Press Cafe Email Marketing Strategy POV

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Background Though the surge in marketing technologies and platforms are currently making marketing methods of the past out-of-date and obsolete, email marketing remains just as vital as it ever was. A recent study done by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that email marketing gives back a little more than $39 for every dollar invested into it. According to the study, this is one of the biggest return on investments (ROI) of any type of marketing strategy . Its evident that most businesses around the world understand the financial gains of email marketing as more than 90% of businesses use email marketing as a part of their overall marketing strategy (Rijn). The simple fact is that email marketing provides a cost efficient, as well as forceful, way for companies to engage with their audience on both an impersonal and personal scale. This one-on-one communication advantage helps form a better relationship with every individual in the desired audience without surrendering the ability of mass communication. It also has the advantage of being an easily measureable medium (Darling). All of these factors make email marketing a more efficient alternative to small businesses than more traditional mediums such as television or radio. However, email marketing is not just thought of as advantageous to the business, but also the consumer. 9 out of 10 consumers believe email marketing is a channel of strategic importance for a business to achieve their goals (Rijn). Essentially, even customers can recognize that email marketing goes a long way into reaching them and ultimately either forming a relationship or prompting a buying decision. This is in part due to the advancement of email marketing tactics in terms of personalization and fit. Email marketing technologies, such as those offered on Salesforce or Hubspot, among others, make it easier for companies to identify potential customers more precisely as well as make personalizing those emails through the use of information and graphics easier than ever. As an example of the power of these new technological developments, a study done by Custora on the strengths of email marketing found that customer acquisition quadrupled from 2009-2013. Its one of the reasons that the previously mentioned study conducted by the DMA predicts delivery, open, conversion, and click-through rates to rise even more than they already have over the next year (Six Reasons). Given all the advantages of email marketing, it is clear that its an important medium through which a business should conduct their marketing efforts. Perhaps just as important though will be for all businesses to be at least proficient in their knowledge and practice of email marketing. 78% of marketers believe their companys competence in email marketing is either intermediate or advanced (Rijn). Furthermore, 91% of people say that use their smartphones to access their email (Six Reasons). These two data points combined show that if business owners and their marketers believe their company is proficient in email marketing, then they will also expect other businesses to be proficient in it as well. And if a majority of these people are using their smartphones to check their emails, then it will also be important to understand email marketing from a mobile perspective. Given that Luminous will concentrate on business-to-business sales, it will be vitally important moving forward that the company become familiar and comfortable with the nuances of email marketing so that they can build strategies and tactics to fully exploit their market potential. Customer Journey When creating an email strategy, it is important to use the customer journey as a guideline for creating meaningful content for all leads and customers. The customer journey consists of three stages, awareness, consideration and decision. Leads can be converted into customers at any stage in the customer journey, as long as they are finding the right information at the right time. For example, a lead in the awareness stage might respond better to an informational email about coffee roasting while a lead in the decision stage would benefit from an email detailing available products. In Appendix A the three stages of the customer journey are explained further. The customer journey is borne from inbound marketing methodology. In inbound marketing, the traditional marketing funnel is inverted and the focus is fully placed on a seamless customer experience. The heavy focus on the customer experience rather than the product opens the door for personalized interactions at more meaningful touch points. In many customer journeys, email is an integral part of converting a lead into a sale and into a lifetime customer. However, this is only true if email is done with thoughtful, targeted strategies that interact with customers the way the want to be interacted with. The customer journey is a helpful guideline for planning email marketing messages for each kind of lead and customer a brand will come in contact with. Such email tactics can be triggered by actions that leads are taking on the Luminous Coffee website to reach them at the correct stages. These actions can be as simple as clicking through a blog post or article, checking a product page or clicking through