Email Marketing & Display Ads

With the world continually evolving in a more technologically advanced way, it is becoming more and more important to remain focused on how we are engaging with clients, current and prospective.   Email campaigns have been the most affordable way to advertise to consumers for many years running. And many marketing managers continue to see this as the trend.

So, what are the latest and greatest trends? What can we expect to see in the near future with regard to mind blowing email campaigns?

No one really knows. But there are a lot of great ideas, upgrades and technology trends that should be paid attention to in order to stay relevant and on the edge of what consumers want to see.  Throughout the year what consumers want changes, and it will continue to change. One minute they are enticed by images and infographics, and in the next all of the focus is on the subject line of the email.  Regardless of the trend, the truly important part is staying on top of them and being proactive to educate yourself and your company on what the top marketers are doing.

In looking at those in the know, we are learning of new ways to gain emails from potential consumers, and Jason Hawkins at Search Engine Journal tells us that using pop-ups on your website is a trend that we will see more and more as we transition into 2016.

As consumers, we have become conditioned to passing out our information in exchange for information we want, but we have also learned how to turn off annoying pop-ups.  But, the latest trend will show us that using these pop-ups in conjunction with a win-win outcome for the consumer will encourage them to willingly give marketers what they want in return for the remainder of the information they (the consumer) want.  These pop-ups have been said to grow your email 5 to 10 times faster than traditional signups.

These pop-ups are called lightboxes, and Jason shows us two of the trending formats.  The first type of lightbox is the one that appears when the user’s cursor scrolls into the browser, called an exit overlay, aptly named I must say.  This is the least offensive of the pop-ups to my estimation, as the end user has already decided to leave the site or continue their search elsewhere.  This method is more polite in that there is no real interruption for the consumer. However, this method is only applicable for desktops, as there are no cursors on mobile.

The second type is based on time or depth in a page.  This method will definitely interrupt the user, but it is set to trigger during peak engagement within the site. If you have their attention and then ask for their information, the likelihood that they will comply is high.  You have captured the consumer’s attention with your site information and as long as their still thinking favorably about your site, data indicates that they will give you what you want regardless of whether it is needed in order for them to continue on within the site.  Of the two methods this one is mobile friendly, yet more intrusive.

Regardless of the pop-up method used, the facts stand that these work to increase your email capture.  There are many varieties and they are worth looking into if email marketing is a substantial part of your marketing strategy.  The more email addresses you have to send to, the higher the potential conversion rate.

Gamification & Retention

In a world with so many options, retailers and companies are looking for alternative ways to retain their customers. In doing so they are thinking outside the box and combining the fun of gaming with the ability to gain and retain loyal customers.

Retention can be costly, so if a company can keep a customer happy and coming back through traditional outlets, that is great, but unlikely. A study showed that by increasing customer retention rates by a mere 5%, a business has the potential for increasing their profits between 25% and 95%. But, with so many options for consumers that is getting harder and harder to do.

One of the key components of retention is listening to your customers and giving them what they feel is a good incentive to keep coming back. Whether that is in the form of a loyalty program or discount, customized communication or something entertaining, it is important to make your customers feel important.  That feeling of importance or belonging will foster an ongoing relationship between you, building brand loyalty.

So, what better way to incentivize your customer than introducing gamification? What might that be, you ask? Gamification, in a nut shell, is the introduction “of game-thinking in non-game contexts.”  It’s the process of borrowing pieces of games and applying them to areas of business, allowing one’s competitive nature to thrive.

By introducing games to the consumer cycle, you are adding a non-traditional component to your marketing pyramid.  This, not only makes your company unique, but it allows for your most loyal customers to further increase their engagement with your brand.  This increased engagement will also increase the likelihood of consumer reviews, positive word-of-mouth, and unpaid advertising through social media shares.  All by adding a game.

One example of gamification that has been proven to work is the rewards program through Starbucks. They reward you for purchasing through their app, at their stores, buying products online and/or at your regular grocer.  They get you excited about their brand and engage you on several levels. Add to that the gaming aspect of ‘winning’ free stuff, and you have a marketing campaign that has paid for itself in droves.  And they even market it by stating “Play Starbucks for Life”, and the link is labelled ‘Join to Play’.  Who doesn’t want to play a game?!

Another example is going to the grocery store and being rewarded ‘points’ for buying things you need.  Chains are rewarding your purchasing behavior in various ways, knowing that you have options on where to shop, they are rewarding you for picking their doors to walk through.  Those points can mean dollars off on a future visit or cents off on gas, but regardless of what it is, you are being rewarded for being a regular customer.  You are a pawn in the marketing chess game and retailers are using incentives to get you in the door and to keep coming back.

Using simple gaming tactics can increase brand loyalty, which increases the bottom line. Companies that are actively engaged with their current clients are increasing that customer’s lifetime value, which is often more profitable than looking and luring in new customers.  As we mentioned, customer acquisition and retention is expensive, so increasing your current customers loyalty, and therefore return rate, is a highly profitable way to do business.