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How to Better Communicate With Your Audience Through Email Marketing

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You’ve probably heard several people say that email marketing is dead. Since instant messaging apps and social media platforms have entered the picture, people may easily believe this false claim. But, if you’re a business owner who’s on a never-ending quest to improve customer engagement, you should know that email marketing remains an incredibly effective practice.  

With over 3.9 billion email users worldwide, it’s not an exaggeration to say that over half of the world’s population can be reached through this channel. As an all-in-one tool, email marketing can perform various functions, such as influencing purchasing decisions, widening brand awareness, and improving one’s sales.

To show you how vital it is, HubSpot has found that over 80% of businesses heavily rely on the channel for their customer acquisition and retention. If you haven’t hopped into the email bandwagon, you should get on board as soon as possible. Statistics show that for every dollar you spend on a campaign, you can potentially acquire $38 in return. 

If you’ve already implemented an email strategy but did not get the results you want, you might be wondering how you can improve the performance of your email marketing campaigns. To steer your business in the right direction, the guide below will teach you how in four simple steps. 

1. Segment Your Audience

Writing a marketing email is no different than writing a letter to a friend. With this analogy in mind, the first thing you should do is determine whom you’re talking to and why.

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Nowadays, there’s no such thing as the average consumer. Given that the market has become more competitive, customer demands have evolved and are now more specific than ever. If you simply send out generic emails that don’t provide any form of value, chances are you won’t capture the interest of your leads.  

Before you start sending out promotions, you need to characterize and segment your audience. Even though each customer has his/her own unique characteristics, you can group them all into a specific mailing list. Here are some factors that help marketers establish buyer personas:

  • Job Title
  • Demographics: Age, Gender, and Location
  • Purchasing Capabilities
  • Online Behavioral Patterns
  • Email Clickthrough Rates

By figuring out the different kinds of people who buy your products, it’ll be a lot easier for you to deliver the right messages to the right set of eyes.   

2. Personalize Your Messages

Did you know that including the recipient’s name in an email’s subject line can increase its open rate by 16%? Personalization is a vital component in creating the ideal customer experience, yet many companies fail to do it properly. 

When it comes to email marketing, personalization can be done in several ways. Other than including the customer’s name in your email, you can deliver and customize messages based on a subscriber’s characteristics. If a specific customer is in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, sending out an email that can help them decide on a solution will increase the likelihood of a transaction.  

It’s no secret that customers greatly value the experience they get from a brand. If you were able to segment your audience accordingly, sending out timely and relevant messages should be a breeze. Apart from sending out specialized promos and discounts, your customers will greatly appreciate it if you regularly send important updates or let them know that your business provides email support.

READ MORE:   4 Use Cases of Insurance Chatbots for a Compelling Customer Experience

3. Share Your Story

Your customers don’t just want to transact with your brand; they want to build a relationship, as well. Enticing your leads to convert should always be your goal, but this doesn’t mean that you should only bombard your subscribers with promotions. Aside from advertising your products and services, you should also use email marketing to pave the way for valuable engagements.

Email is a direct and intimate channel that allows your audience to learn more about your business.  Now that consumers are more socially conscious, they take a company’s values and beliefs into account before closing in on a business deal. 

Sharing stories on how your business began or letting them know your stance on particular issues lets your audience see the human side of your brand and eventually strengthens your online reputation in the long run.

4. Let Data Serve As Your Map

Just like any other discipline under the digital marketing umbrella, your email strategy should be fueled by data. Taking note of important metrics such as your clickthrough rate and overall return on investment primarily lets you see how successful your campaign is. At the same time, harnessing these statistics also lets you identify bottlenecks and enables you to make the right adjustments.

Similar to optimizing your landing pages, email marketing is not a one-and-done task. Complacency is the number one enemy of any brand, and this is why marketers should make it a point to test their email templates periodically. But now, you may be wondering, “Which components of my email campaign should I test exactly?”

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Aside from your subject lines, your email’s design, length, and button placement can greatly influence the success of your campaign. People react differently to certain templates, and A/B Testing allows you to see which variation delivers the best results. 

Harness the Power of Email

No matter what industry you may be operating in, there’s no denying that nothing grows your business more than customer loyalty. Luckily, advancements in technology have given brands many opportunities for valuable engagements. But, in this fast-paced digital world, it’s easy for business owners to prefer popular channels such as social media and disregard email-marketing entirely.

While it may seem like an old-fashioned way of communicating with your audience, at the end of the day, email marketing still gets the job done. As an all-in-one tool, investing in an email marketing campaign will do more than just optimize your conversion rate.  

