Everyone knows that happy loyal customers are the key to business success. These days with everyone emailing, Facebooking and tweeting it is easy to assume that as a regular user of technology you’re well equipped to implement a Digital Relationship Marketing (DRM) strategy. However, if you think your company’s DRM program is safe in the hands of just anyone, it may be worth considering the following common mistakes that are often made.
Mistake #1: assuming customers don’t change
A customer registers on your website, you collect their information and start sending them emails. A year later, you’re still firing the same style of communication at them, offering them the same products – but now things have changed for them. Back then they were single. Now they’re married and have moved interstate and your emails no longer have any relevance to them.
Solution: Listen to your customers. Watch your database and track browsing and shopping habits. Send out the occasional survey to get some direct answers about your customer. This is best done at least annually. Even better if you set up automated triggered emails that are delivered at key milestones in a customer lifecycle (for example after they have made a specific number of purchases) or have been on your database for a certain period of time, e.g. six months.
Mistake #2: neglecting your data
If you don’t have healthy data you are wasting opportunities to engage as well as money! Imagine a database with 5,000 names on it, of which a third have typos in the email address. Perhaps you have been using the same database for five years and you don’t even know if your customers check those email accounts anymore. Or perhaps your email addresses are correct but you haven’t got a clear understanding or who these customers are and what they want.
Your database needs to include specific information to help build a profile of your customers so your marketing messages can be targeted and successful.
Solution: Give your data attention on an ongoing basis. Invest time and money into having the right tools to manage your data. Keep it clean and make sure you analyse it to reveal insights. By maintaining and tracking your customer data regularly, you’re not wasting the invested time and money that is going into a DRM campaign.
Mistake #3: doing it on the cheap
It can be so tempting to choose the cheapest tools, suppliers and systems to use, especially when they seem to offer the same services at a less expensive price point. Like most things in business, you generally tend to get what you pay for. By not choosing high quality system and service providers from the get go, you may pay less up front but in the long term, you may end up finding yourself with a less efficient or effective campaign and lower ROI.
Solution: Invest in quality. There is a reason you pay more for high quality programs. One of the most important aspects of a an effective Digital Relationship Marketing strategy is tracking and reporting so you can know what works and what creates great results. If you’re using cheaper tools that may not do these vital tasks all that well then your strategy will never be as successful as it could be.
Mistake #4: jumping on board with the latest fads and trends
Your business is unique and your marketing plan should be built around your company’s specific needs. There is so much information and advice out there on marketing that it is easy to make the mistake of trying everything! It’s too easy to fall into the trap of “we need to because everyone else is.” You suddenly find yourself spending too much time updating Twitter, putting effort into setting up your Facebook fan page and making YouTube videos by the dozen. Yet you’re not really sure if any of it is actually working to grow your business.
Solution: Stick to a strategy. Take some time and get to know the technology you think you want to use to engage your customers. Note whether your target audience use the media you are suggesting. Social Media marketing is a good example of where jumping on board for the ride may not make sense. To get a return you need to ensure you are able to invest adequate time, money and staff. A more traditional approach such as direct mail could be more effective so definitely don’t discount it just because it isn’t sexy.
Mistake #5: choosing the wrong email subject line
Failing to put enough thought into your subject line before sending out an email can be the downfall of a DRM campaign. If your audience doesn’t open your emails you’re going to have a hard time building a relationship with them and converting a sale.
A subject line should not be an afterthought, it can’t be too bland and even if you try and make it as sexy as possible, there has to be some strategy behind the words to make them work.
Solution: Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Think about what you want your customer to do, how do you want them to react to the email and what action do you want them to take? Your subject line needs to capture attention but also convey a message that will encourage them to read on. This line needs to entice the reader to open your email and hopefully continue a relationship with your brand, so a bit of planning won’t go astray.
Mistake #6: using the same creative online and offline
Just because something looks fantastic on paper doesn’t mean it is going to work online. Transferring the creative from a hardcopy brochure to your website can spell disaster. You may think using the same creative is an easy way to cut corners and costs but if your online presence is weak it can damage your entire brand.
Solution: Separate. There’s no way around it, you will need to invest in your online creative if it’s going to be effective. Take the time to work out what you want to achieve and create a separate creative strategy for online.
It’s a competitive market out there and no matter how strong your marketing message to your customers may be, if the creative looks unprofessional, your audience is going to lack trust in your products or service.
The concept of Digital Relationship Marketing is a simple one: Know your customers and give them what they want when they want it. However it’s the marketing tools and strategy that need careful consideration if a DRM campaign is to be successful.
Jeremy Glass is the Managing Director of Permission (http://permission.com.au/), a digital marketing agency that combines web strategy, business system applications, data analytics and digital relationship marketing to build strong customer relationships.