As shoppers grow increasingly sophisticated in their online behavior, they expect merchants to keep up.
In a recent Salesforce survey, more than 2/3 of customers said that the way a company uses technology is a reflection of how it operates in general. So if you want to stay competitive, there is no going back to basic personalized marketing.
Real-time marketing is becoming mainstream. The necessary tools are becoming more accessible to businesses of any size. And once you've committed to a real-time marketing approach, the challenge is to stay ahead of the industry curve. This requires strategy as much as tech.
We've compiled real-time marketing best practices for e-commerce businesses. The following principles hold true for exclusive offer campaigns as well as broader real-time campaigns.
Respect people's time. If you're pinging them to get their attention, offer real value in your messaging. Present offers that are relevant to each consumer's life. Resist excessive follow-up correspondence and repetitious messaging.
Consumers are smart – they don’t want to be part of a cattle call. Market to people with a focus on building client relationships rather than making a quick buck. It demonstrates respect for the public as well as your own brand, and everyone benefits from it.
Make Communication Easy
The more that visitors communicate with your marketing tools, the more everyone benefits. Each consumer has unique communication patterns and preferences. You need to reach them in as many of their preferred modes as possible.
Be available across platforms. Find customers on their preferred communication platform. And be available as often as possible – ideally, 24/7.
Data is precious and people are rightly wary of their personal data being misused. Follow opt-in protocol whenever possible. Don't ask for outrageous amounts of information. It will only drive people away.
Similarly, practice safety measures to protect yourself against bad actors. Code your offers for redemption to make sure that exclusive offers remain exclusive. Implement tools that can detect blackhat ISPs or other signs of fraudulent behavior, especially during promotional campaigns.
Follow The Data
Collect real-time data as often as possible. First-party data is invaluable. Chatbots and visitor tracking tools on your site are great resources. Refine data on a granular level to decipher which data is truly useful. Analyze data to better understand your customers, their preferences, and their journeys.
Remember: marketing is an ongoing practice, not an isolated project. When you maintain a database longterm, you’re able to perform macro level analysis. Well maintained databases can also power dynamic engagement and Smart Offers. Integrate marketing data with your other business databases whenever possible.
Pursue specificity in all elements of your marketing. This will save you ad dollars in the long-run. Segment your audience to the most granular degree possible. Leverage all data assets at the start – CRM, DMP, third-party data are useful – but don't be satisfied with demographic data alone. First-party data enables specificity.
Make your messaging as specific as possible. This might start with simply inserting a visitor's name in an outreach email. It might mean suggesting products based on their search history. It might mean initiating a chatbot to offer pointed questions that support navigation.
Automate, Automate, Automate
Real-time marketing means engaging every customer and visitor instantaneously, and the only way you can reasonably do that is with automation. This is especially true with exclusive offer campaigns, where individual offers are customized.
Automate customer interactions to cut down on response time. Set-up triggered correspondence to cut down on creative labor hours. Automate offers and messaging customization to avoid human errors.
Test, Analyze, Improve, Repeat
With every interaction is an experiment of sorts – a learning opportunity. Even the most reliable methods can be improved. Employ machine learning to set your campaigns in constant forward motion.
And don’t rest on the success of a few tactics – continue generating new ideas, testing them out on individual customers or small sets of customers. Artificial Intelligence can implement new methods, document the results, analyze and revise and test the next iteration… all while you focus on higher-order concerns.
Manage All Real-Time Marketing Components In One Place
Communication, data, and integration are vital for the customer-facing side of your real-time marketing campaigns. And they're equally important on the back end.
Tracking and coordinating the varied components of a quality offer campaign ultimately requires a human touch. An accessible, customizable management system enables any marketing team to perform at the best of their abilities.