It is very simple to develop compelling email marketing campaigns if you keep focused on the customer and what your customer needs. Ask these 3 questions every time you kick off a campaign to give its performance a boost:
1. Does my content build trust and add value?
2. Does my subject entice the customer to open this email?
3. Is the value enough to my customer to share?
1. Build Trust First, Then Sell
Whether you are educating a new prospect or making an offer to an existing customer, it all about building a deeper relationship with your customer. If you know your customer or market well, this may be easy. Either way, ask yourself:
What content resonates most with my customer?
• Ask! Talk to your customer care and sales teams today. Look at your web analytics and see what content they’ve clicked on. Survey them, even if it is just a few customers for their interests and needs. Talk to lost prospects to see why they chose a competitor. While you may think you know, until you ask, you are only guessing what they want to hear.
• First impressions are lasting impressions with all relationships, and those initial impressions are even more important with email. The first email you send is your first opportunity to demonstrate how you and your company treat its customers and how you will build a digital relationship with them. Make it count. Connect with your customer! Watch your open rates to see if they are opening and engaging with your emails.
• Segment your customers so you can speak directly to them. Almost all marketers segment by industry and interests. Again, watch what your customer is digitally responding to: 1) subject line, 2) content (links), and if there is any difference in 3) tone (professional vs. friendly).
• Seasonality will impact your some of your campaigns. More email is sent in December than any other month. Tie seasonality in with your message to keep the open rates high.
• Humanize your emails. Even automated emails need a human watching the replies. Wherever possible, include a person’s name and allow recipient to reply to receive questions. Encourage responders to reply quickly and with the Company personality.
What demonstrates my commitment to my customer?
Content Credibility Tips
The most important way to establish credibility is through compelling, quality content. Content should be a balance of informative information on their interests with your product and promotional information. It should also be a blend of original and curated content. Here’s a few credibility tips that will keep your customer opening and engaging with your emails… in other words, keep your customer coming back for more:
• Start with a Compelling Content Mix
o Curate News and Informative Industry Updates to build credibility and trust with your customer or prospect. News gives you a reason to connect and build customer relationships and brand loyalty. Reports and educational articles written by reputable third party sources are available. Post these articles and videos directly to your website where your readers can learn more and where you can track what their interests are. By using third party content, you provide your customers with external sources that are often more meaningful that articles you create that can appear self-serving. For more details on the best practices for content curation, click here.
o When you cannot curate content, create Original content that provides the information your customer needs. If you are resource constrained, try outsourcing whitepapers, research, e-books or other marketing information to reliable, affordable sources.
o Add meaningful Product Promotions and giveaways. Surprise them with new incentives that are meaningful to them, or that they might even want to share with colleagues.
• Personalize all emails. “Hey there” emails do not help you build relationships. People love to see and hear their name.
• Practice Good Grammar. Have someone proof your email so your email reflects your professionalism… you do not want bad grammar or a typo to take away from your quality content.
• Format content for easy “skimming” and readability. Use headings, bullets and white space.
• Create Links to relevant content on your web site and format links with an underline font to make it clear it is a link.
• Check in on your Frequency. Too frequent and your opt outs will increase. Too seldom and you lose the sale.
2. Spend Time on Your Subject Line
Give customers a reason to open your email. Have a great subject? Don’t disappoint. Start with a stimulating subject, always short & captivating. There are lots of articles written on this. Here are a few tips and facts about subject lines that I like.
3. Don’t Struggle to Find Content
Are you struggling to find content? Under a deadline and stressed about having to write the content? There are more and more affordable ways to get all the content you need. Once you know what you customer needs, look at the many sources of content at your fingertips, whether it’s written, videos or images.
Don’t struggle, but also don’t settle.
• Leverage what you have on your website, stories from your customers and even include their most frequently asked questions. Whether you have the resources in-house or not, make more of those resources you do have by focusing on the customer needs and getting more from what you have.
• Leverage your existing resources to build more relevant content by simply finding and curating industry content from credible third parties. Post it on your web site to increase your credibility and to keep them on your web site.
• Utilize third party resources who do this for a living. The cost for out-sourcing projects is a lot more affordable and worth it if it is not core to your abilities.
Credible, relevant content will go a long way to helping you build customer relationships. Creatively leverage your resources to deliver the best. When you provide customers with meaningful information, you gain their trust. And, no matter how helpful your content, remember how busy your customer is, and that to open your email, the subject line must compel them to open it
Gregg Freishtat, Scribit