for more information. The most critical part of creating customer journeys through email is collecting the data necessary to reach leads once they leave your website. This is typically done through a form on a landing page or a dialogue box created to pop-up over content. By capturing emails when a user is interacting with your content, not only can you contact them but you also have a trail of the actions they took on your website attached to the email they provided. This allows you to select the right messaging at the right time, rather than use a blanket email strategy. The use of personalized messaging in email marketing strategy is easily managed with programs like Hubspot, and can add immense value to any brand looking to move towards inbound marketing and the use of customer journeys in strategy building. Alternatives There are several different types of customer journeys that Luminous has to choose from. Each journey is effective for a different business, and picking the right one will depend on what Luminous is trying to accomplish. A good starting point would be a welcome series. In this customer journey, customers would have the opinion to fill out sign up form on Luminous website. Not only would this grow their email list, but it would also give them opportunities to send emails with introductory offers or more information about their business. Laurie Hood, the VP of Product Marketing for Silverpop, an IBM Company, states, These emails provide a controlled initial experience, educate new subscribers on brand and email benefits, can lead to immediate conversion, and reduce inactivity. You typically want to send your first welcome email within minutes of opt-in. Wait too long, and the subscriber may forget opting in to your program (Hood). These emails will also show new consumers how often they can expect to receive emails, as well as the format and content. Rather than putting lots of information in one welcome email, such as how to purchase and enhance an account, its encouraged to set up a series of automated emails. Luminous could also set up reminder emails. Whenever a customer makes a purchase from Luminous, they can receive an email with opinion to setup automatic buying, so that all of their purchases can come at the same time each month, without customers needing to remember to buy their coffee. Campaign Monitor states, Sending a reminder based off a date is a great opportunity to deliver a timely message to your customer, and also keeps them buying your products and services over time (Getting Started with Customer Service Journeys). This also provides opportunities to remind consumer about payments, and send them post-purchase surveys. In this customer journey, the emails should be designed so that the call to action is the predominant message (Getting Started with Customer Service Journeys). Campaign Monitor also suggests to add a condition to the automated emails, For those who open the email, assume they received the message and will take action if they choose to. For those who dont open the email, re-send the email two days later with a more urgent subject line. Sending the second email a few days later takes minimal upfront effort but pays valuable dividends later (Getting Started with Customer Service Journeys). When Luminous grows their customer database, another opinion is to send out birthday offers and coupons. This option might not be best for Luminous, as they are a business-to-business company, and any birthday offers might come off as too informal. However, another option is to create valued customer offers. This would be automatically sent offers and deals to the consumers and companies who purchase the most frequently or highest quantities. This is less informal than birthday offers, but still allows consumers to feel valued. It costs 5 times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one (Lawrence). Ellen Valentine, also of Silverpop, recommends a drip nurture program. This is the easiest program to establish, and will automatically send an email every week or two. These emails will help persuade new consumers to purchase something while retaining a relationship with current customers (Valentine). Luminous could use these types of emails to send updates, stories, or information about their company. A final option for Luminous to consider is a re-engagement series. This type of email customer journey plan would send automated messages to consumers using the behavior data you have on them. Emails could be sent on purchase anniversaries or be geographically targeted (Valentine). Valentine also says, If the customer never engages with the emails, consider suspending their name from marketing messages. Remember, its OK to keep your database clean and full of individuals who are excited to interact with your brand! (Valentine). This also coincides with a browse abandonment series. A series like this would have marketers watch shopping carts, and send personalized reminder emails to consumers who havent completed their purchases. Recommendations Customer journeys are a clear reflection of customer behavior. As marketers, we are responsible for creating a seamless a customer journey that drives users to a specific call to action. Email marketing is a large component of the customer journey when working on a Business to Business (B2B) level. Our team has determined