In our age of information overload, engaging your audience is harder than ever. It often seems that new digital experiences, such as interactive video and virtual reality, are the solutions to reducing noise. But even if they are immersive and exciting, these approaches do not always correspond to the lifestyle of customers.
Instead of diverting customers’ attention elsewhere, brands can create more effective experiences by meeting customers where they are already spending time.
A new era of brand-customer relationships
Consumers today check their phones 150 times a day and spend just under a minute per session, according to a Google study.
We use many of these sessions to check the time or send quick text messages, but during others we take action on whatever we want or need at the moment. These “I want to know”, “I want to go” and “I want to do” moments are charged with intention and immediacy. These are the times when consumers expect brands to be timely, relevant and useful.
Today, successful brands take advantage of this behavior with marketing approaches that are personalized and adapted to the daily habits of consumers. Example: calendars.
Calendars may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering marketing channels, but they are one of the most ubiquitous digital platforms in use today. They are installed on every mobile device, on 2.6 billion worldwideand their reach rivals that of email, coming in second only.
Calendars inherently tap into consumer intent at a specific time. As the channels most closely tied to the physical world, telling us where we need to be and when, calendars generate meaningful engagement at the right time. In fact, consumers are 86% more likely to take action on something if a related event is on their calendar.
Calendar Marketing: The “Last Mile” That Drives Action
This potential of calendars to reach audiences has led several companies to innovate calendars to help brands leverage them as a marketing channel.
For example, smart “add to calendar” buttons can be embedded on websites, email or social media accounts, allowing consumers to add dynamic events (e.g. promotions) to their own calendar. Other innovations include the ability to send custom calendar notifications (beyond the default 15-minute reminder alert), capture emails when consumers add to the calendar, and access calendar analyses. Unsubscription prices are Less than 1%and so brands can build strong relationships through ongoing communications.
Whether it’s increasing webinar attendance, traffic to a trade show booth, or app logins, marketers in a variety of industries can leverage calendar features to drive repeat engagement at specific times.
Best practices for keeping customers happy and engaged
As you might have guessed, calendars aren’t your typical marketing channel. Unlike traditional media, where people are used to advertisements, the calendar is a much more personal medium. Irrelevant or generic content should be avoided to keep the customer experience as useful as possible.
When used correctly, calendars allow marketers to be present during crucial stages of the customer journey and increase overall conversions.
Here are four best practices for calendar marketing campaigns:
1. Provide a seamless membership experience
Carefully select the channels you will use to share your “add to calendar” buttons. Different industries and job roles respond better to different channels. A personalized email may resonate with the VPs of some of your target accounts, while a LinkedIn message may trigger more positive responses from managers of other accounts.
Plus, whether your customers use Google Calendar, Outlook or iOS, make it easy for them to add your promotions to their calendar. Make sure your buttons work for the most common calendar types.
2. Be personal
Group your customers based on behavior, interests, location, or other relevant profile data to effectively target your promotions. This is especially important because calendar marketing involves push notifications.
Push notifications appear on top of everything else and will annoy customers if they don’t provide value. So the more personalized you can be, the more people will see your message and truly believe your message and product is for them.
Customer experience remains one of the biggest differentiators in today’s market, so taking the time to get personal is well worth it.
3. Keep your posts succinct and informative
As with email, your customers should know what they’ll get when they open your message and shouldn’t be surprised when they do. Quickly make your point and leave the fluff aside. Keeping your message succinct and informative will show customers that you understand what they need and respect their time.
4. Measure, Rinse, Repeat
Track opens, link clicks, social shares, and other interactions in the timeline to optimize your campaigns. Several calendar marketing tools can help you with this task. You can then use this data to enrich lead records in your CRM (Salesforce, Marketo, HubSpot, etc.).
Calendar activity is a strong indication of the intention to take certain measuresand your sales team will be happy to take advantage of this information.
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Major brands, such as IBM, Forrester, and Microsoft, have leveraged calendars to transform their customer journeys. Check out this guide to find out how thousands of businesses are incorporating calendars into their marketing strategies.