Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you just don’t understand the point of the conversation at all? How does that make you feel? Do you want to have another conversation with that person or avoid them at all costs? This is the same feeling your users have when you send them emails that lack strategy. If you aren’t sending with purpose, then you shouldn’t be sending at all. Let’s review what steps you can take to ensure engagement for your users and keep them from walking out the door…er, inbox.
Collect Email Addresses in a Smart Way
Annoyed by the popups that jolt out at you when you visit a website? It seems off-putting but it’s actually the most effective way to get the attention of your user and collect that super valuable email. Just make sure you are presenting it in a way where the timing is right, it’s explicit in what it means to sign up and you’re providing something of value off the bat. Another smart tip: Do not buy or rent lists – be polite and don’t force your content on unwilling users. They will end up hurting your deliverability and likelihood of serving content to those who are actually interested.
Educate Your Subscribers
A sure way to lose subscribers, especially at the beginning of the relationship, is lack of context and information. How can someone buy from you if they can’t understand what you’re selling? For certain industries, like fashion, the product will speak for itself and the user can almost immediately tell if the product is for them or not. However, if you’re selling something a bit more complicated, like yoga pants that monitor and report on your technique, you’re going to need to explain what they do, how they do it and why a user would benefit from it. Without this information, it’s on to the next.
Plan Your Workflows and Campaigns
This one seems like a no-brainer but it’s easy to get caught up in the riptide of emailing every thought that comes to mind to your whole audience. There are so many instances where an email could be appropriate but you need to ensure it is relevant and that there’s enough time to flush out the idea and bring it to fruition with quality. Pick and choose which messages are most to your audience and your goals before you execute. This rule applies to everything including automated emails, holidays campaigns, event announcements, email acquisition, segmentation, testing.
Take a Personal Approach
Let’s revisit the conversation analogy. What sounds more engaging? Listening to a seminar about email best practices or having dinner with an email expert who will listen to your specific business needs and help craft something tailored to you? That’s how we feel about email marketing. Sure, you’ll get the message out by sending a general announcement, but nothing gets the attention and engagement like something crafted specifically to you and your actions. Use automation to send messages in response to a user action and tailor offers around a user’s engagement level. Learn as much as you can and respond accordingly.
Content is King
One of my absolute favorite strategies in email marketing is sending messaging that is relevant to the user’s interest. Are you selling natural beauty products? Think past your product and look at what this purchase says about your user. You can probably guess that they’re interested in beauty and healthy living (duh) so take that extra step to bring your user more information around these topics. This has two benefits. First, you are bringing the user value without them having to give anything up (time and money). Second, you are establishing yourself as a thought-leader and gaining the trust of your user over time. This is a much more effective strategy than constantly pushing the product onto a user. They will come to you when they are ready. The more value you bring them the more likely they’ll be to buy from you.
Never Stop Learning
Your job in email is never done. Make sure you are always reading the data behind your email efforts and continually shaping your future efforts in an informed way. Like I said before, everything should be purposeful and by analyzing your results you’ll understand what works and what doesn’t. Test as much as possible and don’t be afraid to take risks. Even when certain strategies fall flat, you’re still learning!
Bringing it all Together
There are a million different strategies to put in place concerning email – the difference between a successful one and an unsuccessful one? Thought and time. To build a great email strategy you have to understand that every action you make has a meaning and should mean something to your user. Make time to fully flush out all your ideas, get to know your audience and never stop learning. Good luck!
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