that reminder emails should be utilized by Luminous to reach their goals and operate on a large-scale, B2B basis. Reminder emails would allow Luminous to increase brand recognition amongst their target market, allow customers to feel catered to with powerful personalization tools and push customers to other valuable platforms such as social media and their website. Fresh, relevant, engaging email content that goes the distance and keeps your customers engaged with your brand and product. Reminder emails are the the thank you notes in todays business and sales world. It is a gesture that demonstrates the company is engaged and excited to interact with their customers. According to the Direct Marketing Association via OutboundEngine, Email marketing yields an average 4,300 percent return on investment for businesses in the United States. Whats more, as Hubspot pointed out, Forrester Research found that companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales ready leads at 33 percent lower cost (Covino-Deaso). Thus, investing the time and resources into developing an email strategy and your overall marketing efforts can be highly beneficial for your business overtime. Additionally, these reminder emails will allow customers to purchase their products anytime, anywhere. Creating mobile responsive email templates can be easy through customer journey software such as SalesForce and HubSpot. Most importantly, with enough planning and thorough research, the majority of this process can be automated. This allows clients to focus on creating a premier product, rather than worrying about their marketing efforts. Specifically for Luminous, their B2B customers could be reminded to repurchase a product, follow up on cart abandonment, provide an opportunity to answer and product questions they might have and confirm that an automatic refill shipment is on the way. This process can be vital when looking to develop long-term, scalable wholesale relationships. It allows both parties to operate knowing goods and services are successfully being exchanged. Overall, our team would recommend utilizing reminder emails as a key component of Luminouss email marketing strategy. Works Cited Darling, B. (2016, November 15). Assessing Your Email-Marketing Maturity What You Need to Know [Web log post]. Retrieved December 01, 2016, from https://blogs.adobe.com/digitalmarketing/email/assessing-email-marketing-maturity-need-know/ The Email Workbook: Build 5 Emails From Blueprint to Greatness. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.marketingcloud.com/sites/exacttarget/files/deliverables/mc-5-blueprints-workbook.pdf Getting Started with Customer Journeys. (n.d.). Retrieved December 04, 2016, from https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/guides/customer-journeys/ Hood, L. (2015, September 8). Welcome Campaigns: Tips for Getting the Customer Journey off to a Strong Start. Retrieved December 02, 2016, from https://www.ibm.com/blogs/commerce/2015/09/welcome-campaigns-tips-for-getting-the-customer-journey-off-to-a-strong-start/ Lawrence, A. (2012, November 1). Five Customer Retention Tips for Entrepreneurs. Retrieved December 02, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexlawrence/2012/11/01/five-customer-retention-tips-for-entrepreneurs/ Rijn van, J. (2015). National Client Email Report . Retrieved from the Direct Marketing Association website: https://dma.org.uk/uploads/ckeditor/National-client-email-2015.pdf. The Top 10 Stats from 2016 that Show the Importance of Email Marketing. (2016). Retrieved December 04, 2016, from https://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/marketing/the-top-10-stats-from-2016-that-show-the-importance-of-email-marketing/ Six Reasons Why Email Marketing Is Important For Your Internet Marketing - Inbound Rocket. (2015, March 3). Retrieved December 01, 2016, from http://inboundrocket.co/blog/6-reasons-why-email-marketing-is-important-for-internet-marketing/ Valentine, E. (2014, October 8). 5 Ways to Enhance the Customer Journey. Retrieved December 02, 2016, from http://www.silverpop.com/blog/5-Ways-to-Enhance-the-Customer-Journey https://blogs.adobe.com/digitalmarketing/email/assessing-email-marketing-maturity-need-know/https://www.marketingcloud.com/sites/exacttarget/files/deliverables/mc-5-blueprints-workbook.pdfhttps://www.marketingcloud.com/sites/exacttarget/files/deliverables/mc-5-blueprints-workbook.pdfhttps://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/guides/customer-journeys/https://www.ibm.com/blogs/commerce/2015/09/welcome-campaigns-tips-for-getting-the-customer-journey-off-to-a-strong-start/https://www.ibm.com/blogs/commerce/2015/09/welcome-campaigns-tips-for-getting-the-customer-journey-off-to-a-strong-start/http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexlawrence/2012/11/01/five-customer-retention-tips-for-entrepreneurs/http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexlawrence/2012/11/01/five-customer-retention-tips-for-entrepreneurs/https://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/marketing/the-top-10-stats-from-2016-that-show-the-importance-of-email-marketing/https://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/marketing/the-top-10-stats-from-2016-that-show-the-importance-of-email-marketing/http://www.silverpop.com/blog/5-Ways-to-Enhance-the-Customer-JourneyAppendix ACoverpagePointofView