This year has seen a lot of marketing trends come and go, but one of the most important ones has been context. When we’re talking about customer context, we’re actually talking about the new reality of email marketing: customers could be anywhere and doing anything when they’re checking their email.
That puts a big burden on your email campaigns. To remain relevant, emails need to be able to adapt to the constantly changing context of your customer.
A loyalty email could display a real-time balance right after a purchase and a rewards email could offer a live, geo-targeted map showing the closest locations where customers can redeem their rewards.
The possibilities for contextual marketing in email are endless. Here are five ways that you can leverage the power of a contextual marketing platform to revolutionize the inbox:
When your emails can detect the weather, you can target content more effectively. If the morning is rainy but the afternoon gets humid, a sale for rain boots should change – even after it’s sent – to a sale for shorts and t-shirt. You can also create more relevant creative for customers who are experiencing different weather events.
- Device Detection
The user experience on different devices should be different. That means emails have to adapt to the current device on which they’re being viewed. In this way, brands can create responsive emails that can actually react to the exact device – like an iPad or an Android phone – and offer the right creative to prompt app downloads and other mobile-specific engagement.
Offering live maps in emails can help make the creative in the email a lot more relevant. Rewards programs can display the nearest locations where customers can use their points or a sales email can drive traffic to the nearest brick-and-mortar store.
- Real-Time A/B Testing
Context means that you have to offer the best possible customer experience… and to do that, you need to test what resonates the most with your audience. Real-time A/B testing allows marketers to split their audiences, test content, and then change the losing creative in real-time.
Even after you’ve sent out both Email A and B, you can switch the content so that all the emails show the winning creative and copy.
- Real-Time Inventory & Reservations
By pulling relevant data from API integrations and microsites, your email can become a hub for the latest information. You can display live Instagram or Twitter feeds, interactive seating charts, or available appointments and reservations. The same goes for product and inventory details.
Tapping into a third-party database allows you to create a seamless experience for the customer by offering the latest available products and services every time they open the email.
Context = Real-Time
The foundation of contextual marketing is personalization. And to personalize for a customer’s mobile experience, you have to be able to change messages, creative, and campaign dynamically.
As the number one digital marketing channel for ROI and one of the best ways to keep in touch with customers, email is a great place to start experimenting with context, but your contextual marketing doesn’t have to stop there. You can use your customer data to keep your visual experiences consistent across web and display ads as well.