How BDO Brings Their Knowledge To Your Inbox
Tax legislation, VAT and auditing may not be the most intriguing topics to read about. So to create engagement and build trust in such an industry, targeting needs to be spot-on.
Which is easier said than done.
Simon Warnich works as a Senior Consultant for Communication & Social Media at the head office of BDO in Aarhus. It's his task to make sure BDO reaches its goal of becoming the go-to news source for tax legislation, VAT and similar subjects.
"Data is key for us" , Simon explains with emphasis. "We need to know if we're talking to existing customers, online leads or someone else. Our biggest challenge is to merge our data and get a unified view of the people we're talking to. The data is there, but we need to break it out from its silos."
Step in your audience's shoes
With 16 000+ email subscribers, BDO had a golden opportunity to reach out to their audience in an easy, cost-efficient way. However, their data was cluttered - which made it hard to understand what content goes out, and to whom.
So to start off, Simon and his team wanted to establish a properly running email marketing channel. This is why, in March 2015, BDO chose APSIS as their solution for structuring their data much better than before.
"Email is one of the last media channels you truly own. Organic reach is dropping on Facebook and LinkedIn all the time, so there's no longer a guarantee that followers will see your content there. Email marketing is a great way for us to reach our audience and see how they engage with our brand."
Once they migrated the data from their previous tool to APSIS, and cleaned their recipient lists, Simon started planning BDO's digital communication with a much better understanding of their audience. He now knew that the subscribers of their bi-weekly newsletter included CFOs from all Danish C20 companies, competitors, media and influencers. (A large proportion of their subscribers were actually from Denmark's tax authority, SKAT!)
Simon and BDO managed to narrow down their number of newsletters by working with dynamic filters as a way to deliver content that matches every subscriber’s profile. These advanced filters let them use one and the same email for all subscribers, with different modules being displayed or hidden based on the recipient data.
This way, the dynamic filters make it possible to create personalised emails for a larger audience, while making sure each message is tailored to each recipient’s needs and interests in a smart way. (Note: to do this, it’s essential to have your subscriber data structured properly when setting up the filters.)
Own a time slot in your recipient's lives
BDO created an email marketing strategy that made sure their mixture of subscribers all received the best, most fitting content. Today, a dedicated in-house expert is responsible for creating this content and sharing the company's voice toward the outside world; in the meantime, Simon and the BDO marketing team take care of strategy, planning and the production of their newsletters.
"The role of our experts and thought leaders is to summarise new legislations, and then put them into an everyday context for our audience. Email is the best channel for communicating this to people who have actively signed up", says Simon Warnich.
They send out their bi-weekly newsletter every other Wednesday at 08:00. That way, BDO can make sure it sits on top of everyone's inbox when they come in to work and scan their emails in the morning. By setting an expectation and consistently fulfilling it, BDO has managed to own an actual time slot in their audience's life. It's like they have a pre-booked meeting with thousands of people within their key audience group, every other Wednesday morning!
"I'm a bit curious about doing a split test, to see the effect of sending our newsletter on a Thursday instead. But since our audience is a very punctual bunch, I would probably end up with complaints from people who haven't got their newsletter in time. I mean, we have 57% opening rates so why mess with it?", smiles Simon Warnich.
So what next? In the future, Simon and BDO will strive to stay ahead of their competition by continuing to provide the best possible content they can for their recipients, and by working even more proficiently with customer data. Who knows - maybe their email open rates will be even higher a year from now...
3 Vital Takeaways From BDO’s Email Marketing:
Create an expectation
Decide what value you will bring to your recipients, find out what time of the day your audience is most likely to read an email from you and send your newsletters at that time. Think of it as setting an expectation you have to deliver on regularly.
Bring your best knowledge to their inbox
Your content should always relate to the everyday life of your subscribers. Try to break down complex issues into something that is relatable and useful for your audience.
Invest in relevance
A key factor in successful email marketing is making sure that what you send is valuable to your recipients. Using filters to adjust the content for each recipient makes this really efficient: the data used can be from basically any digital source, including past behaviour.