Tailor your timed communication to stay relevant, boost ROI

If the term “automated communication” conjures up an image of a Blade Runner-esque robot bent to destroy your personalized, painstakingly planned and authentic messages, go ahead and strike that connotation from your marketing brain.

Whether you call them “triggers,” “retention touchpoints” or “lifecycle campaigns,” timed communications that reach your customers automatically play an important role in any direct marketing strategy. Not only do they help you stay organized as a marketer, they help your brand stay relevant and increase the return on investment of your other marketing campaigns.

Here are three techniques to help you routinely communicate with your customers without spending a lot of time.

Timing is everything with welcome messages. Try an email trigger when a customer signs up for your newsletter or a telemarketing call a couple days after your customer comes on board to make sure he or she is completely smitten with your product or service. Make your communication enticing by offering a tangible benefit such as a coupon, and be sure the tone conveys your brand’s personality. All generic, one-note messages and telemarketing scripts should be reassigned to paper airplane duty.

Send festive birthday and event-based communications. Try mailing a postcard with a coupon that’s good for the month of your customer’s birthday. You can also use email to send more timely communications. For example, you can send an email with a steep discount or freebie that’s good for the day or week of your customer’s birthday.

Be conscious of the frequency of these messages. Reaching out to inactive customers after one, three and six months may work for a restaurant or a subscription-based service, but may be too frequent for a spa or not frequent enough for an event venue. Mailing a catalog or invitation to monthly events or emailing newsletters and whitepapers are all ways to reach out to these customers.

With all of these communications, remember to personalize the message as much as possible. Use analytics to tweak the types, timing and frequency of automated messages as you go along.

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