A call-to-action at the wrong time in the wrong place?
How do you feel when a pushy shop assistant approaches you the minute you enter a shop?
When an email consisting of nothing but a hard-sell call-to-action lands in your customer's inbox, this probably makes them feel the same way.
I recently received an email to promote an industry event out of the blue:
The “Register Now” link took me to a landing page that contained little information besides ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘where’.
On the basis of this scant information I had a choice - register or leave the page. As I had never heard of the brand or event, I left.
Give email recipients compelling timely reasons to respond
Using "Learn More" instead of "Register Now" might have encouraged me to spend some time checking out the company, perhaps ending in a conversion after all.
A landing page featuring in-depth information, such as an article or press release, a list of people or companies planning to attend or recommendations from past attendees, might have been more persuasive.
However, this call-to-action arrived at an inopportune time in my buying cycle, so even a more persuasive call-to-action and a compelling landing page were unlikely to convert me. It's vital to establish when your customer is ready to buy.
And, a complex sale, or a sale with a long consideration cycle, shouldn’t rely on a single email.
Four sources of insight to shape your email communication strategy
Combining and using all the customer knowledge and insight you have to shape your emails is the only reliable way to improve your email results.
Here are four valuable kinds of customer data; and you may already have identified others:
1. Email analytics. Find out who opens and/or clicks regularly and who's apparently comatose on your email list.
2. Search keywords. The longer or more specific the keyword string, the closer people are to acting.
3. Customer and email subscriber surveys. A survey is the fastest way to find out where customers and prospects are in their buying cycle. Customer profiles will give you even more detailed information. It is vital to ask customers how close they are to a purchase decision - this classic business-to-business approach works equally well in business-to-consumer markets but it isn’t always used.
Perhaps only a fraction of your subscribers will fill out a survey or profile. But, if you keep them uncomplicated and easy to complete, you should still get enough data to draw some valuable conclusions.
4. Website browse data. Where do your customers land? How long do they stay? Do they burrow deep into product pages for product specs or do they bounce from page to page? This data can help you create relevant calls-to-action that move customers through the funnel.
Don’t underestimate the power of the right call-to-action!
Once you’ve established who's mildly interested in your products and who's ready to give you their credit card number, this data can be used to segment your database and create relevant messages and carefully targeted calls-to-action.
Then you’re ready to test which call-to-action works best for each segment.
Even if you don’t have the data to create segments, you can still conduct a simple A/B split test to show whether "Buy Now" generates more response than "Learn More".
Another important point concerns which test metrics you should measure.
‘Call-to-action A’ might produce more landing page clickthroughs but ‘Call-to-action B’ might generate more actual conversions.
Ensure you create landing pages to support your call-to-action; provide more information for site visitors who aren't ready to commit, such as links to product spec sheets or agendas.
Think about other value events besides conversion
An email can generate many valuable outcomes for a brand.
For example, promoting and providing links to your email newsletters gives people who aren't ready to buy a chance to sign up and develop a relationship with your brand.
Last year Google released data revealing only 1 in 9 landing page visitors converted, so getting permission to email the remaining 8 is another potentially valuable outcome.
Perhaps of most long-term value to a brand, every email offers an opportunity for the brand to develop its relationship with customers.
Treat each email as a bridge to your customers rather than as a solitary promotion; a great opportunity to find out all kinds of information to increase the relevance of your communications.
Use customer information to shape email content and calls-to-action around customer needs and you create a virtuous circle of communication that should continue to grow in value to both the brand and its customers.