Do you have customer journeys in your CRM program? I have no doubt that the majority of people reading this article would have some kind of automated journey set up for some or all of their customers – welcome and on-boarding, lead nurture, cart abandonment and re-engagement being the usual suspects and there are many more besides. If so, you’ve probably experienced some success with those – perhaps your welcome program has great email open rates and your cart abandonment automations are returning decent conversions? That’s great but do you feel that there’s more you can do to improve performance? If so, you’re right, so let’s have a look at some of the things that clients are doing to put their customer journeys into hyperdrive…
The problem with testing is that you need resources to do it and there’s no guarantee of an increase in conversion when the results are in. I try to encourage testing wherever possible, especially if insights are sparse or not current. Every brand, product or service is different so it’s important to find out quickly what works for you and what doesn’t. There is so much to test though, so where do you start? Email subject lines and pre-header A/B tests are the quickest to implement, even without an enterprise platform but another low-cost/high-return option is to test timings. Often overlooked but highly effective – a recent strategy I put in place tested moving an automation out by 2 weeks, based on what the data was telling me. The result was a dramatic increase in engagement of over 50% – this again can be tweaked further but you get the idea.
Are you hammering email? There’s no doubt it’s a fantastic channel and still growing even today. However, we have so much more in terms of first party communication channels nowadays, it’s worth thinking about how your audience interacts. With high-value products and indeed most products and services, unless you’re ready to buy it (a great segment which you can identify but I’ll talk about another time!), you’ll need some convincing and some repeated exposure before purchasing – you may have heard of the ‘advertising rule of 7’, which is about right, albeit in a very average calculation – this is where people need around 7 exposures to an ad before making a decision. This means that you need to get in front of your audience many times, even if they are existing customers. Now, you can do this via email exclusively but much better in some circumstances to mix it up and incorporate other channels where possible. Social media is effective for exposure and interest as well as re-targeting, SMS is very direct and great for limited offers in the right context but why not get a little more exotic? Have you thought about DM – old school but gets cut through in today’s world and is very successful for many brands. How about mobile push? Or for those with large databases, using a DMP or partnering with secure data-matching partners such as LiveRamp or Infosum – the more data the better, I’ve seen both very high and very low ‘match rates’ but when it works, it gives you access to a much broader suite of comms tools.
Something that retailers do well is integrating their customer service with marketing messaging – to be effective on a large scale, you’ll want to look at investing in a ‘Service Cloud’ solution but the one-to-one experience can give you an advantage. How about a full-on integration across your stores, remote workers and sales personnel, connected by personalised messaging – where B2B took the lead in events and sales, there’s no reason why this approach cannot be adopted using the right tech in the B2C space also.
There’s nothing like standing out and believe me, I’ve seen some creative that is nothing like standing out. In the past, I’ve talked at conferences about the effectiveness of great creative in the CRM world and it’s often overlooked by IT-first practitioners. What I love about creative is that, like strategy it’s one of those sacred last bastions of human ingenuity in this automated world of ours. That’s not to say there aren’t some great tools that use AI for creative and creative testing – Adobe Experience Cloud’s Sensei-powered creative tool is one such example but you don’t necessarily have to invest in these enterprise solutions to dramatically improve your campaigns, you just need some great creative thinking, a design team and a good understanding of your audience and data!
An example of bad creative I saw once was where the design of the emails was done in the UK, for an Australian audience. The Christmas-themed imagery looked awesome, it rendered well and was fully optimised. The only thing is, it was full of snowflakes! Thankfully, this design never saw the light of day and was quickly changed to ‘thongs and sunnies’ but this illustrates the importance of relevant creative and when done right, can make a real difference. So if you have time to think about your current creative – it’s really worth thinking about if it’s right for your audiences – is it personalised? Does it succinctly tell your story? Will it improve your CTRs?
Of course, every journey is bespoke to each brand and you’ll need to ensure you’re making the right choices when thinking about what might work for you – DR CRM is on your side to help you make smart decisions to really put you in the driving seat. I love hearing about challenges and working with businesses to overcome them so why not contact me for a free initial consultation here.