We bang on about open rates, click-through rates and click-to-open rates, but is this what really matters? In my opinion, the answer is no. What we should really be looking at to measure success is customer engagement. It’s not highly scientific, it’s fairly subjective, but it gives you a real understanding of your customers – and insight that you can use to create even better, more personalised, more targeted marketing campaigns.
Engagement scoring is something that’s traditionally used in the B2B and sales world – but it has a place in B2C marketing too. By measuring engagement, you can create a strategy to target your customers with the right message, at the right time, depending upon where they are in the ‘funnel’ (or how close they are to making a purchase). I love all this stuff – I love playing the numbers game, analysing my work and finding evidence that it’s working (or not working!) to inform strategy. Because if you don’t have evidence, it’s all just guesswork really.
How do you know whether your customers are engaged?
To identify a customer’s level of engagement, you need to look at their behaviours and the way they interact with your marketing efforts over a period of time. A click-through and conversion on one email campaign is a good result for that particular product – but it’s not until you can identify which customers regularly open, click through and convert that you can see who your brand ambassadors are. On top of that, if those customers are sharing your content across social media, championing your brand with their network, that means they’re highly engaged – and they’re a segment of your audience that you want to look after. So start by asking yourself some simple questions:
- Who is your customer?
- Have they made an enquiry or asked for more details about a product/service?
- Which social networks do they use? Have they liked, retweeted or shared any of your content?
- How often do they open emails from you? How often do they click? How often do they buy?
- How often do they visit your website and what do they look at?
The answers to these questions provide you with some insight that can help you to create highly targeted segments of your audience, based on how engaged they are with your brand. You’re painting a nice picture of your prospective customers, repeat customers, and those who you’re talking at but not having a conversation with.
One thing to bear in mind is this kind of intelligence is not black and white – and a customer’s level of engagement will change over time. That’s why it’s important to approach measurement and analysis of marketing ROI and customer engagement in an agile way.
So once you have the information, how do you use it?
Identify your target segments and treat them as individuals. It’s all about personalisation – sending the right message, to the right customer, at the right time. So those brand champions that are raving about you and your products? Target them with a loyalty scheme or referral offers for introducing a friend. Or at the other end of the scale – plan and implement re-engagement campaigns for those customers you’re emailing but not getting through to. Welcome back discounts and special offers are all good tactics to try – and although the success rate of the campaign is likely to be low, you will get a few contacts to re-engage and you’ll know to archive a few more. All good for keeping your database clean. What about people who’ve unsubscribed from your newsletters? How do you get through to them? Think social media. A promoted post with a free white paper or special offer can encourage them to sign up again. These types of social content are also great for reaching new customers outside of your usual circles – and best of all, they’re a quick, cheap and quantifiable way of getting results.
Many email marketing platforms now offer engagement profiling in some way – Sign-Up.to assigns your contacts a star rating, calculated using a complex algorithm to try and provide a quantitative measure of an abstract concept. Dotmailer’s engagement scoring tool gives you a degree of flexibility and control of how to score your customers that I like, as it means you can manipulate the data for your own needs, rather than relying on an established formula that doesn’t take into account the quirks of your business and your customers.
Give it a try - and then measure how successful it is! Have a look at conversion rates before and after you've implemented an engagement strategy, and you should see a significant improvement for both existing customers and new customers. Let me know how it goes!