So this is how the cookie crumbles…or is it? Concerns over data security has certainly raised some eyebrows. With tech giants taking matters into their own hands (Hello, iOs updates!) and Google phasing out support for third-party tracking cookies in Chrome, are marketers ready to face a cookie-less future? As far as we can tell, this isn’t just an issue for the marketing department, but impacts ecommerce businesses as a whole. While abrupt, these changes do present companies with a unique opportunity to redesign the ways they can strengthen bonds with their customers. Meaning, a little less stalking without your customer’s realisation, a little more direct permisssion-seeking.
The secret ingredient of it all lies in first-party data. First-party data is consent-driven. As consumers gain more and more control over their own data, this control will reshape their expectations around customer experience (CX) in general. Third-party tracking has always given richer insight to fuel CX, but without it, it’s wise to beef up your 1st party data strategy as a way to move forward – and this is how email marketing can help.
But first, what exactly is first-party data?
This customer-first data is sourced directly from a prospect or customer. It includes information that someone proactively provides to you (this is called zero-party data) – like email addresses, contact numbers or birthdays. First-party data is observed by a brand about someone on their owned properties, like what products they clicked on your website. All customer-first data can be used to create special and highly personalised customer experiences and communication.
So What Do I Do Now?
- Rethink measurements. ROAS are becoming harder and harder to track because of the reduced visibility around user activity, many marketers are being forced to revisit the way they think about attribution completely. One thing that is proving to be popular is ditching platform-specific metrics in favour of measuring your marketing efficiency ratio (MER). MER (also known as blended ROAS) refers to evaluating the return on investment (ROI) of all online advertising compared to other channels. More specifically, MER looks at your total revenue divided by total advertising spend.
2. Evaluate what makes sense and dollars when it comes to product promo strategy. Aim for a higher average order value (AOV) through paid promotions around product bundles and high-ticket items.
3. Work with what you have. A little resourcefulness goes a long way when it comes to the customer data you already have. Leveraging off of lookalike audiences, or multiples of these, is a great way to segment and gives you a defining point of what a high value customer looks like to your business.
4. Use lead ads to collect email addresses. Spell out the benefits customers will receive when they share their info. Stop relying on paid-ads for one-off sales and instead, use them to build a customer base that wants to stick around. Or better yet, refer you onto more people!
How Is Email Marketing the End Goal?
From a big picture perspective, your email is an existing two-way communication channel that can give you the insight you need to deliver and enhance your customer’s experience. And that’s gold! Here are some ways to power this so you’re fully making the most of what you have and leverage the tools that email marketing provides.
- Clever Cart Segmentation: Do more segmentation with cart abandonment based on cart value. If a customer’s cart qualifies for free shipping, include that in an email. If they haven’t, consider suggesting complementing products on offer that make up the difference to encourage the purchase.
- Personalised Messaging: There are endless ways to tweak messaging to motivates buy-ins. At the end of the day, you may think that customers are inundated by content, but it’s the businesses that provide helpful, relevant solutions that stand out.
- Better Post Purchase Experiences: Communicating with your customers doesn’t end at the purchase. Creating worthwhile experiences mean going the extra mile to consider what might be useful for customers in the future, like lesser known information about products and similar ones on the horizon. Personalising rewards and loyalty programs based on their last purchases, for example, will incentivise them to shop again without relying on ads.
- Focus on Lifetime Value and Repeat Purchase Rates: Customer acquisition is important, but it shouldn’t devalue the customers you already have in your ecosystem. By evaluating and assessing this touchpoint at every part of the funnel, you’ll get closer and closer to discovering what is relevant to your customers and makes your brand stand the test of time.
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