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Finish Line Tells Us What Customers Want in Email Marketing

February 5th, 2016 1 comment

For leading athletic retailer Finish Line, a memorable customer experience means focusing on product, presentation and people.

During MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, after presenting his session on “What Customers Want,” Erin Hogg, Reporter, MarketingSherpa, interviewed 2015 MarketingSherpa Best-in-Show Award Winner, Aaron Buchanan, Digital Personalization Manager, Finish Line. His session presented marketers with information on how they could turn basic segmentation practices into highly personalized, multichannel campaigns.

 

In this day and age, it is very clear to see why 77% of consumers prefer to receive the majority of their marketing communications through email. And while it would be ideal to create one quick email blast to all your customers, personalized email communication is an important element in gaining and keeping subscribers.

That does present a challenge to marketers, because not everyone has the same interests or needs even if you have a general product.

In his interview, Aaron walked through ways marketers could create a significant email experience for customers. By following a few of the tips below, you can also build better engagement with your customers.

 

Tip #1: Discover the balance between high-level and in-depth segmentation

  • Determine the types of segments you want to create

o   The possibilities are endless, which is why Aaron said, “you want to chase it all, but you really have to start elevating priorities, and make sure that you focus on knocking out the best opportunities first.”

o   Patience is also going to be a factor in the process. Good things take time, so make sure your email segments are strategically planned.

  • Remember the tools you use can provide insight to many paths and opportunities

o   Learn how your email marketing program manages list segmentation within your main list. Utilize the tools at your disposal — its job is to make your email marketing process more efficient for your team.

  • Listen to your customers and test

o   What issues are your customers facing on a regular basis and what products would they like to see more of? Make sure that you are addressing their needs through testing.  A/B split test your email marketing campaigns, then review the results and refine your messaging. Then test again to optimize the experience.

 

Tip #2: Identify marketing touchpoints with your customers

  • What contact methods between your company and consumer work best?

o   Create a touchpoint map that lists out all of the times when your customers may interact with your brand and make sure that each one of those touchpoints leads to excellent customer service and experience.

  • Locate the paths of interest and areas of engagement

o   Use the data from your segmentation tools to discover where customers are engaging. What are their behaviors like on-site versus email? Segmenting by interests can be an effective method in building valuable email marketing campaigns.

  • Blend customer concerns with your business priorities to focus on their needs

o   Create messages that will support the business and marketing objectives for your company. What is your company’s overall goal?

o   Aaron’s mission was to provide a fully relevant experience for his Finish Line customers. By identifying the challenges with his customers, he was able to align the business core values to establish the strategy required to achieve the goal.

 

Tip #3: Utilize best practices with available resources

  • Start small when it comes to budgets

o   Before diving fully into email segmentation, Aaron said, try starting with one variable. Although Finish Line is a large brand, Aaron’s team had to work within budget constraints, and more doesn’t always mean better.

  • Locate the best areas for your team to optimize

o   What are essential areas producing lower-than-needed conversion rates for your company? One of the best places to look for the answer to this question is in your user experience. Track each step customers or customer personas will take, and scan them for friction or frustrations.

  • Maximize your ROI with research

o   Prove to your company leaders that you have put in the time. Researching is the most time-consuming phase, but will help you to market segments properly.

 

In the end, when dealing with email segmentation knowing your customer’s experience at every stage of the sales funnel is key.

To see Buchanan’s full session from the Email Summit, just register here.

 

You might also like

Watch Full Sessions from Email Summit 2015 – Including Jessica Best in the “Quick Tips: Elements of email” sessions

Email Segmentation: Finish Line’s automation initiative lifts email revenue 50% [From MarketingSherpa]

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Mail-to-Order Marketing Takeaways: 5 lessons to be learned from subscription boxes

October 9th, 2015 No comments

Who doesn’t love the feeling of seeing a package on their doorstep? While the mailbox is reserved for bills and sales flyers, a box on the front porch usually means a present.

The popularity of subscription boxes has allowed for millions of customers to enjoy this consumerism bliss bi-weekly, monthly or even quarterly.

