Canadian marketing company Elite Email Inc. has released a new mobile tool that aims to help businesses build a customer base – and keep it – as Canada’s anti-spam laws loom ahead.
Elite Email, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary on July 3, announced it launched Elite Mobile Marketing on July 2. The tool prompts customers to text a keyword to a number like 555444 in return for a coupon code or promotional discount. It then adds customers to an emailing list, and it can also send them notifications and updates via their smartphones.
“We want to let our customers do a little more and capitalize on the fact that everybody now has a mobile device,” says Robert Burko, CEO and founder of Elite Email, adding that clothing brands, restaurants, and other clients can use the tool for quick promotions. For example, if a restaurant wants to advertise happy hour drink specials, it can send texts to all the customers on its list.
“With text message marketing … all of a sudden, you have a way to get a lot more information into your customers’ hands really fast, while keeping open the remarketing potential, which is really where the true value is,” Burko says. “Now it’s not just about the one-time message – you can remarket to that person every Friday at happy hour for the rest of the summer.”
And while QR codes fulfil a similar function, Burko says older people don’t always want to use QR codes since they are unfamiliar and unwieldy, especially since users need to download an app to scan the codes themselves.
So far, a few of Elite Email’s clients have used the mobile marketing tool as a demo during warehouse sales. For example, at a Lacoste and Esprit sale in Toronto in May, there were signs everywhere on the sales floor telling customers to text a number for the chance to win a pair of shoes.
And while that was handy in getting customers excited about deals, the real gem in using text-based marketing was the ability to remarket to those customers. By entering the contest, customers agreed to be added to a mailing list to receive more offers and advertisements.
Only 0.38 per cent of customers opted out of the mailing list after the warehouse sale was over. Among mobile users, 0.15 per cent asked the company to stop sending them text messages.
The game plan in getting customers to agree to keep receiving marketing missives? Solid, interesting content that provides value to the customers as well as the company sending the messages, Burko says. Following up on the Lacoste and Esprit sale, Elite Email sent out messages alerting customers to similar sales happening in the Greater Toronto Area.
“The key is, follow-up content has to be good. We always say, the right message, the right person, the right time … If you send out good content at the proper frequency, people are going to open your emails, they’re going to engage with your mobile campaign, and they really like it,” he says.
“The people who join, we know a lot about them and we’re really big on the analytics. So we know how often you open your email, which links you’re clicking on, where you’re clicking on it, we know all that information. So we can very quickly build a customer profile to know who is the person who came to the [event] … and ensure the content afterwards is playing to their interests.”
The other important piece of sending these emails is that customers have consented to receiving them. Getting consent ensures companies are complying with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which has passed through Parliament and has received Royal Assent. It will be coming into force July 1.
When CASL finally does launch, Burko says he expects companies will have to be even choosier about how they leverage email marketing.
“What we’re going to see in email marketing is a tipping point, similar to what we did with websites,” he says. “So if you can imagine there was a point in time where not everyone had a website, some people did and some people didn’t, and all of a sudden, if you didn’t have a Web site, you weren’t a real business. We’re going to see the same thing with email.”
Elite Email hasn’t released a price for its mobile tool yet, but its emailing tool starts at around $15 a month, although that increases as the mailing list gets bigger, Burko says.