Minimum efforts, maximum convenience, highest ROI: Inbox Commerce rewires the marketing for media/publishing
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Minimum efforts, maximum convenience, highest ROI: Inbox Commerce rewires the marketing for media/publishing

Published : November 27, 2023

By rule, marketing communications from media and publishing houses should be more engaging than most other industries’ promotional messages. Why? Because these two are about creativity, interest, and engagement. Customers want to see those things reflected in the messages they receive.

Of course, meeting these expectations means marketers have to step up their content game. But that’s not all – in a highly competitive digital playground, you’ll need innovative technologies to give your communication an edge. Inbox Commerce is one such technology that makes marketing messages come alive across different platforms like RCS, WhatsApp, and interactive emails.

By using the futuristic powers of Inbox Commerce with optimized content, customer segmentation, and hyper-personalization, marketers in media and publishing can take customer engagement and conversion to new heights.

This article discusses how exactly to bring about a multi-platform revolution in marketing campaigns for media and publishing. But first, here’s a quick, concise definition of Inbox Commerce.

What is Inbox Commerce?

Inbox Commerce is the practice of marketing products/services, engaging with customers, and conducting transactions right inside emails and app/push messages.

This approach focuses on simplifying the customer experience to make it convenient for users to connect with brands. They can effortlessly buy products/services without redirects to sites and apps.

RCS, WhatsApp, and AMP for email are the pillars of Inbox Commerce that has become the most influential tech combo for unconventional marketing and conversion.

Inbox Commerce brings website and app-like features to your customers’ RCS messages, WhatsApp communications, and email inboxes. This tech allows people to do everything – searching for items, adding them to a cart, finishing a purchase, tracking deliveries, giving feedback, playing games, booking appointments, tickets, seats, and more – within an email or message. They no longer have to click CTAs and hop through multiple web pages to buy.

Inbox Commerce can make a huge difference in marketing for the Media and Publishing industry via RCS, WhatsApp, and emails.

Let’s take up one channel at a time for deeper understanding.

RCS

Rich Communication Services (RCS) is an advanced messaging protocol to enhance text messaging and multimedia communication on mobile devices. It is a telecommunications industry standard developed and promoted by a consortium of mobile network operators, device manufacturers, and technology companies.

RCS seamlessly integrates many of the features commonly found in over-the-top OTT messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger with the widespread availability and familiarity of SMS. RCS operates within the pre-installed messaging app on Android devices. Notably, unlike OTT apps, RCS doesn’t necessitate users to download an additional application or establish a new account.

Unlike traditional SMS, RCS offers features such as read receipts, typing indicators, group messaging, and the ability to share high-quality images, videos, and files within the messaging app. RCS aims to provide a more interactive and feature-rich messaging experience via the phone.

Several surveys and studies have shown that 70-80% of consumers would like to engage with a brand through private messaging rather than traditional channels like promotional emails and banner ads.

In its generic form, SMS offers only one-way communication, allows no visuals, and limits text to 160 characters. With RCS, you can send rich, contextually relevant content straight to your customer’s Messages app on Android devices.

Here are a few ways in which the media and publishing industry can benefit from RCS:

Two Factor Authentication

Need an extra layer of security when customers are signing in to their accounts or perhaps when they are approving a payment to your brand? Use RCS to enable 2-factor authentication via your customer’s phone.

Since the message with the authentication credentials would go directly to the customer’s mobile device, no one would be able to access their account or use their financial information without their knowledge.

Live Updates

Just like interactive/dynamic emails, you can leverage RCS to send live updates (additions or removals from your events or books/magazines catalog, new events, and promo announcements, etc.) directly to customer devices.

RCS brings your messaging closer to customers than emails, because they wouldn’t even have to sign in and open their inbox to get your brand’s latest update. They’d just get an SMS notification directly.

Redeeming deals and offers

The next time a brand sends an SMS promoting a new deal (40% off a new publication subscription, perhaps), the customer no longer needs to click on a link and redeem the code on a website.

They can grab the deal and the publication directly from the SMS. Once again, like emails in the Inbox Commerce ecology, the customer is spared the hassle of multiple page redirects. No redirects, no friction, and minimal lead leakage.