Just like any other marketing practice, there’s a right way to do things. With the tips above in mind, you’ll be able to take your campaign to the next level and drive your business forward.

About the author

Eliza Espino is an Online PR Specialist for Spiralytics. She recently began her professional career in digital marketing and is continuously learning about the field. One of her goals is to help grow businesses from different industries. Eliza spends her free time exploring films and series that can make her smile, think, laugh, or cry.

Alex likes to write about anything related to technology, marketing and gadgets. He sometimes reviews the latest tech and also writes on other blogs.

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How to Grow Your E-commerce Business in 2020

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In the past five months, e-commerce has noticeably increased. It was already steadily rising due to life moving more and more online, but the Covid-19 pandemic has caused it to grow even faster than expected. This rapid surge has left many businesses in a position where they need to develop a stronger web presence – and fast! – or in a position where they’re flooded by consumer demand and using all their resources just to keep up.  In this article, we’ll tackle the first subset of businesses: those trying to develop a stronger web presence to capitalize on all the e-commerce growth.

It’s a given that if you want to increase your growth as an e-commerce company, you need to increase your sales. But you obviously can’t just wave a magic wand to do that. If you want higher sales volume, the first thing you need to do is attract more people to your website. And we all know cutting through the noise and clutter online can be a major challenge. 

That’s where Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) comes in to play. 

SEO refers to the keywords, related keywords and long-tail keywords you use on your website. The more you optimize your site for keywords, the higher up you can appear in the results of a Bing or Google search. For example, let’s say you’re a company that sells protein bars online. Each and every page of your website should intentionally be populated with the keywords people use when they search online for protein bars. If you’re having trouble honing in on what those keywords should be, try a site like Ubersuggest. It’s free, and it will help you generate a list of keywords. In the example above, when “protein bars” was inputted to Ubersuggest, a list of 540 keywords and long-tail key words (or longer phrases people search) popped up. The list included things like: protein bar, protein bars, protein bar one, quest, Costco, Kirkland, low carb, healthy, protein, vegan, and so on. Ubersuggest even gives ideas for particular types of content you could host on your site using keywords – like protein bar recipes ideas.

We Got Them Here, Now Let’s Get them to Stay 

Once you attract people to your site, the next hurdle is keeping them on your site so you can entice them into making a purchase. If your website looks dated or it is difficult to navigate, you can safely bet new customers will click away faster than you can say “e-commerce.” The bad news is: if people click away from your site quickly, the search engines punish you by lowering your ranking in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). It is therefore imperative that your website be attractive to the eye so people stay on your site as long as possible. Ways to hold the attention of new customers include using high quality photos and videos and minimizing clutter. 

Further, you want your site’s content to be easy to digest and relevant. It would behoove you to look at competitors’ websites to see the type and quantity of information they include and follow suit. Back to our protein bar example: if your competitors all have beautiful photos of their protein bars, a vibrant color palette, great videos, and great articles about the health benefits of their particular protein bar, you will need to post similar content if you want to stand a chance at keeping customers on your site. 

Here’s an example we use on one of our top-performing product pages, called the Brondell Swash 1400

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You can see on the page we include:

  • High Quality Photos
  • Video Walkthrough 
  • Reviews on the Top
  • Production Information 

Another great way to hold peoples’ attention on your site is to include any awards, badges or seals of approval you’ve earned. These marks of cachet can go a long way in building trust with a new customer. Another way to earn trust and keep people on your site is by posting customer reviews and testimonials. These could be Google Reviews, Yelp reviews, or testimonials.

How Do You Make These Improvements? 

Now that you know how important it is for your website to look great and have amazing content, you might be thinking: Okay, I’m sold. I need to re-design my website, but how do I do that? I’m no web designing guru! Don’t despair. You can always hire someone else to take charge of your website’s redesign. Or a more middle-ground approach could be to use the services of a company like Squarespace or Shopify – which provide you with various templates to choose from and require minimal web design knowledge. 

The nice thing about a service like Shopify, for example, is that it helps ensure a potential customer’s checkout experience on your site goes as smoothly as humanly possible. According to various market research firms, 70% of online shoppers begin a shopping process online, then abandon their carts due to some sort of “friction.” Things that cause friction at checkout include suddenly revealing hidden costs, forcing shoppers to register for your site in order to complete the purchase, and a checkout process that is simply too long. Knowing what causes friction, your goal should be to devise a checkout process that is friction-less, while still getting you the information you need.

