Know your customers and know them well

Recently I wrote about the value of an email. The post was about an email costing you more, so you should provide more value in the email for the receiving party. One of the factors involved here is knowing your audience: if you know what type of content your customers appreciate then it will make your life simpler.
For some companies knowing customer behaviour and preferences is easier than for others. The importance of this knowledge should not be underestimated however: imagine handing those customers exactly the content they want, and surprise them with more? It will create a wow-effect (Zappos family core value #1) which will be remembered for quite some time.
The types of data you can use can seem endless, but focussing on some core parts will already let you build up cool email campaigns in no time. Some pointers as to how to get that data, and how to use it:
– User reviews of your product(s) and/or services. How do you know if your product is any good? By asking the customers, and providing services to let them speak out: on or off the record.
– Customer satisfaction surveys. Never underestimate the importance of what a customer thinks of your company’s service. It’s a goldmine for smaller and bigger tips, issues and guides towards improving your service level, even in ways you had not thought about.
– Basic profile data. For segmentation purposes this will let you make some basic groups and provide content based on that, together with the next point
– A preferences center. If you don’t have one for your email communications, get one now. Let people decide what they want to receive, how often and maybe even on what days, and analyze those preferences: adjust your campaigns accordingly.
The above should provide a basis for further data-collecting, and applying it to several campaigns. Some examples include a ‘you bought X, maybe interested in Y?’ campaign, and a ‘you bought X, why not say what you think of it?’. Furthermore a timeline campaign: asking customers what they think of your company and services, and repeat that: don’t just do it once but several times in a several year stretch. There are many more options, but these are just some examples to execute with the above data.
What it boils down to is this: if you provide your customers with content suited to their needs (or exceeding them), your email campaigns will not only be more succesful: your customers will be more satisfied too. Most importantly you will be able to tell how each customer feels about your service and company: one of the most important factors in doing business well.

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