Monday, May 6, 2013
The Challenge: Businesses know mobile apps offer tremendous customer engagement opportunities—if done correctly. Unfortunately, businesses can also eat up marketing budgets--without the customer engagement payoff--if mobile apps are not planned out with customer needs in mind.
According to Forbes, the world has gone from 0 to 60 billion mobile app downloads in just the last four years. However, in a Nielsen Research Study, of the 82% of U.S. adults who are now active cellphone users, 43% now have apps on their phones. But, 56% said they delete the apps they don't use, most within two weeks of downloading them.
Don’t be “another” app. Be an engagement tool.
To avoid the dreaded deletion, it is vital to understand why people would want your app, how they’d use it, and why they’d want to return to it.
All too often esthetics or programming issues push their way front and center. But, don’t forget that the best applications do more than look good, they:
» solve a problem
» simplify life
» and engage customers
Based on customer analysis and feedback, T.G.I. Friday’s decided that they needed a way for customers to easily obtain their check, pay, and be on their way. To facilitate this amenity, they developed the “My Friday’s Tab” app that lets customers start a tab, keep track of their bill, and checkout with a click of a button. After its initial release, the company updated the app to include many additional functions that further increase customer interaction and involvement with the brand.
Takeaways: Here’s how T.G.I.Friday’s got it right and how you too can engage mobile customers:
» Solve a problem: The app lets customers pay and go without having to track down wait staff or bartenders. This eliminates customer frustration and also frees up staff for more “fun” interactions with customers.
» Simplify Life: The new app offers access to the rewards program; a “locate a Fridays” function (that also provides driving directions;) customers can get up to date on food and drink specials; and they can review the menu.
» Engage the Customer: The app enables customers to become a part of their own experience at the restaurant. They can have full control over what location they choose to visit, how to redeem reward points, earn new points, decide what to order, and pay without any staff involvement. The app puts its customers in total control of their visit.
If you are going to go through the expense, and effort to develop an app, be sure that it is an app that your customers will want and use over time. Apps are amazing customer engagement tools. (If they are used.)
Monday, April 29, 2013
The Challenge: Per recent guidelines, you will be penalized if your emails do not have adequate levels of deliverability and “engagement”. Consider the following options to optimize your lists to increase open rates and engagement.
Per our previous blog, recently most email service providers converted to a new algorithm that calculates deliverability using a combination of the original email delivery rules plus new “engagement” factors: open rates, clicks, unsubscribes, and complaints. With these new human behaviors factored into the equation of deliverability, future emails that you send may be considered SPAM or not delivered at all, even to subscribers who signed-up to receive your emails.
70-75% of most email subscribers are inactive
List hygiene is not just about removing undeliverable emails, bounces and unsubscribes. It is also requires re-engaging inactive subscribers and the tricky task of asking subscribers if they still want to receive your emails. It’s scary to think about getting people to unsubscribe, but is necessary in today’s email climate; especially when you consider that 70 – 75% of most email subscribers are inactive. It becomes a waste of resources, money, and hurts the overall deliverability of your list.
When you remove inactives and non-responders there a number of added benefits to your email campaign. In addition to a better delivery rate, you will have lowered costs and increased ease of segmentation and analysis. Not only are you paying to send to these subscribers, you are wasting time managing a larger email list, and then you are penalized for sending too many emails that are left unopened and unengaged.
Instead of just purging inactive subscribers, you should first test a re-engagement campaign. Pulling one off tactfully requires finesse. This is easier when you know your audience and run test campaigns to see which tactic performs best. Some ideas for re-engagement emails are to include catchy subject lines such as:
“Are You Breaking Up With Us?”
“Are we still friends?”
“Are You Mad at Us?
The body of the email should explain the message and provide multiple options: opt-out, and various ways to opt-in: subscribe to only some topics, adjust frequency, or connect on different platforms and social arenas.
TAKEAWAYS FOR EMAIL MARKETERS:
» Start your email relationship effectively: capture attention and invite engagement with a quality welcome series.
» Test to determine the most important areas of interest. This should drive engaging content and subject lines.
» Segment and personalize your emails so you deliver the greatest relevance to each individual subscriber.
» Analyze inactive users and begin sending re-engagement emails as soon as possible so that inactive users do not remain on your list for too long.
Monday, April 22, 2013
The Challenge: In a study by the Business Marketing Association, most BtoB marketers say customer engagement is a high priority within their marketing organization (72%), but 43% grade their company’s level of customer engagement, a C, with even more giving their companies a D or an F.
The opportunity for BtoB marketers: successfully engage their customers by establishing new avenues of relevant communication.
Despite such poor self-ratings, 72% of surveyed BtoB marketers cite customer retention and loyalty as their primary reasons for establishing customer engagement efforts. Other motivating factors are recommendations for products and services that match customer needs (54%) and a more compelling customer experience (41%).
A company that has set the standard for BtoB customer engagement is American Express. Not only has AmEx developed events and contests to drive engagement but it has also made itself an invaluable resource to it’s merchant customers with two information-packed websites.
1. Events: In 2010 Small Business Saturday was conceived and promoted by American Express. The goal: drive small business holiday shopping. It is now a year round BtoB commitment. It has set new revenue records each year since its launch, and surpassed all expectations with $5.5 billion in spending in 2012.
2. Contests: “Big Break for Small Business” was designed to transform the way small businesses connect and engage with customers online. It not only rewards 5 winners with an in-person consultation with AmEx and a $25,000 free Facebook ad campaign but it incentivizes engagement by giving all entrants with a $50 Facebook ad credit.
3. Websites: AmEx has established two information packed websites: American Express Small Business which offers tools and advice and Open Forum a place for businesses to share and access the latest business and marketing news.
On its Open website, AmEx states that it “supports business owners with products and services to help them run and grow their businesses” But perhaps the most important thing that AmEx can teach BtoB marketers is to build engagement strategies based on increasing your overall value to your customers.
3 Takeaways to increase BtoB customer engagement:
» Dramatically change your approach from transactional to consultative, by understanding your customer’s requirements and creating solutions that will provide true value.
» Create ongoing interactions and conversations by providing insightful and relevant reports, newsletters, blogs, websites, and research, that transforms you from just another vendor to a trusted resource for both products and information.
» Create opportunities for engagement such as webinars, contests, events, chats, and virtual seminars that put your business in the spotlight as an expert.