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1-800-GOT-JUNK? Cleans Up Its Email Marketing

Customer loyalty—or lack thereof—can give marketers insight into how consumers truly see their products or services. When strong, loyalty can potentially boost sales, provide quality customer feedback, and generate word of mouth by fervent brand advocates. If weak, companies can suffer from high attrition rates, less repeat business, and lower customer retention.

Marketers at junk removal company 1-800-GOT-JUNK? set their sights on boosting customer loyalty through a revamped approach to email marketing. “Loyalty is the number one thing,” says Amar Jodhan, the company’s digital marketing specialist. “That’s because the cost of acquiring [new] customers is way more [expensive] than [the cost of] keeping your current customers.” Jodhan notes that loyalty is imperative for the junk removal company’s survival and growth. He says 1-800-GOT-JUNK? continually markets to its existing customer database, with the aim of keeping customers coming back. “We get a lot of repeat business, and the only cost behind this is the cost of sending an email.” What’s more, Jodhan says a retooled email strategy enabled 1-800-GOT-JUNK? to turn a number of first-time buyers into those coveted loyal customers.

The marketers at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? saw an opportunity to boost customer loyalty and increase revenue by shifting their focus from special offers to customer-centric messages. “Initially, our email campaigns were purely promotional,” Jodhan explains about the company’s batch-and-blast approach to email marketing. “We would just think of a campaign, set up emails for different locations, create a promo code, and then send out one big blast without putting any intel in the emails.”

The emails had little sophistication with no set strategy, no true segmentation, and no customer experience in mind. “It was not relational at all,” Jodhan continues. “We got a good amount of leads, but we were paying a certain amount of money to an agency and were creating just one campaign every three months [with] no continuity between campaigns.” He says the marketing team decided that for 1-800-GOT-JUNK? to boost loyalty, it needed to lower its attrition rate—in other words, reduce opt-outs and eliminate undeliverable email addresses. The company also needed to get current customers to recommend the brand.

So, with tools from Silverpop and a new focus on the customer experience, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? completely overhauled its approach to email. “The team wanted to make sure our messaging is relevant and what customers want,” Jodhan says. They came up with two strategies: one focused on re-engagement—talking to those customers who had been the most engaged in the past; the other focused on retention and loyalty.

For re-engagement, the company’s marketers worked on segmenting lists to create more relevant messages. “We focused a number of things, such as the seasons of the year. For example, the summer tends to be our peak time, so we sent seasonal messages that were more relevant,” Jodhan explains. “But we took it further and included locations and how long the customer had been on our email list.” He says the company not only tailored its emails, but also culled email addresses that were simply too old.

The second strategy, focused on loyalty, included sending out customer surveys after a job was completed. The survey asked customers to rate 1-800-GOT-JUNK? from one to 10; anyone who rated the company with a seven or above was deemed as a promoter. “We determined they’re the ones who would put us in front of friends and family. So we put them in a loyalty program.” Loyal customers would get gift cards for sharing their experiences on social networks, receive recycling tips via email that linked to further information on the company blog, and get select promotional emails—all within 90 days of job completion.

Marketers at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? even integrated email campaigns into the call center. If a potential customer didn’t book a job after calling, hundreds of customers, who volunteered their addresses, received an automated email within five minutes that included a customer testimonial. “We were able to create custom campaigns that were getting these customers ready for the next phase,” Jodhan says. “We learned it’s not all about promotion, but about the customer, as well.”

The results, Jodhan says, have been astounding. He says the new segmented lists and relevant messaging boosted the conversion rate from 20% of emails to about 50%, over 16 months; each targeted email campaign now generates up to $180,000 in revenue. 

Jodhan says the marketing team for 1-800-GOT-JUNK? wants to give customers an end-to-end positive experience that will translate into loyalty and sales. “It doesn’t end when the job is finished,” he says. “We want to continue from there. We want to add more value to customers’ experiences.”

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