It goes without saying that if you’re doing email marketing, there are right ways to go about initiating, engaging and maintaining that one-to-one relationship with your customers. The term thrown around is “best practices”, but the basic idea is that you should treat your email audience with respect and like real human beings. You need to build and maintain trust.
A Strategic & Competitive Asset
So, if you are doing email marketing from that premise, you should already be doing opt-in email marketing only, and providing easy to use preference controls (preference center). It’s about getting permission to send an email. You need to think of every customer opt-in as a strategic and competitive asset. Stop thinking of email marketing as a “blasting” tool, and start thinking of it as interpersonal relationship building tool. And each relationship you build comes with benefits and provides value, but they also require work.
We don’t think of relationships as something that comes with requirements, but the fact is all healthy relationships take intentional effort. So, once you’ve won over a new customers, and secured their opt-in, that’s when you need to get to work to build and maintain trust. Here are 5 ways you can work at building that trust with your email audience.
- Be Relevant & Interesting
If the phrase, “email blast” is in your vocabulary, stop right now — raise your right hand, and read this out loud: “I will never use the words ’email blast’ again, and will think of my email list as real people.” You get extra credit if there was someone in the room with you.Ok. Now that you’ve made that oath, we can keep talking. The fact is lumping all your customers into one single segment no longer works. We live in a world of personalization, and your customers expect to be treated as important, unique individuals. You need to tap into your analytic and your email data insights to make sure you know what each email customer is doing. Have they opened or clicked before (engagement)? Have they purchased from you before or not (new customer vs existing customer)? Looking back, how much revenue do you make on average from existing customers (lifetime value)?These are just a few examples, and for the most part, are key data points you should have through Google Analytics or/and your email sending data. Make the most of it, and use it to talk more directly to your customers. This is what relevance is all about.
- Don’t talk to much
Too many marketers figure that if one email “blast” results in “X” revenue or results, then 2 email blasts should be 2X better. Right…? Wrong.In today’s market, your customers are getting a lot of marketing. Think of it like trying to have a trust-building conversation in a crowded, loud room. People get tired of getting so many emails.Research shows that one of the top reasons people will unsubscribe from emails is high frequency (too many). The best approach — ask your customers how often they want to get emails and respect that request. A good approach is to determine a regular email calendar that fits your needs but doesn’t go into “obnoxious” territory. Other factors to consider is the customers behavior. Email marketing triggered by your customers actions is one of the best ways to engage over email. It is timely, and if you use your data effectively, you should be able to customize the emails with relevant content that reflects what the customer is doing and where they are in the relationship.So, in short, watch your opt-out rate and spam complaint. These are incredibly valuable metrics that will let you know if your customers feel you’re “talking to much”.
- Treat Your Customers as VIPs
In a world where someone like Kim Kardashian can become a celebrity, today’s culture has develop a strong desire to feel important. A great way to do this is to treat your high value customers as “insiders”. This can be early bird sales, early notice of special events, or even just special content from “behind the scenes”. The key is offering value (not just fluff).
- Reward Your Best CustomersMany companies make the mistake of offering the best deals to their low value customers (low revenue) to try to increase sales. In today’s open-information world, chances are your best customers are going to find out and won’t like it if they paid full price for your product or service.So, certainly look at ways to re-engage or drive up engagement with email contacts that haven’t yet bought from you, but make sure you’re also rewarding customers who are providing revenue.This is where your site and email analytic can provide insights.One approach to rewarding your best customers is to use your customer’s behavior to identify products that 1) a particular customer segment is highly likely to be interested in and to purchase; and 2) have not yet been purchased by the particular customer segment (what is known as cross-selling).
- Go Mobile
Consumers have shifted to mobile. A phone (or tablet) is a very personal device. According to Litmus, this shift has reached the tipping point.It’s official: mobile now accounts for the majority of email opens, with a 51% share. That’s an increase of three percentage points since the previous record of 48% from September and October. Desktop opens now make up 31% of opens, while webmail has dipped to 18%.So, if you think about it, when you get your customer to opt-in to your email marketing, they are giving you permission to reach them on their mobile phone.Make sure to look at your email metrics to confirm if this is the case for your customer base, of course. That said, with your audience going mobile, make sure your website is mobile optimized, and that customers can respond to your call to action easily on a tiny mobile screen.
Before you start making a list of reasons why you can’t optimize your website for mobile, keep in mind that sites like ThemeForest.net provide easy to install responsive designed themes for WordPress, Drupal & Joomla. Just find the right CMS you use, and search for or filter by “responsive design”. If your technical skills are non-existent, then use oDesk to find a skilled developer that can install and set it up for you.
Building Your Email List
If you really think about it, having a strong, engaged email list is practically an asset. If you want to learn more about how to go about building your email list, I highly recommend you read Jeff Walker’s book, Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams. The title is somewhat gimicky, but his insights are spot on, and he has a lot of neat, low-cost actionable insights to help you start building your email list. So, if you have a list, treat it as it’s worth. Don’t abuse it. Respect the people on the other end of those email addresses. Don’t bore your customers with irrelevant messages that show you haven’t taken the time or care to target them and personalize the content. If you do it right, your email audience will respond and you’ll get huge value out of your email marketing efforts.
What Are You Doing
Tell me what are you doing in your email marketing efforts? Any big pain points or challenges? How have you solved them? Share in the comments below.