‘Subscription or sign-up to website’ is the most popular email trigger used by both in-house and agency marketers with 46 percent of them using it (2016 Email Census). Not surprising considering welcome emails are also the most opened campaign according to a study from MarketingSherpa.
But while you can have a welcome email with the general idea of ‘Hello, we’re going to send you email updates from now on’, this type of campaign is capable of so much more. In a recent webinar I presented with our Strategy Consultant, Rob Amos, we discussed how automation can lead the way to First-Person Marketing, which can give you more than the occasional boost in sales from a blanket email.
What is First-Person Marketing?
You’ve probably seen this term pop up more and more on our blog recently. First-Person Marketing is the evolution of digital marketing, which seeks to make it possible to deliver 1:1 communications at scale. It works by integrating personalisation, automation, integration, and optimisation to ensure the right person gets the right message at the right time via the right channel.
It’s about leveraging customer data from your whole ecosystem – like behavioural data, email metrics, demographics, preferences and purchase history – to enable prediction, testing and refining. This leads to increases in efficiency, intelligence and performance and ultimately can enable true one-to-one communication with your audience, bringing revenue growth while saving time, money and resources.
The role of welcome emails in First-Person Marketing
While the description above sounds promising and perhaps daunting at the same time, don’t let the scale of First-Person Marketing discourage you from adopting it. Yes, it ultimately touches on every part of your marketing strategy, but it’s an iterative process that has to start somewhere; don’t be afraid of small steps.
When it comes to automation, most marketers start with a welcome email. Whether in the form of a single campaign or a program, think of an automated welcome as extending a digital handshake to your customers or subscribers. Apart from just saying ‘Hello,’ focus on setting a standard of communication and brand identity that they can expect from you:
- Explain the benefits of subscribing to your email updates
- Set expectations on type of messaging, frequency and what data is used for
- Use it as a driver to your site, such as a page explaining your company’s story
- Include a welcome offer if it suits your brand – something as simple as an exclusive whitepaper, no booking fee for the first booking or free delivery for retail brands
While the above influences the content that goes in your welcome email, the way to elevate it from marketing as usual to First-Person Marketing is in developing customer intelligence. By gaining insight from observed behaviour like clicks, opens and post-click activity or asking subscribers to indicate their preferences themselves, you can use that data to fuel future communications.
Bringing it to life – the award-winning PetsPyjamas welcome program
No two pet owners are the same, so why should they receive the same emails with the same messaging? That’s why PetsPyjamas didn’t wait for the next opportunity to start tailoring emails, they started with their welcome program and it won them an Engagement & Loyalty award in 2016.
After offering an incentive to purchase, the welcome program filters contacts based on whether they have a loyalty scheme profile and alters the message to either encourage the creation of an account or suggest ways to earn and spend points.
Even if it’s not possible with your company to provide a high level of personalisation from the beginning, rest assured that any data gleaned from automated welcome programs can still generate important data to fuel First-Person Marketing going forward. In the case of PetsPyjamas, sharing data like pet name, breed, birthday or postcode can earn pet owners points and provide data intelligence that fuels future communication plans.
The example below is personalised for a Terrier owner with a banner featuring that specific breed and accessories with the same model (where possible) to make the content of the email relevant in a subtle way.
With increases in email engagement rates and a tenfold increase in revenue from this program, it’s easy to see how well-planned welcome emails, with a view to engaging customers, and collecting more relevant data for use in the future, can help set you on a path to First-Person Marketing from the start.