We marketers love to throw around the latest lingo. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to see the forest of value for the trees of terminology in the industry.
And understanding the definitions of these terms isn’t enough. You need to know what tools deliver on the value promised by the concepts.
Contextual marketing is one of those terms, and APIs are the tools that bring live, relevant context into an email program.
We think about Contextual Marketing a lot at Movable Ink, and about how valuable it is to tailor the content you serve up to your customers based on the most specific, relevant information you know about them — everything from the basic data available in their email preference settings to their home address, the physical location of their mobile device, even the current weather where they are at any given moment.
But how do you go about delivering on the promise of relevance?
Contextual content with APIs
Quick technical definition: An application programming interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API expresses a software component in terms of its operations, inputs, outputs, and underlying types.
In short, it creates a dynamic, app-like component that can be used in your email campaigns.
What it really does is allow you to pull live information into your email program from external sources. API technology can be used to deliver on each of the following benefits:
If you have a customer loyalty program where your subscribers want or need to know exactly how many points, miles or other credits they’ve earned up to the moment, you can link directly to your database and show them. Less effective email programs rely on outdated information from weekly or monthly data updates.
Up to the moment product info
Emails that deliver specific product listings or promotions can be improved by API technology for both customers and brands by feeding subscribers the most up-to-date product deals and special pricing based on known customer preferences. Customers benefit from seeing the most relevant offers and brands benefit by implementing a fully automated process.
Restaurants, hotels, golf courses and other hospitality businesses can offer specific, real-time, localized booking capability for tables, rooms and tee times — tying their emails directly to their website. Instead of driving subscribers to your website to “learn more” or “book now,” give them an opportunity to engage and convert directly from your email based on their known preferences and even their physical location.
The social connection
Brands can implement a live Instagram or Twitter feed into emails to add personalized interest or to use hashtag campaigns and user-generated content to create testimonials within an email to build loyalty.
The trend is clear that delivering context-based emails that give readers the information that’s most relevant to them works. A survey of more than 1,500 marketing and communications executives showed 90 percent see the future based in contextual, personalized marketing, according to Teradata. API technology can help you deliver on the promise to your customers that you’ll send them only the most relevant, useful context.
Want to see API and email integration in action? Download 7 Ways to Use API Integrations in Your Email Campaigns.