When Is Big Brother Helpful?
At some time or another, most Internet users — especially those who make purchases online — ask themselves just how much of their personal information is “out there.” Are we coming dangerously close to living with a Big Brother who knows everything about us? It’s a valid concern, but as marketers are aware, the more you know about your customers, the better you can serve them.
Be the Big Brother, not who spies on them, but who looks out for their best interests. One example of a helpful approach to being a Big Brother is Web site re-engagement: sending e-mails to opt-in customers who visit your site but leave without making a purchase.
The proof is in the numbers:
- Typical Web site re-engagement campaigns generate open rates greater than 50 percent, clickthrough rates greater than 35 percent and sales per e-mail four to 10-plus times higher than those generated by standard e-mail programs — including targeted campaigns going to carefully segmented lists. (See the table at the end of this article for an example.)
- Unsubscribe rates, complaint rates through feedback loops and direct-to-company complaint rates aren't significantly different for re-engagement e-mails than for regularly scheduled monthly e-mail campaigns.
Having a way of engaging, and re-engaging, customers with the sole purpose of letting them know ways in which you can meet their needs is essential. Seeing what opt-in customers do while visiting your site, and following up with them via e-mail after they leave, is a powerful tool that, when used respectfully, provides customers with the highest level of service and, ultimately, satisfaction.
Take, for example, a customer who visits your Web site and leaves without making a purchase. Traditionally, companies have only tried to re-engage that customer if he or she placed items in a shopping cart. The method of re-engagement typically used is an in-the-face, intrusive pop-up offer. This is unsatisfactory for a number of reasons: In addition to the intrusiveness of the pop-up, more than 90 percent of Web site visitors never reach the shopping cart stage!