Confirming tickets and/or reservations

Got a media event coming up? Customers can easily view and confirm their upcoming reservations via RCS-enabled messages. They can also make an entry to block their calendar immediately after booking their spot.

RCS makes life easier: they no longer need to check a site or app to see their reservation date, venue, seat number, etc.

While entering the event/sale, they can also show their entry passes directly from the RCS message. Again, no need for a site or app visit.

WhatsApp in Inbox Commerce

WhatsApp employs end-to-end encryption, which means that messages and calls are securely scrambled and can only be deciphered by the intended recipient, enhancing the privacy and security of user communications. Additionally, the app frequently updates its security measures and works to identify and fix vulnerabilities to protect against potential threats and cyberattacks.

The Financial Times, a publication accessible exclusively to its subscribers, provided two complimentary daily articles within its WhatsApp Group. As reported by Digiday, this method yielded superior conversion rates compared to other social platforms, amplified brand recognition, and provided valuable insights into the topics that resonated with potential subscribers.

What’s particularly intriguing is that, despite having a smaller audience, the engagement with the content was significantly higher, and the likelihood of conversion to subscribers surpassed that of audiences on various other online platforms. To illustrate, individuals who followed a Financial Times link on WhatsApp were 40% more likely to return to the site within three days than those who accessed the links through alternative channels.

Here are some of the ways in which you can leverage WhatsApp for Inbox Commerce:

Send digital welcome kits

Has a new user signed up? Send them a digital welcome kit via WhatsApp.

Sure, you can do the same via email or SMS. But given that WhatsApp has a 98% open rate (entirely true), your kit will probably be opened more quickly on WhatsApp than any other channel.

Don’t forget to send detailed steps for user onboarding and FAQs. Both can be sent entirely through WhatsApp. In fact, you can complete the whole new subscriber/buyer onboarding process within WhatsApp, quickly and easily.

Two-way business communication

As mentioned before, about 75% of global consumers want to message businesses. 66% of surveyed customers were more likely to patronize a business they could directly message.

This is exactly what Inbox Commerce facilitates with WhatsApp. Customers can interact with your brand as if they are speaking to another human being (technically they are, but you get the idea) and get quick responses.

One of Netcore’s major clients, a leading bank, uses WhatsApp to send policy updates and premium payment reminders. It also deploys chatbots with FAQs for addressing generic customer queries.

Facilitate direct purchases

Got an online store? Integrate it with WhatsApp so people can buy items directly from the app. They don’t even have to go to their email inbox. They can browse publications, shortlist and select them, add them to cart and finish payment inside a single UI. Literally, no redirects are ever required.

You can also send updated information regarding order confirmation, movement tracking, and delivery confirmation via WhatsApp.

Recover abandoned carts

Got an abandoned cart? It’s time to remind the user what they are missing out on, nudge them to recover it, and complete the purchase.

Use WhatsApp to not just remind folks that they have left a cart loaded with publications/ad services, but also give them an extra reason to finish the purchase. To cite an example, one of Netcore’s clients (in eCommerce) used WhatsApp to send cart recovery alerts with embedded promo codes. This accelerated purchase completions and boosted conversions.

Emails

Enable ad space booking with minimal effort

What if customers could search for, select, and book ad space within an email? They wouldn’t have to visit your website to check size and date availability. They could look through every option, choose the ones they want, and make payments inside the email body. Or even work out the budgets using an in-email calculator.

When you provide users with a level of convenience they are unlikely to find with your competitors, you also reduce bounces in the user journey – which usually occurs when your emails redirect users to a third-party page.

Inbox Commerce is cutting-edge technology still being adopted only by industry trailblazers. Move in fast and grab the early adopter advantage.

Make subscriptions quick and easy

Don’t make users spend much time buying new subscriptions or renewing existing ones. That’s your revenue and users shouldn’t have to get redirected to web pages, log in, and navigate to the subscription section to complete the process.

Use Inbox Commerce instead. The technology lets you place all the mechanisms for purchase/renewal inside an email. Customers can select a publication, browse various subscription models, choose, enter payment details, and instantly get their new subscription. Customers can renew existing subscriptions even faster if they have the payment details already stored; a single click inside the email is all they need.

