Words have the power to change the world.

Posts tagged ‘Messaging’

The Power of Context

Do you want fries with that?“Do You Want Fries With That?”

By Cynthia Edwards

What makes an email successful? – Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time on the right device. As a communicator, I like to think of these attributes as context. Here are some ways to get the context right and improve your program.

Meet the customer on his path

You don’t necessarily need massive customer data files to get messages out that are contextual and meaningful to the recipients. Much of your CRM strategy can be based on common sense.

Consider the following emails I’ve received that contain messages that apparently suited the vendor but were wildly out of context for me.

  • Travel offers for a hotel located two miles from my home. (I’ve heard of staycations, but this is ridiculous.)
  • Promotions for pricey sound systems months after I had already bought one. (How many do they think I can use?)
  • An invitation from a local political writer to join a wellness class about essential oils. (I always knew politicians were slippery. Still …)

In terms of existing customers, the right context for an alluring continuing conversation, such as attempts at upsell, re-sell, or cross-sell, is along a reasoned path of usefulness. If the customer has just purchased a sound system for their TV, ask them to consider adding or upgrading a different device next. If they bought that sound system three to five years ago, maybe they’re ready now to buy a new one with the latest technology. Timing your offers well is another key element of the context.

The perfect cross-sell line is, “Do you want fries with that?” Because that’s the essence of getting the message in context. They’ve bought the burger, so now they need a side dish or a drink to go with it. They don’t need two hamburgers.

What about new customers? What might they like to hear from you? There’s only one way to find out for sure – ask them. Every brand’s sign-up page should be both a welcome tour and a preference center. Show them around the range you offer. Distinguish yourself from competitors. When you ask for their email address, also ask them what they’d like to know next. Capture those preferences and apply them to the specific email stream they will get.

Remind them who you are, every time you meet

Another important aspect of context that you need to nail every time is your identity. Don’t be lulled into thinking that in the midst of today’s frantic, fragmented media world, every subscriber remembers your company or why they signed up for your emails.

Consumers are bombarded with nearly 1,000 commercial messages per day. The next time the consumer meets you, she may need clues to your identity to enable recognition. Remind her of the context in which she signed up for your emails and brand every email with your unique voice, look, and differentiation.

On your unsubscribe page, use some of the web real estate to reintroduce yourself. It might be just the memory jog a customer needs to stay on your list.

Leverage the physical context

There are two important considerations here. First is the context of the inbox. Follow best practices to make your message stand out in the clutter. The whole art and science of email is progressively to draw the reader in to the message. Pour your creative effort into crafting subject line, pre-header, headline, hero image, and introductory copy that work together to pull readers in and get them engaged with your message.

The second consideration is the device your customer uses. Behaviors vary depending on whether the customer is using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop/desktop. Find the correlations in your data that show what your customers do on which device – reading, browsing, clicking, buying. Consider how you might tailor the email to take advantage of the context of each device.

Ultimately, your best strategy is to focus on the point of intersection between your audience’s habits, needs, and desires and the products or services you supply. That’s the winning context.

Nigerian Kidnappings Spur Social Media Campaign

MediaPost Publications Nigerian Kidnappings Spur Social Media Campaign 05/08/2014.

When horror strikes, is it sufficient response to distribute a photo of yourself holding up a sign with a hashtag on it? Will that actually #BringBackOurGirls?

Erik Sass addresses the question of what social media can and cannot do in his thoughtful article.


Which Social Media Marketing Tactics Work Best? – eMarketer

Which Social Media Marketing Tactics Work Best? – eMarketer.

Three charts: objectives for social media, most effective social media, and hardest-to-execute social media. Read the article for all three charts.

via Which Social Media Marketing Tactics Work Best? – eMarketer.

Show and tell – always a smart choice

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well – as a writer, I cannot agree with that statement entirely. But in general, yes, pictures can do much to drive home a message. Images appeal to the right brain, and a really good image can add interest or emotional impact to an otherwise dry discourse.

Infographics are a neat combination of words and images, and in some cases, really good ones can convey your whole message.

Read: Content Marketing Institute’s “3 Rules for Creating Effective Infographics.”

What are some of your favorite infographics? Let me know in the Comments.

One of my recent favorites is a detailed infographic about the final moments of the Costa Concordia. Click the image to download a PDF. Source: National Post.

For better results, show a cat

My cat, Precious.

How funny is this story?

When Red Square Agency decided to run ads on Facebook, they tested a few concepts. Some were well-crafted and traditional. Others weren’t. One ad featured a photo of an employee’s cat with this ridiculous headline: “This ad features a cat.”

The result? The cat outperformed the other ads by 39%.

What might this mean for your advertising approach? Are you giving your customers what they really, really want?

Read the source story here.

Just tell it like it is

Marketing Sherpa polled 1,745 B2B marketers regarding “the most successful tactics for developing effective value propositions that resonate and convert.”

No big surprise – a clear expression of the value of a product or service is the big winner. Click the image to read the full research article.

Marketing Research Chart: "Clarity" rated top tactic in developing effective value propositions

%d bloggers like this: