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Content Marketing World: Using Earned Content in Email Marketing

At the recent Content Marketing World event in Cleveland, a significant theme, among many, that stood out to the CMW attendees was the importance of creating content with a specific customer, or audience, in mind. More than that, distribution via the correct communication channel is critical in order to reach the right person at the right time. And, as many marketers may have noticed already, there isn’t a perfect formula for exactly what type of content to create or where to distribute it.

If one thing was clear as a takeaway from the event was that there isn’t one right way to create effective content for your customers. Though, it is still important that your brand deliver its content with an action or purpose in mind to develop better customer relationships and drive action.

Olapic’s very own Bill Connolly, Director of Content, & Liz Bedor, Senior Marketing Manager of our partner Bluecore, lead a compelling CMW session that addressed one of the formulas to effectively reach your customers in a targeted and authentic way. Here are some ideas from their session below:

The Personalization Imperative

As you may have noticed, the marketing industry as a whole has shifted from a one-way dialogue with its consumers, to a two-way dialogue. This drastic shift has left many marketers playing catch up or wondering where to start when it comes to the best form of customer communication. Given the seemingly new distribution channels popping up every day, and the infamous content crunch many brands struggle to keep up with, how can marketers cut through the fold?

Surprisingly, there is one simple idea that can help brands create better customer experiences: personalization.

Here are some stats to support this idea:

    • 73% of people will buy from brands that use information about them to deliver more efficient shopping experiences (source)
    • 61% of U.S. consumers find that getting relevant offers is more important than keeping their online activity private from companies (source)
    • 77% have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a unique, personalized experience (source)

If it hasn’t been before, it’s clear now that consumers dictate the conversation: what products they want, how much they want to pay, what information they need to purchase a product, and even where they want a product delivered. The idea of brand loyalty is changing as customers become loyal to the brand experience. That said, how are brands keeping up?

The answer: timing and content.

The State of Email Marketing

Email marketing remains one of the most effective distribution channels for brands. What’s more is that with the iterations of email marketing tactics, new technologies have emerged. One of the most important being personalization triggers.

In Bluecore’s recent research, the company asked consumers to think about the most personal way brands have engaged with them, and found that an overwhelming 69% of those surveyed said that email is the the most personal marketing tactic. That figure was significantly higher than all other communication channels combined (i.e. text, in-store, facebook, online ads, etc.).

Given that truth, it makes sense that email marketing needs to be sophisticated to meet the expectations of customers. Triggered emails, or emails that are automatically sent based on a specific customer’s website interaction or behavior, are a great way to customize an experience for your brand’s website visitors.

At this point in the e-commerce and retail industry, marketers can’t afford to miss an interaction with a customer. Triggered emails provide timely, personalized, and relevant content to that specific visitor, automatically.

According to Harris Interactive, 81% of US online shoppers are more likely to make additional purchases, either online or in a store, as a result of emails based on previous shopping behaviors and preferences. This is an astounding stat and further drives home the need for timely, automated emails.

But, with a faster and automated email distribution plan, how and where do brands find personalized content at scale?

The Earned Content Opportunity

A theme that isn’t disappearing in marketing anytime soon is the importance of authenticity in content and communication. Consumers demand timeliness and personalization, but also want to experience authentic engagement with a brand’s products or services. And with high costs and production time for quality content, as well as low scalability of these methods, brands are struggling to keep up with the content creation. Little do they know, they are probably already earning that content from their consumers, but have not yet found a way to harness it.

Here are the stats from us:

  • 55% of consumers trust customer photos more than brand-created photos
  • Consumers who engage with user-generated content (UGC), or earned content, show a 40% return rate (vs. the <10% industry average)
  • 56% of consumers have decided against a purchase due to unhelpful product photos
  • And, when UGC is available, users engage with an average of 9 photos per session

Why is this important? Because brands are earning content from their consumers, and through their marketing efforts, each day. When brands have the right technology to leverage these consumer-created assets, they can use them to better reach their customer in a way that makes sense and is authentic to the end user.

A Match Made In Heaven

If hasn’t become obvious already, earned content and triggered emails are a perfect pair. Why?

    • Efficiency: When brands tap into their UGC opportunities, they are able to generate large volumes of content at higher speeds and lower costs
    • Performance: Your brand’s best-performing earned content assets can be used in emails to drive click-through rates, lower cost per action, and increase revenue because the content you’re using resonates with your customer
    • Relevance: Your customers know more than you think when it comes to why they like your product or how it should be depicted. Trust them enough to include their best photos in your emails and your brand may find that it’s your most loyal customers that are driving conversions through their UGC’s relevance and authenticity
    • Insights: Gain a better understanding of the type of creative that works across your brand’s owned channels by overlaying website impression and revenue analytics from Olapic with email analytics

It is an imperative that marketers start to think about the best methods through which branded content can be delivered and can resonate with consumers.

We think the customer-centric theme in marketing is only going to evolve, and Content Marketing World 2016 seemed to reiterate this idea: create and deliver content with the customer in mind, and if you don’t you’ll be left behind.

While earned content and triggered emails are just one way to solve the personalization problem, the point is that it is still a problem that needs to be solved. What is your brand  doing to reach its customers in the manner that they want, where they want, and with brazen authenticity?

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