Roller Coasters – you love them or you hate them, but everyone knows riding them is a total thrill. They’re exciting because they take you through an emotional landscape of fear, anticipation, joy and even trust. The best part about them is that they give you an experience.
Today at BlueHornet we’re celebrating Roller Coaster Day because we’ve learned a couple of things from roller coasters that might just help companies take their customers on an emotional journey too. Effective marketing appeals to emotion and not to reason.
According to a study by Media Dynamics, Inc., a consumer is exposed to approximately 5,000 marketing messages a day and only 12 of them will make a lasting impression. Essentially, breaking through thousands of messages is only possible if a brand’s message stands out and a message stands out if it is worthy of interaction. But then what? How can companies make their marketing messages stand out AND take their prospects through the sales funnel effectively?
While all acquisition channels are saturated, email continues to be the preferred and leading acquisition tactic for most companies. If a brand is ready to start loading up on passengers for their email marketing campaign, it is essential that they understand the customer journey they’re inviting prospects on and match it up with their sales funnel.
Attracting Ride Goers & Creating Emotional Connections
A great ride consists of just the right balance of excitement, thrill and satisfaction and acquisition plays a deep role in this by leveraging storytelling. Effective storytelling considers a user’s feelings and motivations, but also addresses and questions them.
A great story will do three things: establish deeper value, alleviate psychological pain and eliminate regret.
1. Establish Deeper Value
In the initial stage of the sales funnel, a company is educating a consumer. Their content is aimed at being helpful, valuable and informative. Content should center around what the products can do for the consumer. By focusing on the benefits, and not the features, a brand can shift the value of the conversation.
2. Alleviate Psychological Pain
This is a good time to leverage pain points in copy. For example, fitness goddess Betty Rocker’s subscribers want to avoid obesity. The brand builds the relationship with its subscribers by demonstrating expertise and displaying the value of their services by offering subscribers a free 30-day exercise program.
3. Eliminate Regret
Have you ever heard of the paradox of choice? In essence, too many product and service choices frustrate and overwhelm people. In many cases, too many options translate to fewer sales and less customer satisfaction. Narrow down the campaign to one or two points and focus on expressing value and demonstrating expertise.
Going on the Ride & Creating Interactions (Weeeee!)
In order for a brand to successfully onboard a ride-goer onto its email campaign, it has to remove any objections that the prospect might have. Using proven content can help a brand instantly relate to and move beyond the interest phase. Using content sites like BuzzSumo, Reddit, YouTube, Google trends, Dig and Imgur can help you find content that your subscribers care about. Headlines have been validated and are already getting tons of shares so you can gain more momentum from this content.
Introducing targeted and contextual content at this point is also appropriate, as information has likely already been gathered about preferences and interest level. This is where technology and automation can streamline communication and create a personalized and interactive experience for the subscriber. Marketers can add content that populates dynamically in email marketing campaigns based on geography, time and click behavior at the time of open.
For more insight into creating a targeted and relevant message worthy of interaction, don’t forget to look at analytical research from website data, check out stats from social media channels (as well as checking in on sites like Social Mention) and review search data trends to deliver the right information. Remember that data doesn’t have all the answers. Anecdotal research from polling customers can help marketers gain insights and develop case studies too.
Getting Customers to Enjoy the Ride (and convert!)
This is the phase where a brand can really escalate the relationship with the subscriber. If a subscriber is having a great experience with a brand’s content and a brand has successfully delivered messaging that has built trust, authority and confidence with the subscriber, there’s no better time to start discussing specific benefits of a product or service and really showcasing its features. If the value is evident, discounts or promotions may not be necessary, but offering a free trial or test can be a great way to continue building a stronger, positive relationship. Urgency can come into play in this phase as well. Creating a sense of scarcity tells the readers that this is the time to act.
This is also a great place to segment customers who have purchased and create cross sell and upsell campaigns that offer more value. Here’s an example from Spotify.
Spotify offers their existing subscribers already on the free Spotify service an upgrade to the premium service with a 30 day-free trial which guarantees ad-free and internet-free listening, high definition sound and more.
Lastly, there’s arguably no better way of turning visitors into customers than by optimizing the customer experience. Companies that do this successfully focus on usability and user-centric design, a/b, multivariate and usability testing, analytics and performance as well as cart abandonment analysis. These aspects are really the foundational structure of the entire funnel and help companies determine where there’s drop off.
Creating Repeat Business & Advocacy
Educational and value driven emails should be a consistent component of an email marketing strategy. This shouldn’t stop after a company has won the subscriber’s business. When a company can create a sales funnel that is aimed at driving repeat business from its customers, they develop fans, which turns customers into advocates. Quite frankly, moving into this stage of a relationship is the most valuable place to bring customers in the marketing funnel.
Continuing to offer helpful content and great service is a sure fire way to develop customer loyalty. Check out this email from Canva. They do an excellent job at checking in with their customers and continuing to offer helpful and educational content that drives interaction.
What if customers are on a bumpy ride? What if the ride results in frustrated users and leaks in the sales funnel? Continually evaluating KPI’s can help find breaks in the sales funnel and smooth out where drop-off is happening as well as determine whether there are gaps between systems, devices or even departments.
Another common mistake in marketing strategy is throwing out dormant or non-interactive emails. Loss of business from this group is typically the result of a company’s lack in segmenting, targeting and automated messaging. Hands-down one of the biggest reasons subscribers get to this dormant stage is because of inconsistent follow-up from companies and a lack of educational and valuable emails, follow up emails and relevant, targeted content.
According to JMJ Direct, 48% of sales reps never follow-up with a prospect, only 10% of sales reps make more than 3 contacts with a prospect and 80% of sales close between the 5th and 12th contact. If a company isn’t able to follow up quick enough on interaction, they’ll benefit from automation. According to a Lead Response Management study, if a company waits more than 30 minutes to follow up, then a lead is 21 times less likely to turn into a sale. Whoa!
There you have it! The customer journey in a sales funnel is like a roller coaster. There are many twists and turns, ups and downs on the email marketing bandwagon, but that doesn’t mean the ride can’t be valuable, enjoyable and a total success. If a customer chooses to go on a ride with you, it’s your job to give them an amazing and memorable experience.
Ready to discuss a killer email marketing campaign strategy that can catapult your prospects into loyal fans and repeat business? Connect with the BlueHornet strategic services team for a FREE email campaign consultation and learn more about using contextual content, targeting and automation to take your program to the next level.