How to Make Your Marketing Emails Undeletable with Customer Data
How can you make your marketing emails undeletable? Hint: The answer involves analyzing your customer data—sometimes in realtime—to understand what motivates customers to convert. With consumer expectations continuing to rise, sending hyper-personalized communications based on customer data is one of the best ways to surprise and delight your customers. This requires empowering your team with actionable data and a solid strategy for using that data effectively—otherwise you’ll likely struggle to take full advantage of your significant investment in a modern data warehouse and personalization technology such as customer data platforms (CDPs).
Ultimately, you want your customers to feel like you know and understand them as individuals, not just as batch-and-blast targets of your latest sales campaign. With a CDP, your data is unified and actionable so you can put together highly personalized targeted campaigns, at scale.
As you plan your email marketing strategy, here are some ways data can help you surprise and delight recipients—and keep them from deleting your next email, or worse yet, unsubscribing.
Smart Email Triggers
Behavior: What did the customer do?
Customer behavior data provides numerous ways to personalize your email campaigns. Here are a few:
- Purchase history: What your customers have already spent money on is a great indicator of their interests and what they’ll likely purchase next. This can be as simple as showing more romance books to those who frequently buy books in that genre. But it can be more complex too, such as showing customers of a fast-food restaurant different images in their loyalty app based on the menu items they most recently ordered.
- Loyalty data: If you have brick-and-mortar stores and a loyalty program, connecting that customer data to your messaging program—particularly your mobile app—is a must. For example, customers who just purchased a new set of golf clubs at one of your outlets could receive email promotions for golf balls, gloves, or a range finder. Or maybe even a lesson with your in-house golf professional at their nearest store. And if your customer has your loyalty app and has not turned off location-data tracking, you can sometimes even tell when your most loyal customers are within range of a store. Use this vital customer data and real-time insight to send them a “just-in-time” offer when they’re in the neighborhood.
- Abandoned cart: One of the most frequently used behavior-triggered campaigns for retail marketers is the abandoned-cart email. By using cookies, you can set a timer on your shopping cart page and send a message to customers once that page has been idle for too long. Simple messages, like, “Pick up where you left off” or “Your items are waiting for you” can prompt customers to complete the abandoned transaction. In some cases, sending a limited-time coupon can win the sale. Be careful, though. If your customer data isn’t directly connected to your ESP, lag time can lead to mistakes that confuse your customers and damage the relationship.
Location: Where does the customer live?
It can take some creativity to use location-based customer data effectively, but, when done well, the results can be positive and impactful. Perhaps one of the biggest secrets to creating undeletable emails is timing. Perfect timing lowers customer resistance to your message. If your customers get an email, text, or push notification when it’s raining cats and dogs, and the promotion isn’t offered at their local store, and it’s for something they don’t need now, the odds of deletion are high.
But on the other hand, if they get the email while they’re already shopping, slightly before it rains, and the email is for a discount on raingear, the email is not only undeletable, but for many customers, actionable the minute they get it. Check out these examples:
- Home-store advantage: Knowing a customer’s home store can be a powerful piece of customer data. Chick-fil-A, for instance, gives franchise owners the freedom to send their own email campaigns with store events, specials, and other announcements targeted at their regular customers. This can be a terrific way to increase customer engagement, because what’s going on at or near a local store is far more relevant to the customer than a general overall corporate campaign. Plus, when combined with loyalty-program information, you can sometimes decipher what it’s going to take to get a customer to actually go into a store.
- Rain or shine: The weather may not seem like an obvious source for targeted customer personalization, but there are ways to make it work to your advantage. If you know a snow storm is headed to the Midwest next week, you can send a campaign to customers in that part of the country with promotions for winter gear—gloves, hats, boots, sleds—or go the opposite way and tempt them with a mid-winter promotion for a vacation package to Key West. If you’re sending local event recommendations, set up modules that allow the display to change to something indoors if the temperature is going to be over 90 degrees or if rain is likely.
- Local activity: Similarly, you likely won’t want to send the same campaigns to people in different geographic areas. A sporting goods store, for instance, might hesitate to promote beachwear to customers in Wyoming, and ice fishing gear isn’t relevant to most customers in Florida. But they might want to ratchet up the promotions for gear associated with local or regional sporting events. It’s essential to consider where the customer lives when you’re thinking about how to make your campaigns feel personalized.
Channel preference: What channel does the customer prefer?
While email is still used most frequently by brands and customers alike, there’s no avoiding the fact that mobile push and SMS are among the fastest growing customer engagement channels. These channels can’t be ignored for long, but building out separate campaigns across each channel can take a lot of time and effort. Additionally, in an attempt to connect with your customers, you could unintentionally create a negative customer experience when channel messages either conflict with each other or are repetitive to the point of annoyance.
It’s important to take customer preferences into account. Ask customers and study where and how they want to be contacted, which might even vary depending on the type of communication. Maybe customers want to receive fraud alerts on push only, but would prefer to get monthly statements via email. They might want to get alerts on flash deals in SMS, but they want order confirmations to land in their inbox.
Deliver Undeletable Emails and Personalized Customer Offers
Delivering undeletable emails not only requires organized, accessible customer data, but a customer marketing platform—such as a CDP—that helps you to build campaigns that cut across all channels. Take a look at your tech stack to see if your marketing team can do this with your current ESP. If so, you’re one step closer to delivering messaging your customers not only won’t delete, but will look forward to receiving—and maybe even forward to their friends.