Guide customers through the sale with meaningful content
Betsy Miller, director of marketing at Blueport Commerce
October 28, 2009
The right e-mail at the right time can be a powerful touch point with your customer. At its best, meaningful e-mail content can complement the salesperson in-store and extend the reach of their relationship with customers. Content can be a particularly pivotal tool for cross-channel retailers or retailers with products/services that have a longer purchase cycle – those ‘big ticket' items that require a customer to make several trips to your store or website before making the decision to buy.
In these scenarios, it will be the variety of content and not just the relevance that will help to guide your customers through the sale and hopefully, retain their loyalty for future purchases.
Here are some tips for connecting with your customer through every phase of the buying cycle:
Inspiration: Similar to the way a customer might visit a bricks and mortar store to check out new or seasonal merchandise, use ‘what's new' content to emphasize new products, top sellers or trends that will inspire the customer to make a purchase.
Research: Particularly in the case of ‘big ticket' items, once inspired, customers typically set out to do more research before making the purchase. Use emails to highlight why your product is better and why the customer should purchase it from you. Content here should not be saturated with marketing language, but rather be clever, surprising and creative.
Localize: The importance of localized content cannot be underestimated for ‘big ticket' purchases. Give customers an option to get more information about the product, drive traffic into stores, and provide reassurance that their order will be handled by a local store team available for assistance if needed.
Advice: In using email to make the sale, I often see retailers forgetting to use this opportunity to educate the customer and establish a deeper relationship. Sending an email offering customers ‘how to' tips might not necessarily translate in to an immediate purchase, but it will build a longer term relationship that will no doubt contribute to conversion down the road.
Cost: Product cost comparison invariably plays a critical role in the decision making process for big ticket items, so don't forget to highlight any promotions or offers that may be available for customers at this point.
Purchase: Finally, entice the customer in the final steps of the buying cycle by offering a discount, coupon or incentive to bring the sale in.
Beyond relevance, giving customers a wide variety of meaningful and interesting email content can be key to guiding them through the sale and establishing a deeper relationship. With this approach, email quickly becomes an integral component of a holistic sales cycle and not just the closer.