The First Step to Cross-Channel Marketing: Collecting Emails across Social, Web, Mobile, In-Store

In a new Channel Report, Yesmail asked almost 200 retailers to identify their digital marketing priorities for 2016. Brands indicated that integrating email with other digital channels is among their top 3 priorities. Other popular answers included improving mobile optimization, making better use of data to drive content, and creating behavior-based email campaigns.

The interesting thing about the other popular answers is that all of them imply cross-channel integration. For example, brands cannot use data to drive content without integrating demographic, purchase, or browse information into their marketing campaigns. Similarly, marketers cannot create behavior-based campaigns without knowing who their audience is, what they’re interested in, what they’ve purchased in the past, and so on. Even improving mobile optimization requires data about subscribers’ mobile behavior and device preference.  All-in-all, in a variety of different forms, cross-channel integration isTHE 2016 marketing objective.  

‘Integration’ can be an all-encompassing term so many brands may be wondering where to start. The first step is to ensure that there is a common denominator between all channels you currently employ in your marketing strategy – most often, this common denominator is email. You’re probably thinking “Duh! Of course, in order to get to cross-channel integration, we need to connect all channels we utilize.” Great! Yet:

  • Almost half of brands do not collect email addresses in-store
  • Almost half also don’t collect emails via social media
  • Seventeen percent of retailers still fail to secure website visitors’ email addresses
  • Two-thirds of brands don’t collect emails through their mobile apps

These discouraging stats suggest that many (if not most) marketers need to make the first step to integration by starting to collect email addresses from every channel they use – this is foundational for an effective cross-channel marketing program. The fact is that when retailers fail to secure email addresses, they miss a chance to establish future relationships with buyers and potential brand advocates. Here are some ideas to do that through 4 major channels: 

  • At point-of-sale: 44% of retailers report they don’t collect emails in-store. It’s baffling because this is arguably the lowest-hanging fruit for marketers – people who purchase at their physical locations have already pledged allegiance to their brand, so to speak. 
    Brands should train their sales associates to always ask shoppers for their email address and incorporate that data into their POS systems. This way, shoppers can immediately be entered into the brand’s communication stream. 
    Additionally, sales associates can enter other key information on those shoppers into the brand’s POS system in order to create a more developed profile – e.g. gender, approximate age group, product group purchased (are they interested in men’s, women’s, kid’s items, etc.) Either way, people who have already bought a brand’s products are a lot more likely to stay engaged and become recurrent purchasers
  • Through social media campaigns: 45% of retailers surveyed said they don’t collect email addresses via social media, a major area of opportunity. For one, brands can execute truly multi-channel campaigns by incentivizing their social media followers to subscribe to their email programs (e.g. sign up to receive our emails and get 20% off of your first purchase using the code “facebook”). 
    In addition, there are innovative tools that enable an email campaign to be shared on a recipient’s social network and allow for collecting the emails of other consumers who click on the post.
  • Mobile app: Over 66% of retailers don’t collect emails through their brand’s mobile app. This stat had me thinking…the majority of brand apps require customer registration at time of download or at the time of purchase. This means a customer’s email address is readily available at those times and retailers can quickly invite those customers into the brand’s mailing program via a checkbox, like in the screenshot below.

Even if the app doesn’t require a login, there is still the functionality of push notifications which can be utilized to encourage the app’s downloaders to sign up for the brand’s mailing program.

  • Website: One of the biggest surprises of this survey, at least to me, came from the fact that 17% of brands don’t collect emails on their websites. This is an absolute MUST. Clearly, the most popular way for brands to obtain subscribers is through a website or a landing page – 83% of retailers are doing it. Yet, a mind-boggling 17% do not. Coming to a brand website or a landing page already reads ‘intent’ and ‘awareness’; marketers must give the site visitor an opportunity to convert right away. When I say ‘convert’ here, I don’t mean ‘purchase.’ Yes, a purchase is great, but an email sign-in means the ability to nurture subscribers and convert them into purchasers, repeat purchasers, and eventually, brand advocates. It also enables your brand to remain top-of-mind. Moreover, collecting emails on your website can be as easy as 1-2-3 for the site visitors – all that it requires is an interstitial window asking for an email.

Later, as part of the welcome series, retailers can send an incentive to subscribers to fill out additional information on the site’s Preference Center, such as gender, birthday, product category preference, mailing frequency preference, and more.

While there is more to cross-channel marketing than email, email is a great place to start because it can be easily integrated with most (if not all) digital channels. So take the opportunities that channels like social, web, in-store, and mobile provide to streamline email collection and build on it.    

DOWNLOAD THE FULL 2016 SURVEY REPORT to learn more about retailers’ 2016 goals and how to make them a reality.

Author Bio

Ivy Shtereva

As a Director of marketing at Yesmail, Ivy is responsible for multichannel strategy and implementation across the email, database, web, and direct marketing channels. She is dedicated to improving the quantity and quality of incoming leads through a combination of quality content, effective communication strategy, and timely follow-up. Ivy is committed to making Yesmail the undisputed thought leader in the industry when it comes to executable digital recommendations and has made significant strides to achieving this goal by authoring Yesmail’s one-of-a-kind quarterly benchmark reports. In her free time, Ivy loves to travel to obscure US destinations to capture the true ‘local taste’ of every state (as long as meat is not involved). She’s an avid Chicago Bears fan and consistently exhibits Bears bias in setting her fantasy football lineups.