as sharing positivity, where you gain alignment or an understanding of someone. These connections can happen in conversations, phone calls, by email, or, in today’s world, a Zoom call.
For marketers, it’s the same with customers. The marketer can earn their trust, have a better understanding, and develop a loyal relationship if they can create a connection with their customers. Research shows that consumers engage with a brand using an average of six touchpoints, so there are many opportunities to make a connection. The question is, where and when?
Email is still a preferred channel
Email remains a very meaningful way to make a connection. Email leads in ROI as compared to other channels, even in today’s environment. Recent Cheetah Digital research shows email engagement is holding steady and is preferred over social, ads, and other channels.
However, making that connection can be a challenge, considering the volume of emails received, along with the reality that consumers might not be in the mood for an email from a brand. Also, consumers have very high expectations; they expect their preferences and privacy to be respected, and want content and offers that meet their unique needs and truly understand who they are. To gain that understanding, the answers lie in data, which could be difficult to uncover if your data is in different systems, stuck in lists, or not up to date.
When data informs email, a connection is more likely
One way to overcome these challenges is to power your email programs with a Customer Data Platform (CDP). A CDP incorporates data from many sources, provides a single and actionable view of the customer, and helps you understand your customers better. The outcome is that you more closely align with customers’ expectations, improve the relevancy of your emails, and make that all-important connection.
Connecting email to your data platform, without the headaches of costly integrations, means you can drive engagement with your customers through data-driven email programs. Instead of relying on lists, or perhaps data in legacy Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) databases, you can define audiences using the most up-to-date customer profile and run queries on large data sets. Then you can apply analytics in real-time, such as content and product recommendations, as well as send at the optimal time, trigger campaigns based on online behavioral data, or other real-time events.
Additionally, with a CDP, you can go beyond static lists, or antiquated relational databases, and not rely on an email address as the unique identifier. This helps you tie together many different attributes, which provides a clearer view of a customer and optimize personalization.
Data-driven email capabilities
Once email is integrated with your data platform, you can launch data-driven email programs, such as:
- Welcome/on-boarding: Use personalized content to make connections in the early stages of a customer journey to drive engagement and energy. Automate the onboarding, or welcome sequences, or triggered communications, as well as using email as a mechanism to activate other channels for a customer can make saying “hello” more personable.
- Triggered emails: trigger or personalize email communications in real-time. Triggers can be executed via any other channel and can be perfectly timed for personalized campaigns, which research shows yield 3x better results than batch emails.
- Re-activation: Trigger campaigns based on lapsed activity to re-connect with customers, who might be an attrition risk.
- Incorporate analytics: Use machine learning (ML) and analytics for product recommendations and send-time optimization, for figuring out who is likely to open an email, as well as launching campaigns based on any customer signal from virtually any program in real-time to engage users at the moments when they are most likely to respond and take action, like being geographically close to a store.
- Cross-channel: Incorporate and automate highly personalized email messages alongside content sent through your other online and offline marketing channels, ensuring email is integrated into your cross-channel strategies.
- Behavioral: Incorporate web data for the personalization of emails, to ensure the email experience is consistent with the web, or in-app experience. Additionally, trigger campaigns based on recent online activity, beyond an abandoned cart use case.
The Cheetah Digital Engagement Data Platform (EDP) has these capabilities and is integrated with Cheetah Messaging and Cheetah Experiences, which uniquely combines delivering customer experiences at any point in the customer lifecycle, email, and other channels, with a robust data platform.
Connect and reconnect with customers through data-driven email
What is essential in any data-driven strategy is keeping up with customer preferences and their willingness to engage, or in some cases, re-engage. Marketers should understand that, in today’s climate, customers are distracted and might not want to engage or be ready to reconnect. A powerful way to understand the customer mindset is to engage with them in interactive experiences. This could be done through surveys, games, polls and quizzes, and interactive email content, all of which can feed a data platform.
This is an opportunity for you to learn about who is engaging, how they are engaging, and other insights they are providing that can fuel future email campaigns and ensure that emails are relevant and make a connection that reaps big rewards.
Cheetah Digital is a Leader in the
Forrester Wave for Email Marketing Service Providers, Q2 2020.
Bruce is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Cheetah Digital. He focuses on the go-to-market strategies for solutions within the Cheetah Digital Customer Engagement Suite, as well as creating and delivering thought leadership at industry events. Before joining Cheetah Digital, Bruce worked at Adobe for over five years as a Group Product Marketing Manager supporting the Adobe Experience Cloud. Bruce lives in Bozeman, MT, with his wife and three children.