Subscription boxes are the ultimate way for consumers to enjoy products. The boxes are delivered on some sort of schedule, filled with products the customer is interested in and usually have some element of surprise.

There seems to be a subscription box for every category of shopper — food, pet supplies, “nerd gear” and even apocalypse prep. The diversity of the boxes available speaks to the widespread popularity among consumers. However, not every company has the interest or ability to expand into the subscription box space. This poses a question: What can we learn from the success of subscription boxes?

To answer that question, we’ve compiled five takeaways from boxes that marketers in any industry can utilize to promote their product.

 

Takeaway #1. Be surprising, but don’t get crazy

Customers who subscribe to boxes have a general idea of what types of products will be mailed to them. For example, a box member knows that every month he’ll get a t-shirt, an accessory of some type and a small gadget.

However, every month there is a surprise element — the products that will actually make up the box will be a surprise upon arrival. That means our example box member doesn’t know that this month the t-shirt will have a comics theme or that the accessory will be a pair of sunglasses.

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How Advance Auto Parts Uses Online Videos to Increase Conversion

September 29th, 2015 No comments

“We see a lift, definitely, in conversion, whenever we have video on the page,” Val DuVernet, Senior Program Manager, Advance Auto Parts, told me during an interview in the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2015.

Read on for three of the biggest lessons I learned from my interview with Val, and watch the below video to get your own ideas for using video to improve your brand’s conversion.

 

Three important points stuck out to me from this interview …

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Ecommerce: Why online retailers are experimenting with brick-and-mortar locations

August 28th, 2015 1 comment

“There are so many ecommerce retailers who now believe that in order to differentiate themselves and establish better brand relationships with their shoppers, they [need to consider] opening brick-and-mortar stores,” Debbie Hauss, Editor-in-Chief, Retail TouchPoints, said.

According to Advertising Age, 80% of companies have increased digital marketing budgets for 2015. Whether it’s selling products on a website or through a mobile or desktop app, virtual marketing has become the norm.

However, some ecommerce retailers have recently invested in the opening of brick-and-mortar stores in order to stay ahead of the marketing curve and establish better relationships with their customers.

The growing popularity of this omni-channel trend was recently explored by Retail TouchPoints, a digital publication for retail executives, offering content focused on optimizing the customer experience across multiple channels.

At the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2015, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, interviewed Debbie Hauss on why expanding to brick-and-mortar stores is becoming common for online retailers.

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Dimensional Weight Pricing: How a “17 pound” feather can affect your ecommerce profit margins

August 25th, 2015 No comments

Ecommerce has long been considered to have a cost advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers. After all, real estate, inventory and human resource costs are all lower.

However, these reduced costs come at an expense — Internet retailers rely on a third-party for fulfillment. Which means their margins and perhaps overall business model is at the mercy of other companies.

This dependency became all the more clear recently when UPS and FedEx announced a significant change to shipping policies by applying dimensional weight pricing (also known as DIM) to all ground shipments. This means that the size (length, weight and height) of even lightweight objects could cause increases in shipping costs for ecommerce vendors.

A concrete example of this is The Wall Street Journal estimating a 37% increase in price for a 32-pack of toilet paper and a 35% increase for a two-slice toaster.

At the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2015, I spoke with Abe Garver, a contributor to Yahoo! Finance and an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) banker, to discuss how these shipping changes are affecting ecommerce companies. Abe used the example of a peacock feather — which may really only weight six ounces, but due to its large size is considered weighing 17 pounds when calculating the cost of shipping.

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The Power of Visuals: How four companies effectively used visual content and three tools to get you started

August 18th, 2015 1 comment

An image is a powerful tool in the digital world.

It can draw attention, communicate value, increase shareability and so much more. In fact, HubSpot pulled together the “17 Stats You Should Know About Visual Content Marketing in 2015” to display this. From what your peers are doing to how effective visual content is for social sharing, the stats of recent studies are certainly interesting.

