Data-driven direct marketing, integrated with the sales process, helps brands continue to build long-term relationships with customers and sales channel partners.
Understanding and guiding this customer journey gives manufacturers and local dealers a unique advantage in their sales and after-market service processes.
While many of the underlying tactics may be accomplished using basic email platforms and content management systems, marketing automation technology platforms enable a more integrated and customer-centric direct marketing approach to fuel the revenue cycle and provide ongoing insight into customer behavior and campaign ROI.
It’s all about using your database strategically to deliver relevant, personalized content to prospects and customers at the right time in their decision-making process.
7 Tips for Engaging Customers with Data-Driven Communications and Personalized Messaging
1. Email Marketing. A recent MarketingSherpa study found that 72% of consumers chose email when asked how they preferred that companies communicate with them.
Understandably so. Email is the perfect channel for transactional communications, customer engagement, contest fulfillment, welcome campaigns, educational content, and customer service information.
Email marketing is a cost-effective tactic that integrates with both digital and traditional marketing as well as transactional communications. But in order to be effective, email must be targeted, personalized, and relevant to the recipient.
Some email campaigns and ongoing communications efforts to consider include:
- Lead nurture campaigns
- “Dedicated” email sends (single topic/call to action, such as a sales offer, dealer event, promotion, contest)
- Triggered emails
- New customer onboarding
- Re-engagement/re-activation campaign
- Customer referral program
- After-market parts/service campaign
- Certified pre-owned equipment promotions/campaigns
- Event marketing and follow-up (tradeshows, grand openings, etc.)
2 – Data Collection. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”~ via @FlintGroup”]A marketing database is an asset that continues to build value over time[/inlinetweet], the larger it gets and the more data it holds.
It’s important that leads and customer activity generated outside the digital marketing funnel also be captured for future campaigns, ongoing sales and service opportunities, and overall campaign performance measurement and analysis.
Offline data from phone calls, events, or in-person interactions should also be captured and incorporated into campaign workflows.
Tradeshow leads can be added to the digital marketing funnel onsite at the booth. Contacts already in the database fitting certain criteria may then be targeted with pre-show emails and booth invitations.
3 – Landing Pages. A landing page is an individual webpage associated with a campaign or call to action where a contact can go to redeem an offer or take the next step in the conversion path.
As a destination page for media tactics and inbound leads, landing pages capture leads and data through a webpage with form. Landing page content is tailored to a target audience and specific offer, and data is collected in the centralized marketing database.
Should the lead receive an email autoresponder with a coupon to be redeemed at their local dealer? Or be added to a nurture campaign? Routed to dealer immediately to schedule an equipment demonstration?
With this insight into the contact’s profile data and campaign activity, you can determine the next step in the customer journey based on 1) specific CTA the responded to, and 2) the data provided on the form.
4 – Personalization. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”~ via @FlintGroup”]Data-driven marketing enables personalized content and high-impact creative[/inlinetweet]. Emails, direct mail, and landing pages should be personalized and localized where possible to provide the most relevant user experience and increase likelihood of conversion. In fact, one study found that personalized calls-to-action (CTAs) increased conversions by 42%.
Information used to personalize content can include data such as geographic location, product/brand interest, and customer history.
Here are some ways to customize email communications to deliver highly targeted content and offers:
- Send-from/reply-to name and email address personalized based on sales representative.
- Creative based on location, equipment interest, etc.
- Dynamic offers/CTAs.
And of course, emails should be written in a friendly, human tone.
5 – Social Integration. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”~ via @FlintGroup”]Email and social media work best when they work together.[/inlinetweet]
Here are some examples of how to integrate social media with email marketing to increase engagement:
- Send an email driving engagement in social channels.
- Use social spaces to promote newsletter and email signups.
- Use in-store traffic and events to gain new email subscribers.
- Retarget ads on social platforms to people who’ve clicked emails or visited website.
- Add social media connect icons to email sign-up confirmation and unsubscribe pages.
- Encourage interaction by sharing fan comments and posts.
- Use contests to increase email subscribers, such as polls, quizzes, photo/video/essay submissions, and include incentives to share.
It’s also a best practice to include icons and links to connect in social spaces (like and/or follow vs. share) in your email template.
6 – A/B Testing is a simple method of testing to help improve conversion rates by testing two versions of a single message against two test groups. A single variable (Condition A, Condition B) is tested to see which performs better in terms of open rate and/or click-through rate.
Typically the initial A/B test is run on a subset of the larger subscriber list, with the top-performing variable used in the “final” send to the remainder of the list.
7 – Content Plan. Email marketing and lead nurturing campaigns are an extension of content already being created for other campaigns and media channels, such as the blog, paid media, social media, landing pages, and tradeshows.
Existing content may be leveraged from your blog, social spaces, dealers, customers, and campaigns and promotions to support ongoing direct marketing and engagement efforts.
To get started, a simple content calendar that covers all marketing channels should be created to help manage scheduling of content across platforms. This will also help provide deeper insight into the impact of “offline” activities such as dealer events, traditional advertising in market, and tradeshows on digital activity such as website visits, landing page views, social engagement, and so on.
In what ways could you engage your customers with personalized messaging? Let’s talk.