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3 basic ways to increase relevance of communications

According to consumer research we conducted recently with over 1200 UK people, 33% of us think that the majority of the communications and offers we receive from retailers are irrelevant. Despite the software tools available and the focus on using data to create more targeted marketing, there's still an issue with relevance of communications. And we think it's not just confined to retail.

When the relevance of communications is missing...

As consumers, we’re getting more emails than ever and our attention span is getting shorter. So it's getting harder to wow us. Retailers and indeed any business that sells to consumers need to work harder to be relevant. Generic newsletters won't cut it.

33% of us think that the majority of the communications and offers we receive from retailers are irrelevant.

Over time, if the relevance of communications is low it decreases the engagement consumers have with retail businesses. Coupled with the abundance of places to shop, this leads consumers to seek alternatives. As a result retailers end up having to “re-acquire” consumers in a costly manner, when keeping them would be 5 to 6 times cheaper.

In reality the consumer has become used to receiving generic marketing messages. Only a fraction of e-commerce businesses have, as yet, been able to personalise offers and messaging to a point that truly satisfies and engages customers.

How to get more relevant

Do you send the same newsletter to your entire customer base regardless of their value or preferences?

If so then here are a few things you can start to do to make the content of your messages more interesting:

1. As a minimum, split your list into buyers and non-buyers

You'll have people who'll have signed up to your newsletter but for whatever reason they haven't bought. They need to be communicated to differently from your buyers, especially those buyers who've bought more than once. If you're not sure how to do this, then it's worth investing in some affordable software that can help you merge your store data with your email data. If you want to know what kind of options or prices there are for such software then send us an email and we can help you out.

2.  Craft your message accordingly

Clearly you want to convert non-buyers into buyers, but that doesn't mean that week-in-week-out you have to wear them down with hard-sales messages. It just means that you need to subtly provide them with reasons for buying. Referencing customer reviews can be good. As can be short stories relating to positive customer feedback. Then hit them with a first-purchase promotion which incentivises them to buy. Ideally you also want to be able to showcase the most popular products you sell to these non-buyers too.

For customers who've converted the message doesn't need to be as much of a hard sell - tell them about your brand, humanise the experience - this can really help smaller businesses differentiate themselves from the big boys. Tell them about new products, or proposed new products which you'd like their feedback on. Create a dialogue and occasionally reward the most important buyers with a random act of kindness, which will create positive word-of-mouth marketing for your brand.

3. Test, learn and keep that list up to date

The key to testing is to be deliberate about it and document what you're testing; what you hope/expect to happen. The problem with testing on the fly is that you'll forget what you tested and you'll lose some insight that will help you refine your communications on an on-going basis. The other key thing to do is to keep the list up to date in terms of buyers and non-buyers. If a non-buyer purchases on the back of an email you send them then great, but you want to make sure they're moved into your buyers segment thereafter. Again there's software out there that can help with all of this, which can also provide you with additional insight into your customers that can help with your broader marketing tactics to acquire and retain the best customers.