Saturday, April 10, 2010

Five Steps to Improved Customer Engagement Through Email

According to Peter McCormick, co-founder of one-to-one communications firm ExactTarget, there are five steps for engaging customers via email.
  1. Express Gratitude: According to McCormick, fewer than 50% of marketers send a welcoming email thanking a customer for accepting communication from a brand. This should be the first step after a customer provides their email address. This communication also sets the tone for future dialogue so this is a great time to include a coupon for expansion of the banking relationship and/or a research report or white paper for a B2B client.
  2. Take a Genuine Interest: Let the customer tell you about their communication needs and interests to enable more relevant content delivery. A preference center can achieve this where a customer expresses what they want to know going forward.
  3. Let Customers Talk and Share: Embed social network icons directly within your email that is sent so your customer can share offers and research with friends. In addition, invite customers to contribute to your bank's blog.
  4. Know Your Brand Advocates: Reward those customers that respond to emails, contribute to blogs and share your offers. Expand the loyalty and engagement by inviting those customers who are brand advocates to special events where they can further discuss and share their experiences. Email provides the springboard to a much stronger social media strategy.
  5.  Build a VIP Area: Create private subscriber-only access to social networking groups, events, and special resources that address the needs expressed in step 2. This heightened level of engagement not only rewards the customer for their loyalty and engagement, but also provides a source of insight not available through traditional channels.
There is no doubt banks are getting better at leveraging the power of email and social networks. The most progressive organizations are now beginning to differentiate their email communication based on customer engagement and benefiting from improved insight which can assist in future customer service and product development.

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