No one knows better than we do the value of email when it comes to sending your customers real-time, personalized campaigns. Our roots are in email, and we love its near-universal power to reach everyone across the world with your message.
But it’s essential for all of us to realize the potential of mobile push and SMS. They’re incredible tools too, and they’ll take your customer relationship to the next level if you can use them correctly.
If you want to be personalized and relevant, though, you should recognize the strengths and optimization opportunities for these channels. There are types of messages and campaigns that typically work best with email while others are more useful for your customers if done via mobile channels.
Let’s look at a few industries and see some examples of how email, mobile push, and SMS can work together to seamlessly deliver a complete, personalized and helpful experience to your customers.
For travel marketers, timing is everything. Send a customer dining recommendations too long before a trip, and they’re not in the mindset yet. Send them too late, and they’re halfway through the trip already.
For the customer to feel understood and catered to, you need to be able to reach them with not only the right message at the right time, but also on the most appropriate channel for that particular message, whether that’s based upon specified customer preference or your own.
If a customer has booked a trip and you want to recommend hotel partners, email can be a good option for that. You can do a lot visually with the email to make the hotels appealing, from pictures of the lobby/rooms to shots of the beach view out the window.
The customer can then open the email at their convenience, saving it to visit later or keeping the page open in a tab on their desktop for later that evening when they’ll be in a position to potentially make a purchase.
If you’re sending flight delay notifications, it’s essential that you’re building that campaign to go straight to their phone. This is key information that can impact quite a bit about their day of travel, from when to leave for the airport to how much time they’ll have for their layover.
The same is true for gate changes, which may not be a big deal for non-stop travelers, but can be massively important for those changing planes.
Especially if the delay comes within a couple of hours of the flight, they’re probably either at the airport or en route, meaning they’re not terribly likely to be checking their email to see the delay notification if that’s the only place you send it.
Margins are tight in retail, so customer loyalty is key. You need customers to know that they’re going to get an unmatched experience whenever they interact with your brand so they’ll return time and time again, along with telling their friends to shop with you.
The right content can help with that, but so can a coordinated, in-sync cross-channel messaging strategy that’s smart about how it incorporates email and mobile push/SMs into the orchestrations you build.
One type of message that works well for email is purchase confirmations. With most email clients, it’s easy to save these into a folder if you want, or even to print them out if you need a paper copy for your records.
Not to mention, email search makes it simple to find them later if you need to access them to confirm what you purchased or for tax purposes, depending upon what you bought. It’s also nice to be able to refer back to them for a tracking number, if that’s included.
Email’s also good because these don’t tend to be urgent. They should be sent in a timely manner, but it’s unusual for someone to need a purchase confirmation immediately. They’re mostly nice to have for your records.
Mobile Push and SMS
If you have a flash sale that’s only happening for a brief period of time and you want to alert your top loyalty points members, sending that directly to their phone can work rather well.
You don’t want to abuse this, but it can be a nice perk for top points earners to get exclusive or first access to a sale before others. Hitting their phone directly gives them the nudge they need to get in there and check it out right away.
This can also be effective if used with location data, and you can alert them to an in-store sale if you know they’re nearby. Show them the location on a map and provide a coupon code to use if they want to make a trip to the store.
When you’re managing people’s money, trust and security are everything to you. If you don’t have the customer’s confidence that you’re responsible with their finances and their sensitive information, they’ll find another bank.
This makes it all the more important that you send messages to where they make the most sense for the customer, to enable them to take action in the manner that’s best for them.
This is the channel for financial statements, for a similar reason to the purchase confirmations mentioned above. These are often important records that they may want to save and study, perhaps syncing with a third-party tool that tracks their spending.
In many cases, they’ll want to view this on a larger screen and do so at home where none of their private information will be viewed by others.
If there’s an emergency message that you need to get to your customers immediately, their phone is going to be the best way to do that. In the financial world, fraud alerts are one of the most important — and common — emergency communications you end up sending.
This is the type of message customers will likely want to take action on right away, whether that’s calling their representative, canceling a card, or checking for unauthorized purchases. Perhaps all three.
Email doesn’t convey the urgency that these types of messages demand. Depending on their situation, a customer might not check their email all day. If they don’t get that alert to their phone, a criminal could potentially run up charges for hours before they’re stopped.
What you really need
To do cross-channel messaging and orchestration efficiently and well, you need a tool that’s built to allow you to build out these campaigns in a single, simple drag-and-drop user interface, with full access to your live, real-time customer data. If you’re interested in seeing how you can maximize the impact of your cross-channel journeys, let’s schedule a call to talk about how MessageGears’ customer engagement platform can be exactly the tool you need.