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Crowd-Led Marketing: The Key to Truly Understanding Your Customers

3 min
First published:  
July 30, 2020
Justis Saayman
Head of Marketing @ telbee
 - a.k.a - 
Let's talk! Details at bottom of page...

When it comes to creating a strong marketing strategy for your business, understanding your customers is the name of the game. 

With this said, I present to you my buzz-phrase of 2020: Crowd-Led Marketing. 

What is Crowd-Led Marketing?

As businesses, the majority of us still use a shotgun approach to email newsletters, sending out a vast amount in order to get a vast return. This is often due to a lack of technology, a lack of resources or a lack of time. 

In a nutshell, Crowd-Led Marketing entails making use of all the information you currently have about your customers (or ‘crowd’) to decide what type of email content would resonate best with your subscriber base - or what time is best to contact them.

email marketing strategy

How does Crowd-Led Marketing work? 

To help you understand how Crowd-Led Marketing works in practice, let’s take a look at a use case. 

Let’s imagine I am an online retailer. As such, I have peaks and troughs in terms of organic and paid-for traffic, and these are easily visible in web-tracking tools such as Google Analytics. In order to lessen these low-traffic periods, I want to utilise email marketing to drive traffic in an affordable way.

We all know that discounts and deals are one way to entice a customer, but as an online retailer with many brands, products and services on offer, I have to be careful here. If I simply rotate the items I put on sale every day, my promotional emails will just get lost amongst my customers’ other day-to-day emails from my competitors. 

So, what I’ve got to do to stand out and boost my email open rates and click-through rates is send out emails that are a) time-sensitive, b) appealing to my customers’ unique preferences and c) consistently engaging.

In this case, I might decide to run regular flash sales to grab my customers’ attention on a weekly basis.

email marketing strategy

Let’s take a closer look at how letting my customers know about a store-wide flash sale would help me meet the needs outlined above:


When done correctly, flash sales instil a sense of urgency, encouraging more customers to head straight to my store to catch the deal while it’s hot. 

Keep in mind that I’m sticking to my crowdsourced mentality here, and am using this method on a day where I would generally see low traffic on my store. As soon as my subscribers see the unmissable deal I’m offering them, my site traffic will start to rise. 

Appealing to customer preferences:

Of course, to see any real difference in my email’s open and engagement rates, I need to find out what my customers are actually looking at on my store.

If the majority of my customers are searching for a particular product or brand on my site, I need to show them those items first in order to get the higher results. 

But remember, according to the golden rule of Crowd-Led Marketing, you need to market to your customers based on current data about their actions and behaviours - rather than simply going after what you think they’re going to like. 

For example, simple logic might lead you to think that you should promote your raincoats on a day when it's raining. But if you take a look at the data, you may notice people are actually buying shorts that day due to the weather forecast for the week after - and this would change your marketing approach for that day completely. 

So, where can you find out information about your customers’ preferences? I’d recommend starting by taking a look at the keywords people use to find your site, using a heatmapping tool (such as HotJar) to see what they’re clicking on, and inspecting the words/brands/items your buyers are searching for on your site. Additionally, we recommend implementing voice messaging on your website to hear feedback and insights from your customers directly. 

This mix of qualitative and quantitative data points will give you a great, holistic view of what your customers actually care about.


Remember that the problem we are trying to solve is to uplift web tracking on low-traffic days. If you look at the data over time, low-traffic periods don’t come around once in a blue moon - they’re a constant. People browse on certain days, shop on others. Changing that behaviour will take a lot of time (which you might not have) and a lot of work, especially considering it might be a fool errand in the first place.

On the other hand, creating a concept centred around a particular day or time period (such as the flash sale in our example) means that your audience will start coming back week after week for the deal. They will associate that day with shopping at your brand and will also be less inclined to unsubscribe from your other emails if they feel one offers a huge amount of value.

Making Crowd-Led Marketing work for you

Now that you understand what Crowd-Led Marketing is all about, there are two things I need to mention which are paramount for this approach to work:

#1 A buy-in from the company is needed

I cannot stress enough that a complete buy-in from the whole company is needed on this and that when you’re running a flash sale, you (with the backing of your employers) should do all that you can to highlight and exaggerate the deal. Namely, by making it store-wide. 

Discounting a single product on a single day is great, but most consumers will not get out of bed (or click into a marketing email) for something that sounds… normal. Instead, you need to highlight the discount by making it a really ‘big thing’. This is also a great way to help clear out old or slow stock - or bring attention to new items on your store.

A few years back, I worked with an online retail store who did just this. The result? The brand saw a 400% increase in sales (in 24 hours) over the total amount sold in the 4 weeks prior to the campaign. Since then, it's become a weekly email campaign for that business - and has almost flattened the bell curve for them on low traffic days!

#2 Test what your audience responds to

Remember, with Crowd-Led Marketing, we are using the power of the crowd to drive traffic to our website.

This means you’ll need to check crowdsourced information (such as email open rates, click-through rates and peak traffic times) before you start sending out promotional emails. 

You’ll also want to start reviewing high-traffic day sales, and adjusting your campaigns if you feel your email marketing is affecting purchases from your best days, as this could mean you are flash-selling too many items or discounting products which might sell in any case. 

In summary

In essence, using crowdsourced data to supercharge your email marketing strategy comes down to placing your focus on truly understanding your customers. 

Of course, there are a variety of ways you can do this, such as allowing customers to send you voice notes via your website, using heatmapping tools or monitoring your customers’ key search terms. 

When you combine these qualitative and quantitative methods to gain a holistic understanding of your customers actions, behaviours and preferences, you’ll be able to effectively fine-tune your business’ email marketing strategy - boosting your traffic, increasing customer engagement and ultimately driving sales for your brand.  

To find out how our voice recording and messaging platform can help you crowdsource more marketing information from your customers, get in touch with Telbee today! 

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