June 6/13, 2016; Volume 30, Number 25
By Lisbeth Calandrino
Do you know how many customers are actually reading your store’s overall message? This is different from how many customers understand your store’s message or brand image. The first step is getting it out there. There are two questions you need to ask yourself: Are you going to the right prospect? If so, how do you know she is reading your message? For example, if you run a print ad in the local paper and it is left out in the rain, do the pages get peeled and read or is it simply thrown away?
Is it best to send a message to 10,000 people not knowing whether or not they are reading your ad or is it better going to target 1,000 people 10 times who will actually see it? The only program that can give you this information is an automated email marketing program—a program that has a tracking feature to provide valuable information about your customers.
“Tracking is not the difficult part,” said Greg Incardona, vice president of marketing service Follow Your Customer. “It’s analyzing the results and then adjusting your message to improve your open rates. An open rate means your customer is actually taking the time to look at your message. You may think your message is the best in the world but if it’s not even opened it’s a waste of time.”
Another benefit of electronic marketing is its cost effectiveness. You don’t have to print 10,000 pieces of mail to determine if your message is good or bad; in fact, you’ll probably never know using that method. The purpose of an automated marketing system is to drive customers to your website and ultimately to your special offers. Once the customer gets to your site, you have the opportunity to build some interaction and a chance to sell her.
An automated marketing campaign benefits your business in other ways as well. It continues to keep your valuable messages in front of customers, giving them a reason to return to your store or to purchase product online. You have more opportunities to interact with them on your social media sites. Isn’t staying in front of the customer what you are trying to achieve?
This is the age of the customer; the key is to figure out how you will perfect your message and get it directly in front of her. The ideal tool for this is an automated marketing campaign. In contrast to a random email blast, a campaign is consistent, personalized, timed and carefully thought out.
“It is not always easy for a business owner to plan marketing by himself because it takes so much time,” Incardona said. “But an automated campaign is a mechanism that will solve this problem. Once the links and messages are set up they automatically know where to go and what to do. For instance, if you’re promoting a financing offer you will know how many customers you have reached and how many actually opened your email. This way you will be able to gauge whether it was the delivery method or the message itself that needs to be changed. The key is to test again and again until you are able to adapt to what your customers are expecting.”
An automated marketing system done by a professional can be appropriately timed and sent at the right intervals (consistency is like having another partner for your business). The only work you need to put in is determining what you’re promoting and what back links (websites and social media pages) are important. Once you assess this information you can better target your messages.