‘Follow Your Customer’ with email marketing

Home Inside FCNews ‘Follow Your Customer’ with email marketing

Flooring-specific campaigns attract, retain customers

Jan 4/11; Volume 30/Number 14

By Jenna Lippin

Lisbeth Calandrino, 20-year customer service and marketing expert and flooring industry veteran, has partnered with Follow Your Customer (FYC) to create an email marketing program to increase dealer exposure. While FYC started 10 years ago, it recently added the flooring component thanks to Calandrino and more than a year of research with manufacturers, retailers and customers.

“I was looking for a system to help businesses stay in touch with their present customers as well as find new ones,” she explained. “Systems such as Constant Contact have a method, but you still have to supply content, schedule the emails and try to be consistent with your contact timing, which is a lot of work. I connected with Greg Incardona, FYC’s vice president and project coordinator, and after he sat through one of my two-day training sessions we came up with an idea to add content that was applicable for flooring dealers to his templates to help drive traffic back to their stores, websites and social media pages.”

FYC’s program is dubbed “customer engagement marketing,” addressing the different needs of various customers. “We tie all the pieces together to drive the customer back [to the dealer] so she doesn’t forget him,” Calandrino noted. “She will also buy more or refer friends. We have been testing the customization of the program and training salespeople on it. Whether it works or not depends upon the commitment of the retailer. The most committed dealers know they have to stay in front of customers.”

Success for retailers using FYC is measured through segmentations, which avoids “one message for all.” Emails are kept private; customers even have the option to opt-out of future messages. Marketing messages are sent out consistently thanks to schedules created several months in advance. Content includes sale information, branding and even unrelated information that is still useful or simply for fun, like home improvement tips or motivational quotes.

“Follow Your Customer is based on the simple fact that if people like it they will continue to receive the emails,” Calandrino explained. “If customers continue to receive them they will have a trusting relationship with the store and come back for future needs and refer more often, creating a sales force for a dealer.”

Two of the unique flooring-specific features of FYC’s email marketing are its Leads Machine and Be Back programs. “The Be Back program takes some salesperson training and a smartphone or tablet, but it is extremely effective,” Incardona explained. “Once you have the customer’s email address, we take over with a customized marketing campaign to get her to return to the store. The industry standard states that retailers close 35% of foot traffic; we want to help bring back the 65% that walks out.”

Leads Machine gathers prospect information and follows up with these potential customers, something many dealers don’t have the time to do. “We start sending messages and inviting them to the store. We use the salesperson’s name for personalization. This creates a ‘lead machine’ that helps the salesperson contact a customer and create a relationship prior to meeting in person.” Research shows that personalization creates trust, even before a customer meets a salesperson.

Dealers who are interested in finding out more should visit followyourcustomer.com. A video with a brief overview of the program is available at youtu.be/jBl8D1e_mrY.

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