Getting the Basics Right, Really Does Deliver Results

    Phill Manson | Head of Key Accounts

    Let’s face it, us sales and marketing professionals are fickle. There, I said it. We always want to be a part of the latest fad to try it out and see if it really works and prove our suppliers, internal teams, customers and even competitors right or wrong.

    We’re all guilty of over complicating things, chasing the utopia of one-to-one communication; tweaking a conversion dial or two; chasing that .25% increase in conversion, but are we missing the bigger picture?

    What Does the Bigger Picture Look Like?

    Would our efforts not be better suited to re-testing some of our staple activity? Like newsletter segmentation or website activity? We all know that activity on our website is one of the best measurements of customer engagement but has our previous research left us with segments too broad or maybe too narrow? Can we even produce all of the content needed for each of these segments? Customer preferences and what they expect from your brand are developing far faster than ever before, but as marketers are we keeping up with them?  

    In a previous life I worked in inside sales, my team were tasked with delivering qualified leads to a dedicated sales team. Now, there are two options available to you to generate those leads. You either ‘spray & pray’, making 100-150 calls per day and hope that you get that illusive appointment or you invest the time to get to know your potential customer and make 25-35 highly targeted calls to individuals with a personalised approach. There is a time and a place for each approach but I know which one worked the best and the same still applies in the digital world today.

    Having said that, newsletter broadcasts still have a place in the marketing mix but they need to become more intelligent as customers expect more from us as brands:

    • Can you make use of different ‘friendly froms’ or subject lines to target different segments?

    • Have you run tests to find out if prospects and customers use your website differently? Should this dictate different email content or a bespoke website journey for each segment?

    • Can you use the information held in online personas to show users different email content based on what other similar personas previously browsed?

    • Are you contacting customers too little and they’re getting distracted by competitors or are you mailing them too often and they’re unsubscribing?

    What Does Success Look Like For You?

    Have you set and agreed measurements with the relevant areas of the business (ROI, Conversion Rate etc)?

    What you should do to ensure success:

    • Continually measure and review processes

    • Ensure your mailing practices are right for all customers. Too little or too much?

    • Keep testing and learning

    • Start small (or in this case large, with big wide segments), prove the business case, then if required divide the segments again

    • Take inspiration from others. What is the market place doing? Look outside your own industry sector for new best practices

    • Talk to your suppliers – what benchmarks do they have and how do you measure up?

    • Stop working in silos. Acquisition and retention channels need to work closely together but don’t forget to include any analytics or conversion teams in the conversation

    • Regardless of channels, at the end of the day we’re all vying for the attention of the same customer so we need to ensure that messaging is consistent

    • Don’t be afraid to fail. There is no such thing as an unsuccessful test

    • Re-test! Are the ‘day of the week’ and ‘time of day’ tests you ran 6/12 months ago still valid?

    In summary, it’s not sexy, it’s sometimes not even fun but getting the basics right delivers results. Growing your email revenue is the ultimate goal and by focusing on getting the basics right and building a stable platform for future growth, the goal is within reach.