What do we digital marketers do best? We run campaigns using email, paid search, display ads, retargeting and web content to drive people toward an online conversion-whether that's a purchase, event sign-up, or content download. Then we use a marketing automation or analytics tool to track attribution and measure ROI. Pretty straightforward, right? Except for one thing:
The customer journey doesn't take place exclusively online.
The explosion of smartphones has given rise to an entirely new path to purchase...one that weaves across channels and devices, online and offline. According to Google, 90% of consumers move between multiple devices to accomplish their goals. And if the purchase is expensive, complex or considered, you better believe that people will be making a phone call or going in-store. Not convinced? BIA/Kelsey reported that in 2016 over $1 Trillion in purchases will be made offline, over the phone. That's 15% of offline commerce in the U.S., or one out of seven dollars spent.
The biggest Internet companies have made moves to enable this winding customer journey, with Google's addition of click-to-call in paid search results (also testing this in organic results) and Facebook and Twitter giving users the option to call from ads. We've also seen apps like Snapchat and Slack unveil voice call features, encouraging real, human conversation. However, email remains a largely online-only experience. In other words, email is being left out of the conversation. I think this is a huge missed opportunity for marketers.
Here's why: When it comes to complex or considered purchases, people tend to purchase over the phone. In fact, we found that phone calls convert at 10x the rate of clicks. Imagine the extra revenue to be made if call intelligence could be incorporated into the customer journey, making it simple for marketers to optimize, segment and trigger emails based on who called versus clicked? And imagine how it would be, as a consumer, to know that your online and offline interactions are connected. No more annoying emails for something that you already purchased over the phone.
Sound pretty good? Here's a few ways that I see this coming into practice for marketers:
Increasing mobile email engagement with click-to-call: By putting click-to-call buttons and phone numbers in your emails, you'll not only establish trust (people trust brands that display a phone number) you'll increase your email engagement and conversion rates. Make life a little easier for you and your audience by empowering them to call you, when it's most convenient for them.
Triggering emails in real time based on caller activity: By incorporating phone calls into your nurturing and email flows, you ensure that you deliver a consistent message across channels. And better yet, your audience feels like you're listening and you actually know who they are.
Improving email personalization with conversation insights: Without understanding who's calling and what happened on those phone calls, you're in serious danger of sending inconsistent or irrelevant messages. Do you really want to send an abandoned cart email to a customer that just converted over the phone?
What do you think-should emails and phone calls work better together? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the comments below. Also, you can learn more here about how to do this for yourself, right inside Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Looking for more trends impacting digital marketing? Check out the 2016 State of Marketing Report.
Kyle Christensen, VP of Marketing, Invoca
Kyle Christensen is a SaaS veteran, having spent over 15 years working in enterprise software. Before Invoca, Kyle was a VP of Marketing at Responsys, a leading cloud platform for cross-channel digital marketing, where he launched the company's mobile product line and drove the growth of the enterprise business up until the company's acquisition by Oracle for $1.5B. Kyle also served in senior strategic product marketing and management roles at Zuora and at Salesforce.com where he ran enterprise marketing for Data.com and helped launch the Service Cloud line of business. He holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a BS in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.