Someone is currently visiting your website, or your brick and mortar store. As they browse, they stop in a certain spot. They linger. They are interested in what they see. How do you keep them from moving on…or out?
At your website, or at your store, you can offer specific choices. With too much to choose from, it can be overwhelming. With too little, prospects and customers feel dissatisfied. Creating the choicest menu for individual tastes allows you to offer possibilities within a narrower range. This provides options that are manageable and enjoyable.
The easiest way to gather information and start building relationship is when you’re creating that first impression. When someone comes into your store for the first time, or when they visit your website and decide to sign up on your e-mail subscription list, this is the perfect time to ask them their preferences.
When you’re gathering their e-mail information, with a simple menu style, let users opt in for what they would like to receive. Include options for:
- Interest in Newsletters. If your organization offers newsletters in more than one area, make sure there’s an opportunity for preference selection for each area.
- Coupons. Some people use coupons and some don’t. If you offer coupons, make this a selection option; if this is a segmented area, distinguish the areas for selection.
- Special Sales and Promotions. Are they interested in knowing when you have a special sale? Do they want to know about all sales, or just certain areas?
- Customer contact. What are their preferences for problem resolution, should one arise? Do they prefer e-mail contact, or direct customer support. Make sure subscribers know there will always be one or more ways to ensure their product satisfaction.
Collecting the information is, of course, only the first step. The next step is data management. And unless you’re especially knowledgeable and comfortable with data management, this may be a task you choose to outsource. Cheetah Mail, E-Dialog, and many other reliable vendors, including SilverPop, which continues to stay in the top rankings for enterprise-oriented ESP’s by Jupiter Research, all appear to be excellent choices for outsourcing data management.
However you collect your data, you can use analytic tools to create reports that reflect percentage of sales to percentage of opened e-mails, e-mails sent but not opened, e-mail product solicitations opened but not acted upon, cost of e-mail marketing as a percentage of sales dollars generated, and other relevant data.
Data management includes making sure your lists are scrubbed frequently. Old data can result not only in information being sent to subscribers who have opted out, it can also adversely affect data integrity.
Data management for opt-outs, as well as those subscribers who continue to get the e-mails and either open and don’t act, or just don’t open the e-mail, should include a program for gaining feedback. Nothing intrusive or repeated, but a simple request to help you understand what you might have done better or differently to gain or retain the relationship.
E-mail preferences, as with all preferences, can change quickly. Just as the mini-skirt became the ankle-skimmer in the course of a season, e-mail preferences for individuals can alter in the blink of an eye. Be prepared and responsive.
Keep the menu varied, spicy, and interactive to retain old customers and entice new ones.