Last month we discussed some tricks to help you get in the mindset of your ideal customer and ways to get the most out of your Facebook Business Page. But what about reaching the customers that aren’t on social media?
Your go-to strategy here: email marketing. Thanks to a variety of great tools, email marketing can be very simple to learn and easy to implement with any other tools you use, like point-of-sale software, and is widely established as a strategy with a great ROI (200% on average).
For our purposes, we’re going to focus on Constant Contact, one of the most widely used and feature-rich email marketing platforms today. We’ll cover their main uses over this and next month’s columns.
Your ability to transform email addresses into sales relies on keeping accurate data about the customer journey behind that contact. A contact is a single customer with a single email address. They’ll subscribe to your newsletter on your website, purchase something from you and sign up for marketing emails or they can be imported from a list you already have.
Keeping your contacts organized and accurate is key to maximizing the potential value of your email marketing efforts. Often, certain account tiers will have a maximum email send per billing cycle, which means you don’t want to waste email sends on messages that aren’t relevant to that customer. Investing time up front to set up an organizational system that works for you will pay off in the long run, allowing you to tailor emails to your contacts and deliver timely, personalized messages.
Lists are created for imported contacts or as a home for new web sign-ups, but rarely will you want to send emails to entire lists. The solution here is to create Segments. Segments can be created based on criteria like contact data (geographic area, gender, age range) and customer activity (leads and returning customers as well as activity on webpages, like viewing a certain product).
Segment definitions often rely on the use of Tags to add additional labels to contacts. Tags can be whatever you want, as long as they make sense for your purposes, and can be applied manually or via automated flows (which we’ll cover in the next section). Some commonly used Tags would include things like “Purchased X” or “Attended Y” or even “Clicked Z.” Think of Tags as markers for adding information about the contact’s behavior, interests and more.
For example: You can set up a Segment called “Current Customers” by telling Constant Contact to pull in any contact who has a Tag like “Purchased X” (and you can include multiple Tags in Segment definitions). Your Segment will automatically update with new contacts any time a relevant Tag is added to a contact record. You can then use that segment to send out messages tailored to customers who have already purchased from you.
Email Campaigns & Automated Flows
Once you have your contacts organized, you can start sending targeted messages either through one-time Campaigns or Automated Flows. Thanks to Constant Contact’s templates, you don’t have to be a designer to create great emails, so don’t be afraid to get started!
Campaigns are typically one-and-done emails, like announcements or monthly newsletters, sales offers and more. Where the real magic happens is with Email Automation Flows. Like the time spent organizing your contacts and creating your system of Tags and Segments, setting up your Automated Flows will immeasurably save you time down the line.
With Automated Flows, you can tell Constant Contact to set off a series of events after a certain trigger. For example, if you have an e-commerce platform or point of sale system integrated into your Constant Contact account, you could create an “after-purchase flow” that would trigger once a purchase has been made. The Flow would include an order confirmation email and then perhaps a shipment notification. You could have it wait a week or two, and then send a follow-up email requesting the customer leave a review on your website. If they do leave a review, you could add another email to the flow that sends an email thanking the customer for their time and offering a coupon as a token of gratitude. The Flow can be told what to do next based upon conditional logic (if the contact left the review, then send this email with the coupon) to ensure every message sent is as relevant as possible. Post-purchase communication like this leaves customers feeling cared for and appreciated. The best part is after the initial Flow set-up was completed, you didn’t have to do a thing.
You can create Automated Flows to add Tags to contacts as well, to ensure that your Segments stay as accurate as possible. For example, during the “after-purchase flow” discussed above, you’d also add a “Purchased X” Tag.
One of the most popular Automated Flow concepts is the “Welcome Series” – a series of emails that welcome new contacts to your audience by introducing your brand and sharing what sets you apart. It’s a simple place to start, and it doesn’t require any extra integrations – just you and your company’s story.
Next month, we’ll cover more Constant Contact features outside of Email sends: Social Scheduling & Listening, Paid Ads and Events. In the meantime, get going on creating email marketing and organizing any lists you have. Don’t forget to send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to help with any specific issue you’re having.