Two stats stuck out to me while researching this topic.Visual storytelling in the digital world

First, tweets with images were clicked 18% more and retweeted 150% more than those without, according to Buffer.

Second, when looking at the most shared posts from Facebook pages, a photo post made up 87% of interactions.

Even better than stats, I came across four success stories that show how visual content can greatly impact your content and social media marketing efforts, from blog views to Facebook shares.

 

Case study examples

Content Marketing: Interactive infographic blog post generates 3.9 million views for small insurance company

As a smaller insurance company, HCC Medical Insurance Service (HCCMIS) needed a way to stand out in its marketplace. While insurance can typically be thought of as a boring product, the HCCMIS team decided to make their blog content more exciting with interactive infographics.

The result? The team saw a 1,000% lift in blog traffic, as well as significant lifts in social media followers and email revenue.

Interactive infographic blog post generates 3.9 million views for small insurance company

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Email Marketing: How to utilize your consumer data without being creepy

August 11th, 2015 4 comments

Have you ever been at a social event and a person, unknown to you, eagerly greets you by name? Recall the creepy feeling you got in that situation.

It leaves you thinking — who is this person and how do they know this personal information?

Thanks to the Internet, marketers have the ability to collect and use an absurd amount of personal consumer data. As marketers, we’ve used this data to guide consumers to ideal products and services without them even knowing. Well, let me revise that last statement — we used to do this without consumers knowing.

 

Avoid This: Personalization                                                                                             

As personalization has become a buzzword over the last few years, efforts to connect with consumers have gone haywire. Every day, I receive emails from companies who promote products similar to those I’ve pinned on Pinterest and address me by my name, or at least attempt to:

The Adverse Effects of Email Personalization

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21 Subreddits Every Digital Marketer Should Subscribe To

July 24th, 2015 No comments

The best way for anyone to stay on top of any news, events and information around almost any topic imaginable in the 21st century is Reddit. Hands down. Most digital marketers know this already so I won’t waste too much time proving the point here. If you don’t know this, it’s okay. Here’s a five minute synopsis to get you up to speed.

 

The real trouble with Reddit, even for marketers who are familiar with the platform, is its unfriendly UX and search feature.

It’s very difficult to find the subreddits you should be following.

To help give you a head start with finding marketing subreddits, here’s a list of 21 you should probably be subscribed to if you’re not already …

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The Benefits of Combining Content Marketing and Segmentation: MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 replay

July 17th, 2015 1 comment

One of the most talked-about marketing trends at the moment may also be one of the most effective. According to Demand Metric, content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing while costing 62% less.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, sat down with Stephen Bruner, Marketing Manager, Precor, to discuss the value of content marketing and segmentation as well as the benefits of implementing a strategy using both of these marketing methods.

Precor is the second largest fitness equipment manufacturer in the U.S. and third in the world. Its clients are primarily fitness clubs and consumers. The company focuses on helping each of these consumer segments find the best products for their needs.

Watch the video excerpt from the MarketingSherpa Media Center to learn more about the relationship between content marketing and segmentation:

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What Single Attribute Can Improve Your Marketing? Sales and Marketing alignment

July 10th, 2015 No comments

After writing hundreds of MarketingSherpa Newsletter case studies and, in the process, interviewing, speaking with and getting to know many, many marketers, one attribute really stands out for influencing successful marketing — Sales and Marketing alignment.

It doesn’t guarantee success and lack of alignment doesn’t automatically mean failure. However, when Marketing and Sales are working together as a team instead of as adversaries within a company, the entire sales pipeline is much more effective.

One reason for this success is that companies with a Sales and Marketing alignment are much more likely to see the entire customer experience holistically, where each person is seen in terms of where they are in the process.

For example, that person will be seen as a freshly generated lead, a prospect who has been handed off to Sales, a paying customer requiring service or an ongoing nurturing to ensure they remain a customer.  This is much more preferable than being just a cog in a process that begins with Marketing, goes to Sales — where, at that point, the person drops off of Marketing’s radar altogether — and then, hopefully, is passed to customer service and is no longer a Sales concern.

msfinal

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