How Predictive Marketing Automation Can Solve Your Email Timing Problems

Everyone wants to send the right message to the right person at the right time.

For many, finding the right message and the right person are fairly easy. There are a handful of tools you can use to segment your list and use that segment to drive the right message to the right people.

The larger challenge, for most marketers, is delivering it in a timely manner. Especially when the timeline changes for each individual customer.

In a recent interview on our podcast Jamie Field, Senior Account Executive at Windsor Circle, explained how predictive marketing automation can solve that problem.

What Predictive Looks Like

Someone who owns a brick-and-mortar store knows who their very best customers are. If they don’t come in for two months, they are able to say, “It’s been a long time. We miss you.” Whereas, for your average customer, you’re not necessarily going to say that after two months.

The predictive piece for online retailers is focused on delivering appropriate timing. A lot of that requires things like data science, crunching algorithms, and identifying purchasing trends.

How do people understand what’s out there and layer on top of what they already have?

It’s one of the most common questions Jamie gets: “I’m on MailChimp (or Bronto), so why do I need yet another predictive solution to enhance what I’m doing within that platform?”

The short answer is, email platforms from their origin were built to have rockstar deliverability, easy drag-and-drop content, etc. That’s their bread and butter, and only recently have they started incorporating data.

But to that end, the email companies aren’t investing heavily in data science, or things like identifying your gifters from your non-gifters. That’s not their core competency.

A predictive marketing solution with data at its core helps you get polished data into your email software, as well as determining that proper timing we talked about.

Let’s take a step back. How does email automation save time and money?

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At a super high level, the massive advantage to email automation is that you’re responding to user action or inaction—somebody putting an item in their cart and forgetting, or signing up for a newsletter. Then you’re using that data to send them a personalized message in their inbox. Marketing automation is timed emails designed to engage with a customer at the right time in their buying cycles.

The biggest benefits:

  1. By automating content, it decreases the amount of time you’re curating content and sending it out.
  2. It allows your customers to receive consistent green emails that are reusable, because customers are getting them at different times in their own lifecycle with your brand.

That’s the high level overview.

Here’s the important low-hanging fruit to go after early on: if a customer engages by signing up for a newsletter, you need to get them into some sort of nurturing campaign. A welcome series for new subscribers, a purchase series for people who bought for the first time…

Then 80% of the outcome comes from 20% of the input. You’ll find your best customers this way.

What are we looking for in automation? What are the most important metrics?

Email marketing has evolved over time, and there are so many more data points to dig into. Previously, the success of an email marketer was identified by how well customers were engaging with the content and how well they clicked through.

Now, we’re swimming in a sea of data. We’re able to look at more of the vital statistics.

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We’re able to examine things like customer lifetime value and get off this idea of an acquisition treadmill where you’re bringing in new and new customers. Think of the leaky bucket analogy: you spend all this money bringing them in, but you’re not thinking about their long-term value to your brand.

Retention rates go hand in hand with that. How efficient are you with your acquisition dollars? If you’re spending a boatload acquiring customers but having trouble keeping them around, those dollars are poorly spent.

So in summary, here are the most important metrics (for retailers in particular):

  1. Lifetime value of customers
  2. Retention rate
  3. Ratio of acquisition spend to lifetime value

In terms of frequency of engagement, how do you decide how much is too much?

One of the biggest questions people have regarding marketing automation is “Am I losing control of the message I’m sending?” There’s validity to that: you don’t want to inundate your customers with five post-purchase emails asking if they want to buy again.

The sweet spot for campaigns is around 6-12 different focused touchpoints throughout a customer’s lifecycle. Keep in mind, these are going out at different times; the customer isn’t getting all 12 at once.

Conclusion

Windsor Circle is one such predictive marketing platform. If you’re an online retailer and you want to get in touch with Jamie to see if Windsor Circle is a good fit, email jamie.field@windsorcircle.com.

This episode is based on an interview with Jamie Field from Windsor Circle. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Hawke Media Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

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