How Microsoft used triggered emails for post-purchase support
For some small businesses, the end of a marketing campaign is when customers make a purchase. That strategy makes sense in that it enables business owners to focus on converting prospects into actual buyers, thereby increasing revenue and improving their overall bottom line.
However, as Microsoft recently found, sometimes extending the length of a marketing campaign to post-purchase support can have tremendous results. The Washington-based computer software company had traditionally used email marketing as the driving tool to encourage Microsoft Office 2010 purchases.
While the communication channel worked to this extent, the company noted that several buyers expressed dissatisfaction with the product after making the purchase. The decrease in satisfaction, which stemmed from not being able to figure out Microsoft Office, could lead to a lesser chance of making future purchases.
In response, “Microsoft executed an email campaign toward new Office 2010 customers to engage and educate them, and achieved dramatic increases in open and clickthrough rates, along with teaching something new about the product to 80 percent of program participants,” MarketingSherpa reports.
Using trigger-based emails
For Microsoft, the key was using trigger-based email messages. The educational campaign started by creating a series of emails that would inform customers how to use the software. The messages would be sent to buyers based on their activities – after making the initial purchase, they would receive the first message.
Relevance was key to Microsoft’s campaign, so whether consumers were sent the remainder of the communications hinged on if they opened and engaged the emails. Each message was also tied to the Office 2010 landing page, which helped the software company further track engagement and buyers’ status as they completed the course.
To make the program seem tailored to specific customers, the content was sent from specific Microsoft employees. Recipients would know who to talk to and it made them feel as if they were getting one-on-one advice from the computer company. Microsoft also used actual employees – not third-party talent – to film the instructional videos.
“The decision (to use actual employees) was made in the original strategy creation for the program, based on the importance of developing an ongoing relationship, literally, between Microsoft and our customers,” Jamie Bothwell, senior product manager at Microsoft Office, told the news source. “We featured employees who actually work on the products they are discussing.”
In the end, the campaign ended up being a huge success for Microsoft. Not only was the educational campaign popular among consumers – the emails marked an 800 percent improvement in open rates and a 2,100 percent increase in click-through rates – but it also drove better brand relationships.
The website videos – which were accessed by clicking specific links in the emails – had a 63 percent completion rate and two-thirds of program participants tried a new feature through the program.
Moreover, Microsoft’s post-release support showed the company cared about consumers and that they weren’t just one more sales figure. This may lead to future purchases of the company’s product.
Triggered emails can be utilized for other purposes as well. Some retailers, for example, set up switches that will automatically message customers if they leave a website with products still in their shopping carts. Does your company use triggered email marketing campaigns? How do you leverage them?This entry was posted in Email Marketing, Intermediate. Bookmark the permalink.