Engaging customers with your e-marketing means understanding their preferences and knowing their behavior will change over time.
For example, have you seen the DISH TV commercial where former college football stars talk about "going back to college" by watching the games? I kind of get where they're coming from.
More than a month into college football season, Alabama's Crimson Tide has one loss but is still in the running for a playoff spot, and watching my alma mater play fills my head with visions of college — tailgating with my buddies outside Bryant-Denny Stadium, then watching the game with 100,000 other screaming fans. It was awesome.
While my wife and I still attend a game or two every year, we spend most game days on the couch with the kids — our little Alabama fans in training. And I have to say, seeing our 3-year-old son get excited when our team scores is pretty awesome, too.
Yes, game days, like life in general, have changed a lot for me in recent years. The same is true for your customers. Some of their preferences will never change — for example, I'll always bleed Crimson — but as their lives evolve, so do some of their priorities. Being in the loop about their life changes will offer new opportunities to engage them with your marketing — but only if you engage them in conversation.
Just consider the following football-inspired digital marketing examples:
Flag on the Play
If you know what's going on in individual customers' lives, you can anticipate their needs and personalize your e-marketing with ultrarelevant content. But that means you must listen to them, or in the case of digital customers, listen to the data they've given you.
For example, I bought my son an Alabama jersey last year in size 2T. Of course, kids grow fast, and he'll need a larger size this year. So why hasn't the company that sold me his 2T jersey sent me a promotional offer for 3T and 4T jerseys? With the start of football season, now is the perfect time to promote such items, and my buying history tells them I'll be in the market for this item this year. What a wasted opportunity!
Extra Points for Paying Attention
A key component of listening is reading between the lines: responding not only to what your customers tell you, but also to what you can infer.
My daughter Eva was born last December, so this is her first football season. Fingers crossed that she'll be chanting "Roll Tide" by the time we win this year's national championship, and she'll need some Alabama gear of her own. This is a perfect opportunity for one of the many online retailers I regularly do business with to send me an offer for Alabama gear in infant sizes. While I might not have filled out an online profile telling any of them I love college football or that I have a new daughter, if they're tracking my browsing, shopping and social behavior, they could connect the dots.
Building Your Fan Club
Nearly three quarters (71 percent) of consumers say they're more likely to make a purchase if the initial email outreach is tailored especially to them, based on their likes and preferences, according to Silverpop's "Are You a Best Friend Brand?" study.
Your customers give you tons of relevant data — online shopping profiles, purchase data, browsing histories, email opt-in forms — but there's a lot more information about their changing preferences that would be helpful for you to have. So the more questions you ask, and the better you observe their online behavior, the more opportunities you have to engage them with your content.
For example, as much as I love college football, it's not the only sport I enjoy. If the companies that have sold me Alabama gear gathered additional information about my preferences, they might learn I like golf and boating, or that I've started following other Alabama sports. Then they could send me relevant e-marketing promotions, even when football season is over.
To learn more about building a robust preference center (and getting customers to use it), download our white paper, "21 Tips for Building a Strong Modern-Day Preference Center."
1) Tip Sheet: “7 Tips for Creating an Effective Modern-Day Loyalty Program”
2) Blog: “First and Goal: 7 Marketing Lessons from College Football”
3) Video: “Using Post-Purchase Segmentation to Reward Best Customers”