What on earth is Context Marketing
Context marketing shares the same objective of any good email marketing campaign. To send the right message to the right person at the right time.
If that sounds familiar it’s because you’ll see the three ‘rights’ mentioned on a lot of email marketing websites. Promising that they have the magic context spell that is able to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
It’s a very difficult promise to make, especially given that the average open rate of a standard email marketing campaign is as low as 18%.
So I’d best put this blog post in context for you. This is a post to help you create context marketing, because when you do, your email marketing results skyrocket. So we aren’t making any promises to have the magic context spell, but we do know the context marketing formula, and it’s a mix of your marketing content, customer data and timing.
Creating Context based Email Marketing
When you are able to create ‘context based email marketing’ your engagement levels skyrocket. Why? Because you’ve been able to send a marketing message that is in context to the behaviour of the person receiving it.
Email marketing service providers typically promise the ability to send the right message to the right person at the right time. I’ll admit – it’s phrase we’ve used in the past – and it describes something that most marketers are looking to achieve. It’s not easy, to get it right your email marketing needs to have ‘context’.
Asking the right questions
One of the most asked questions of any business providing email marketing services is, “when is the best time to send our email?“.
It’s a tricky question…
It’s a tricky question because although it’s an important question to the person that is asking it, the real question is; ‘How can I make my email marketing more effective?‘. The answer to that is by getting closer to your audience, sending relevant email marketing, that is email marketing that is in context to the audience.
Sending at the right time vs Sending with the right context
Sending at the right time is about making sure that your message gets read. That it’s top of the pile at the time when people are checking their emails.
Now getting to the top of the inbox IS important, but at some point every email holds that position. However, in comparison to social media which moves at a huge speed, email moves pretty slowly, so your message is easier to be noticed by your audience.
Email also has two chances to get noticed. When you check your emails on the move via the mail app (which is the number 1 app on every mobile in terms of usage!), and then again when you check your email from other devices (usually desktop).
Email also hangs around, every email is indexed and searchable. So in some cases, it’s not the time you’ve sent the email isn’t actually important and it’s the content / offer / message of the email has become important due to the circumstances of the individual. When someone is searching for something, you’ll get a better chance of a response, it’s human nature, it’s common sense and it’s also something we see time and time again.
Complex vs Complicated
Many moons ago, I helped @FredPernet with his annual Agile workshop at Thinking Digital 2016, and as usual it got me thinking. This time it was an explanation of David Snowdin’s Cynefin Model that got my attention.
Complex is very different to Complicated and that is a difference that I hadn’t really considered before
Add to that a great talk on Context from James Murray – who handles context for the search engine Bing, and the result is this blog post.
According to the Cynefin model, complex is very difficult to control, it changes rapidly. Whereas complicated is structural in nature. Complicated has a pattern, it’s consistent.
So Context is complex. Whereas business is often complicated.
When creating context based email marketing consider this.
Marketing plans are usually complicated, especially for email marketing. They are made up of a series of pre-set marketing messages which will occur when a specific criteria has been met. The marketing plan will include scheduled marketing messages to marketing lists. But increasingly they need to be more sophisticated, relating to the previous behaviour of your audience.
Unfortunately, like the weather, your audience is complex.
As much as you’d like to believe it, the behaviour of your customers is beyond your control. But don’t lose heart my friend. You can assert influence. And in our experience, context driven email marketing asserts far more influence than a normal batch email marketing newsletter.
Finding the Context for your email marketing communications
The full definition of context is “the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.”
In email marketing terms, context is relates to the stage of the relationship between your business and your audience.
It might be based on the expectation of the audience – such a Welcome message when signing up. The person that signed up will expect to receive a welcome message.
Or related to the circumstances of the relationship between the two parties. A marketing incentive to someone that hasn’t bought from your business for a while.
Provided the marketing message references the fact that the ‘customer’ hasn’t purchased for a while, then it will be in context.
In both terms, it’s marketing automation that powers the context.
Marketing Automation – the driver for context based email marketing
Marketing automation provides the link between a complicated marketing plan or business process, and the complex nature of your audience.
It can be difficult to get the context right at first. Don’t worry, just by getting started you’ll see that your marketing performance will still begin to improve.
As the proverb says, the journey starts with the first step. Once you start with marketing automation, you’ve started to create context based email marketing. That means you are on the road to continual marketing improvement.
Take your first step to context based email marketing…
It’s time to start getting more from your email marketing
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