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The Modern Marketing Blog covers the latest in marketing strategy, technology, and innovation.

The Long Term Value of an Email Marketing Welcome Programme

From making a guest feel at home when they visit for the first time to solidifying a new business relationship with a firm handshake, a warm welcome is essential for any relationship to get off on the right foot.

A warm welcome is also crucial for the email marketing environment; just as you wouldn’t ignore a customer entering a store, an email marketer shouldn’t forget to say hello when a shopper signs up to receive the brand’s emails.

At our most recent User Forum (a series of events where we bring Oracle Marketing Cloud customers together to learn from one another), we found that 66% of the brands in the room had a welcome programme that they were constantly reviewing. In order to ensure engagement amongst customers, brands need to analyse whether their welcome programme is effective. For example, if they offer just one welcome email and it’s not generating engagement, it’s likely that a brand will need to add more communication – for many customers it takes more than one piece of great content for them to start clicking.

For example, Missguided’s ‘Welcome Campaign’ consists of a series of personalised emails in the first week after joining Missguided’s database and is activated by sign-up information. The online fashion brand needed to stand out from the competition and welcoming in new audiences, as well as keeping customers engaged between purchase cycles through personalisation, was a highly effective way of doing that.

Oracle Marketing Cloud helped Missguided to implement intelligent and targeted automated marketing so that they could capitalise on sales opportunities at each stage of the customer lifecycle and boost engagement rates. This personalisation ranged from targeting new customers with the variety of welcome emails based on segmentation to offering discounts and incentives around the customer’s birthday. This targeted marketing technique increased the click-rate by 133% for Missguided, and as a result, email conversion rates increased by 298%.

Using data and this trigger-based approach, brands can create tailored welcome programmes that build a strong ongoing relationship with the customer. However, to do this successfully good data hygiene is also essential. For example, as customers sign up to an email mailing list, the brand can implement validation to ensure that the data being captured is accurate. This ensures that the relationships starts without any errors and means that the seeds are sown for a long-lasting brand affiliation.

For example, if a customer doesn’t receive the email they think they’ve signed up to they could get frustrated with the brand. Similarly, a typo can mean a brand misses an opportunity to generate sales from a new customer, but this can also damage their reputation as a sender amongst ISPs as they will receive bounce backs. Adding additional steps into the validation process means that brands can ensure they have the right customer details, enabling them to protect their brand reputation and engage with the right prospects.

Brands need to review their active user base and use their welcome programme to kick-start the customer relationship successfully from the first email interaction. To do this, brands should also look to understand channel preferences. For example, if the customer signed up through Facebook, the welcome programme should acknowledge this and then the brand should look to serve social content. This helps to create a seamless cross-channel experience and shows that the brand has understood the customer’s personal preferences.

First impressions are everything; remind a customer why they signed up to hear from your brand regularly and provide targeted content to drive long term brand loyalty. In a crowded retail market, service is a huge differentiator; if customers have a bad experience of a brand they are unlikely to return. Every email communication with the customer should be valuable; a strong welcome programme means your relationship starts positively, and when followed up with relevant and engaging content, that relationship has much greater potential to grow.

For email marketing inspiration be sure to download our Look Book 2015: a visual guide to the industry’s best branding and marketing campaigns of the year.

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