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4 Ways to Migrate Your Audience to New Channels

by: Erinne Mejia (@IBMforMarketing)
27 April 2015

There’s little doubt we’re living in an “omni-channel” world, but what does this really mean for your business? For some it means a greater emphasis on tying together existing customer data in a central place. But what happens if you have gaps in this data or you’re starting to communicate with contacts via a new channel? In some cases, your contacts may have grown tired of a certain channel and now prefer one in which you haven’t traditionally communicated.

The good news is that there are lots of ways to migrate your audience to new channels. Your existing customer base is an excellent place to start building communications in these channels. Here are four ideas for migrating your customers to new channels.

1) Direct Mail to Email

Many established businesses have an audience that’s purely offline, with only postal addresses for these contacts. As there’s more and more internal push to go digital, try leveraging direct mail to this end by creating a direct mail piece with a link to your email sign-up form.

For even better results, consider sending a direct mail piece specifically focused on urging these contacts to sign up for email, with a reward if they do so.

One of the keys to gathering email sign-ups from direct mail is keeping it simple. Consider creating a slimmed-down version of your typical opt-in process, with contacts only required to provide first and last name, email address and ZIP code. This will give you sufficient data to tie the two records together along with their purchase history.

2) Email to SMS

Don’t have an “in-store” presence where you can create a text-to-join experience? (If you do, even better.) No problem, create a digital one. Have a text-to-join component of your email or build a simple form to capture phone numbers. SMS is a great channel for communicating bite-size pieces of information to your customers, and you can use your email program to explain these potential benefits to your contacts.

3) Email to App Experience (Including Push)

Got a wonderful app you’re launching and you want to build your app base? As more and more consumers migrate to mobile experiences, your website might not be the place users interact with your brand on their mobile phone. Sending an email reminder that highlights the value proposition of your app can help not only drive app downloads but also make it more likely customers will accept push notifications.

4) Email Unsubscribe to Any Other Channel

On the way out, why not give potential unsubscribers some options? A smart way to “save” some opt-outs is to offer other channels through which contacts may want to hear from you. Consider routing contacts who click the “Unsubscribe” link in your emails to a preference center that not only enables them to easily unsubscribe, but also allows them to update their communication type and channel preferences.

The more channels you engage customers in, the more behaviors you can capture and the better you can target communications in the right channel at the right time throughout their customer journey. This doesn’t mean you should send an email, SMS, and push notification at the same time with the same message. Quite the contrary: By listening to where your customers are engaging with you at specifics point in their journey and communicating with them accordingly, you’ll make them more apt to trust, buy and value your brand.

Related Resources:

1) Tip Sheet: “10 Tips for Using Email to Drive Mobile Engagement — and Vice-Versa

2) Blog: “Getting Started with Mobile App Push Notifications

3) White Paper: “Unsubscribe Best Practices: How to Decrease Database Churn and Strengthen Your Marketing Program


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