Showcase dynamic, vibrant product catalogs

Display your catalogs in full color with multiple high-res images in a tasteful carousel that they can swipe through. These images will be fully visible within emails, contain comprehensive information, and not take up too much space.

These emails can also extract data from your website’s backend, so any changes to your catalog will be updated automatically. The customer can open the same email and immediately see updated information in real-time.

You can also include payment mechanisms in Inbox Commerce emails so customers can buy any issue/volume they want instantly. The key is to give them seamless, never-seen-before convenience.

Remind people about events or special issues

Send a full-fledged reminder, complete with compelling visuals, to interested folks about upcoming special issues or events.

Got a book launch? Show them a full-scale book cover, author profile, and previous publications, if any. Ensure that email recipients can sign up for the event from within the inbox. Similarly, if you have a special issue coming up, give folks a heads-up to remind them of the day it drops.

In both cases, you can add an in-email live clock that counts down the days, hours, and minutes to the event or sale. Trigger a little urgency with the ticking of the clock and let it work its magic.

Gather maximum feedback and opinions

To keep your customers happy, you need to grow consistently. And to grow, you need to know what you’re doing right and wrong.

Unfortunately, users often don’t have the time to visit your website to fill out feedback forms. So, bring the forms to their email inboxes.

Thanks to Inbox Commerce, this is easy to accomplish. You can send full-length, in-email forms for users to rate your products and services. You can send forms with a star or number-based rating system or text boxes so customers can leave detailed opinions or reviews.

Either way, the customer never has to leave their inbox to give you comprehensive feedback.

Get your personalization just right

Content that is effectively personalized always gets customer attention. Use Inbox Commerce to take your personalization efforts a few notches higher.

Consider customer or customer segment preferences and browsing history when creating offers and promos. Give them deals and discounts on books/magazines or other publications and services that they have actively shown  interest in. Send well-crafted offers and promotions that can convert users within the inbox.

Inbox Commerce-enabled emails are highly effective in collecting users’ zero-party data. When new users sign up, ask them about their likes, dislikes, and expectations from your brand. Combine this data with users’ browsing history to zero in on the items customers will spend on.

Offer instant, 24/7 support to keep users happy

If you still expect customers to call support helplines or write emails detailing their problems, you will lose them. Your competitors are constantly figuring out innovative ways to give the best customer support. Your brand needs to go above and beyond to stand out.

Thankfully, Inbox Commerce can help you achieve this with minimal effort. Leverage this technology to send in-email chatbots (with instant and intuitive responses) or detailed FAQs (that offer comprehensive and simplified explanations).

You can place FAQs under collapsible headers; the customer simply clicks on their chosen question, and the answer expands without affecting the other questions. Therefore, you can send as many FAQs (within reason) as you want without worrying about screen clutter. It is like putting the help desk inside the inbox.

Ensure hassle-free and secure payments

Buying something from you should be the easiest thing for your customers to do. They should be able to do it quickly and with minimal effort.

With Inbox Commerce, you can achieve that objective: insert payment mechanisms for literally anything (ad booking, subscriptions, book orders, etc.) within an email. They can choose items and check out without leaving the inbox.

Such emails can also save progress, so folks can come back and check out later if they don’t have time to finish the entire process in one go.

Inbox Commerce can provide real-time updates if the purchase involves a physical delivery to the customer’s location. The user just has to open the same email, and they’ll find updated information on where their package is at that very moment – no need to hunt for the latest update email.

The convenience of Inbox Commerce is the key to increasing conversion and ROI

Email marketing has the highest ROI among all digital marketing channels. Now, imagine supercharging it to boost the ROI even higher. That’s what Inbox Commerce is all about. Think of it as the boost you need to swoosh past the competition.

Many of Netcore’s clients have deployed Inbox Commerce and have outstanding results to show for its efficacy. Here is an exciting success story that shows how Inbox Commerce works, and how!

Media and publishing marketing initiatives can reach great heights with Inbox Commerce. Want to give it a shot? Reach out to us, and let’s talk about the specifics of how Inbox Commerce can transform your marketing outcomes and ROI.

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Written By: Netcore Cloud
Netcore Cloud
Admin @ NetcoreCloud