How Moments of Meaning Deliver Magical Results for Your Email Program
Your subscribers hand over their email addresses for a reason. Nobody signs up voluntarily just to be marketed to — they expect something from you in return. If you aim to get return on investment from all those acquisition investments you’ve made, then start giving your subscribers the meaningful moments they’re hoping for, starting today.
Even in the Realm of Digital Marketing, Actions Really Do Speak Louder Than Words
What actions do your email subscribers want from you, exactly? Depends on who they are, where they’re at in life, and what they hope to achieve next. But just about every customer has a few core desires in common with every other one:
- to get help thinking their choices through;
- to feel like someone is listening to what they're saying;
- to feel good about how they spend their money;
- to learn something new they can use and pass on to others; and
- to engage with people and brands they admire and trust.
To guide your subscribers through the next few steps of their journey toward a conversion — and beyond — start by pinpointing the unique ways your customers express those desires, and the shapes they want solutions to take.
Here’s how to start zeroing in on those desires, and designing your own custom solution for addressing them in your email campaigns.
‘Meaningful’ Means Different Things to Different Customers
We’ve all got our own ideas about what really matters in the world. For many of us, family comes first. A lot of us also place a high value on our careers, the environment, and staying up-to-date on culture and world events. Parents want to give their kids the best possible start in life. Dog owners want new ways to pamper their pooches.
On the most basic level, you can create moments of meaning with your email subscribers by personalizing each piece of content to speak to their most immediate needs and interests, in a way that connects with the issues they care about most and that points toward their aspirations for their futures.
For example, Amazon Smile creates shared moments of meaning by enabling customers to donate a portion of each purchase to a charity of their choice. The appeal of these personalized components? Each customer gets to choose their own charity, and choose which products they buy to support that charity. Spotify, on the other hand, greets listeners on each sign-in with personalized “Discover Weekly” and “Release Radar” playlists, whose song recommendations are often so spot-on that they feel curated by a lifelong friend.
When You Understand What’s Meaningful, You Can Provide What’s Useful
Surprising as this might sound, a full 62 percent of millennial parents make impulse purchases in response to promotional emails. This is particularly true during the holiday season, when shopping schedules shift into high gear. The first step toward driving those purchases, of course, is to make sure your subscribers don’t delete your emails before you get a chance to make the offer.
How do you make it past that initial round of email filters, both automated and manual? By building trust. Nearly 50 percent of millennials will continue to buy from a brand they trust, even if they know of a cheaper option. However, millennials, of course, are highly sales savvy. They’re tired of getting spammed with recommendations for products similar to ones they already own. Most of the time, they send those emails straight to the trash.
The most effective way to deliver product recommendations that connect, then, is not to repeat what customers already know about their preferences and purchases, but to surprise them. Recommend new products that point the way to where they’re heading, instead of reinforcing where they’ve already been.
Don’t Just Provide Recommendations — Stimulate New Ways of Thinking
Beer brand Heineken recently undertook a radical social experiment. Instead of creating a video ad that just showed people of all creeds and walks of life drinking its beer (as many similar brands would), Heineken recruited people from the far left and right of the political spectrum, stuck pairs of them inside a warehouse, and asked them to assemble pieces of furniture as teams.
The result is a life-affirming video that feels strangely personalized for people on the far left and right — and for everyone in between. This video doesn’t just tell people, “Drink Heineken” — it frames a current social problem (extreme political divides) in a qualitatively different light, inspiring viewers not only to buy the product, but to think more deeply about their own place on the political spectrum, and which friends and family members they might reach out to in a similar way — perhaps over a beer or two.
In this Heineken example, the person on the left and the person on the right are finding out that they have more in common than they have differences. That’s a great metaphor for how commonalities in seemingly disparate data sets can be brought together to create shared moments of meaning. When you leverage data to break the cycle of safe, repetitive recommendations, and take the risk of suggesting a product your customers haven’t expressed interest in yet, you create a shared moment of truth between you and your customer. That moment can build serious trust that will last for years to come.
Your subscribers respect when you invest the resources to deliver recommendations that feel tailor-made just for them. What’s more, they’re inspired by content that provokes new ways of thinking and feeling about their purchases, their lives, and their place in the world around them. Do this right, and it feels like magic — and that magic is a gift that will keep on giving throughout your customer’s lifetime.
James Glover is the co-founder and CEO of Coherent Path, an email marketing optimization and email personalization solutions provider.
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