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A great example of an extraordinarily fast check out process is the Amazon “Buy now with 1-click” option. It literally couldn’t be easier – which is part of what has made Amazon a trillion-dollar company!  If a one-click option isn’t something you can feasibly do, consider putting a progress bar at the top of your site during checkout so customers can track how far along in the process they are. Another useful tip is to de-clutter your checkout page so that users have as few distractions as possible to entice them to click away. Easy checkout = more sales!

One huge point about your website to keep in mind: your site needs to work equally well on desktop and mobile. Many e-commerce businesses forget about how their site loads and looks on mobile, which is a big mistake. Especially given that in 2019, almost 2 billion purchases were made via mobile. Further, 95% of e-commerce customers report doing research on their devices prior to making a purchase! So it is well worth your while to ensure your site looks great and loads quickly on all devices.

Let’s Not Forget the Videos

Another thing that can help your e-commerce business grow is starting a YouTube channel. YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world. That means having a presence there is worth your time and energy. Plus, videos – specifically product videos – help potential buyers better understand your products and services. According to marketing guru Neil Patel, viewers are anywhere from 64-85% more likely to purchase products after watching product videos. So consider making a How-to video, or a product review, or a testimonial, or a product comparison. Another quick example to show how we put this in practice, we have a YouTube channel for all our users to reference, but we also include an easily accessible video library on our website that users can look through when evaluating different product. 

A bonus for your efforts: Google – which incidentally owns YouTube – prioritizes websites that have video in their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Which means having videos on your site, preferably hosted on YouTube, is a great way to raise your rankings in SERPs. And remember, the higher up you are on those results pages, the easier it is to get customers to your site.

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Social Media & Email is Always Great

If you have money to invest in advertising campaigns, another strategy to consider to grow your e-commerce business is to allocate money for either a social media campaign, an email marketing campaign or both. Over 2.6 Billion people use social media, and on average, they use it for 2.5 hours per day. Further, 94% of companies who use social media for e-commerce pay for social media advertising – the biggest two spends being Facebook and Instagram. It is therefore likely that your competition is spending money on social media, so you probably should, too. Email marketing is also a great tool to reach your customers since studies say almost a quarter of online sales are generated by it. Consider either organizing your own email campaign or using a service like MailChimp to organize one for you.

In conclusion, if you want to take part in the e-commerce growth that is happening all around us, start by looking at your website. Make sure it looks attractive, make sure your content uses plenty of keywords for SEO, and double-check that the checkout process is friction-less. Consider starting a YouTube channel or investing in a marketing campaign via email or on social media. And last but not least, remember the power of word of mouth. If you treat your customers right, provide them with a great product and an excellent shopping experience, they will spread the word – and that will lead to the continued growth of your e-commerce business.

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4 Use Cases of Insurance Chatbots for a Compelling Customer Experience

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From back-office tasks to handling customers, virtual assistants, a.k.a., chatbots are innovating the Insurance sector by leaps and bounds. And understandably so. The new-age policy-holder is also transforming. From shopping for – and even self-servicing aspects of – insurance policies online to comparing policy quotes and prices, customers have evolved, and so have their expectations from the insurers. In fact, data by Cognizant claims that 64% of users say that the best insurance chatbot feature is the ability to contact customer service 24 hours a day.

In this blog, we will look at the top-4 use cases of insurance chatbots that are enhancing customer experience, while winning their hearts and minds – one conversation at a time:

1. Quick Access to Information: For the Policyholder & the Provider

In the insurance world, the value of getting contextually-relevant and insight-driven customer data for insurers cannot be overstated. On the other hand, there’s a growing need to educate customers about the existing products and services. This is where chatbots work their charm. Let’s look at some real-life examples to understand how this process works:

HDFC’s life insurance chatbot, Elle, is a good example to start with. This chatbot doubles up as a Financial Guide to assist users in choosing the best plans and solutions for them. The bot is available 24×7 for users and is capable of addressing routine FAQs in addition to answering queries related to policy details, requests for premium receipts, fund value, payment history, annual premium statement, among other things.

“Elle is another initiative by HDFC Life to simplify customer interactions and provide a quick and easy resolution to their queries, from anywhere and at any time.” – Subrat Mohanty, Chief Operating Officer at HDFC Life

Another interesting example to consider is VisitorCoverage’s travel insurance intelligent chatbot, Luna, which sells contextual travel insurance policies to frequent travelers. This bot leverages AI and machine learning capabilities to help customers navigate the complexities of travel insurance while delivering top-notch services, and that too, regardless of the user’s location and time difference:

Key takeaway: Virtual chatbots are bridging the gap between the policyholder and the provider to offer a seamless customer service that’s in everyone’s best interests.

