A few years ago, email marketing results were measured by one key statistic: open rates. X number of people, or Y per cent of a brand’s database, opened an email, so they saw the message. It was easy and it made sense. The problem is that open rate is no longer a valid metric, and we have Apple to thank for that.
In 2021, Apple introduced new operating systems for iPhone, iPad, and Mac that included a number of privacy-focused changes. One of the new features introduced to the Mail app was Mail Privacy Protection (MPP).
When turned on, the feature stops companies from using invisible pixels to collect information such as whether someone opened an email or not. While MPP is currently set to “off” as default, Apple prompts users to turn it on and many have done exactly that.
And since Apple has the greatest email market share, this change affected pretty much everyone.
Email marketing platform Litmus reports that, in July, Apple Mail accounted for more than 58 per cent of the email market, with Google’s Gmail a distant number two ,holding only 29 per cent. So, with this one update, Apple changed the way email marketers had to report success.
You may be wondering why you have not seen a drop in reported open rates. In fact, you have probably seen an increase since the introduction of MPP. The reason is that Apple pre-loads content, including tracking pixels, triggering an ‘open’ to be registered even if the subscriber never reads the message.
So, how can you tell if your customers are actually opening your emails? By getting them to click on an offer. You may have noticed a growing number of brands asking customers to “activate” or “boost” their offers. This is why.
Savvy marketers can achieve a number of desirable results with that single click. Firstly, they know the message has been read. Secondly, they know the offer is of interest. But this is where it gets better.
If the offer is linked to an app, the customer has possibly woken it up from ‘sleep’ mode if they haven’t used it for a while, meaning they will receive push notifications and are now logged in.
By now you’re probably thinking that you should be getting your customers to activate your offers, but if you’re not, consider this.
In today’s digital era, you are not simply competing for your customers’ money, but also for their time and attention. Having users actively navigate to your rewards page isn’t just a formality, it’s a method of building engagement.
And engagement isn’t just about reaching your audience, it’s about involving them directly in your brand’s journey. With click-to-activate rewards, customers aren’t passive receivers; they become active participants.
By motivating users to participate, not only do you keep your brand at the forefront of their minds, but also you foster a sense of involvement. This, in turn, cultivates an environment of loyalty and trust. A customer who actively engages with your brand is much more likely to remain a loyal patron, subsequently spreading positive word-of-mouth. McKinsey tells us that members who redeem offers spend 25 per cent more than enrolled inactive members.
Each click gives customers a sense of ownership and control over their rewards, which will help to build a stronger connection between them and your brand.
So, how do you motivate users to click through? The answer lies in structuring a program that offers tangible, attractive rewards that are sure to stir their curiosity and entice action.
Motivation is driven by value; hence, your rewards must resonate with your customer base and provide genuine value. This blend of value and personalisation is what makes customers want to click, explore, and eventually redeem these rewards.
Remember, the goal isn’t just to get users to click, but to click and then engage with what they find on the other side.
The click-to-activate model doesn’t simply bring users to your website or app; it gets them to take action. Moreover, it gives you the chance to expose your audience to more of your offerings, leading to upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Data collection and personalisation
The click-through to activate rewards holds even more benefits for you. Every click made by a user on your loyalty program reveals invaluable insights into their preferences and behaviours. Accumulating this data over time helps you form a robust customer profile.
Personalisation is the keyword here. Tailoring your offerings based on the data you collect makes your brand increasingly relevant to your customers. By offering customised rewards and sales, you make the customer feel valued and understood, thereby driving customer loyalty and repeat business.
This strategy isn’t just effective; it’s instrumental in building lasting relationships with your customers. Having customers click through to access their rewards is an effective step in that direction.
Remember, customers value organisations that value them. By implementing such a strategy, you can transition from merely selling to building lasting relationships and make your loyalty program an interesting experience for your customers, not just a transaction.