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2. Automated Insurance Agents, at the Customer’s Beck-and-Call

Contrary to popular opinion, chatbots, in general, have evolved over time to be able to handle complex procedures such as claims filing, goal setting, etc. in a jiffy. One of the catalysts of this change can be attributed to the fact that these smart bots have gone from being reactive to proactive – in delivery, and in style.

This is precisely why 53% of people are more likely to buy a product from a provider they can reach out to on a chat app. 

In fact, it wouldn’t be out of line to imagine these bots as every customer’s personal insurance agent. After all, chatbots can address queries throughout the insurance value chain and offer a host of other personalized benefits such as:

  • 24×7 customer service.
  • Reduced processing time.
  • Instant query resolution (thanks to a rich database).
  • Streamlined and simplified customer service.
  • Patient access to relevant information and reminders (e.g., for pending payments) at every step of the way.

The end-goal? By digitizing the Insurance customer journey, these mobile-enabled bots have been able to boost customer satisfaction in the insurance realm.

Zurich UK’s bot, Zara, is an interesting case in point. The bot enables users to process claims relating to non-emergency car and home claims in an effortless manner:

The bot initially gathered data pertaining to the customer’s preferences and sentiments based on various metrics such as adoption, customer satisfaction, etc. to gauge the consumer’s perception. The results were anything but ordinary. An article from the Business Insider quotes:

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“The insurer beat expectations in terms of the number of reported claims through Zara. It also recorded a transactional Net Promoter Score, a customer satisfaction metric, of 80 — which constitutes a “world-class” rating — and slashed the time it takes to process claims.”

Key takeaway: By providing an “always-on” digital experience around claims, the company was able to deliver a compelling customer experience.

3. Guided Buyer Experience for an Individualized CX

“Insurers could save up to $7 billion over 18 months using AI-driven technologies by streamlining administrative processes.” – Accenture Report

In the healthcare technology and insurance domains, chatbots have been assisting users on a variety of complex tasks such as providing information addressing billing inquiries, explaining the pre-authorization processes, guiding users in the claims filing process, checking the claims status, understanding the existing coverage, and so on and so forth.

Take, for instance, the case of Zhong An – China’s online-only insurance company, which boasts more than 400 million customers with over 10 billion policies sold! But what attributed to the company’s gigantic success? The answer lies in using AI-driven data to extract behavioral data from more than 300 partnerships. This helps the company cash in at the right moments in which the customer can use an insurance product.
“Insurance is a data game. In the future, IoT, everything within telematics, and even wearables will generate huge piles of data. The question is if you use this data to really generate tailor-made solutions for your new customers. The second time your customer buys the same policy, maybe you could consider different scenarios for pricing. To understand and use your customer’s latest data for recent purchases; that would be the preferred direction.”—Bill Song

The company claims that over 97% of the customer queries are directed to its chatbot communication tool, not requiring any human intervention. As you can imagine, this not only lowers staff load but also drives a quality-driven interaction with users and offers them instant gratification – both of which are key for delivering a holistic patient experience.

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Other chatbots that deserve a special mention include:

  • Commercial auto insurer, Next Insurance’s bot on Facebook Messenger
    with which small businesses can obtain quotes and buy insurance:

  •  Trōv’s bot offers on-demand insurance covering personal items such as electronic gadgets, home appliances, etc.:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key takeaway: In the Insurance domains, chatbots will soon emerge as the rule, not the exception. And why not? More and more chatbots are emerging as the patient’s personal assistant for all things insurance- and healthcare-related, making their lives convenient as they recover from their ailments.

4. Faster & Efficient Claims Management & Underwriting Processes

“The global chatbot market is expected to reach USD 1.25 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 24.3%.” – Cognizant Study

If you think conducting insurance business only requires human agents, think again. Lemonade Insurance’s business is conducted online, solely by their in-house chatbot Maya. In fact, the company has been able to drive conversations with users that mirror those with live agents. A remarkable feat, in our opinion:

That’s not all. Lemonade Insurance’s AI bot, Jim, set a new world record by paying the insurer’s claims in just three seconds and with zero paperwork (sounds too good to be true right?). Here’s the proof:

Key takeaway: Insurance chatbots can seamlessly integrate communication, comprehension, and collaboration, keeping customer-centricity in mind at all times – ultimately boosting customer satisfaction and happiness.

Closing Thoughts

“68% of insurers are already using chatbots in various segments of their business.” – Accenture

Clearly, chatbots and other AI-driven technology have evolved from being mere instruments of Insurance sales pitches to virtual conversational agents that have transcended the overall customer experience to another level by facilitating multi-faceted customer interactions. What’s your (s)take?

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