Although there are email subscribers that will allow themselves to remain on email update lists indefinitely regardless of their interest in receiving those emails, quite a few people will eventually unsubscribe or [oh, the horror; the horror!] route those emails to their “junk” folders. Do not let this happen to you.
Naturally, this is far easier said than done. After all, very few of us enjoy receiving marketing and sales solicitations in our personal inboxes, just as we don’t spend an afternoon with someone trying to sell us a timeshare without the promise of reduced-rate hotel accommodations and free continental breakfasts. Clearly, the key is offering something that the recipients actually want. Not necessarily free products (although that certainly helps), but relevant information, tips and disclosures of special services of which they wouldn’t be aware without your updates.
Notice we said “wouldn’t be aware [of] without your updates.” This does not include reminders that your business exists, or follow-throughs about previous email communications. If you sent an email alerting your customers about a sale or a deal, don’t send additional emails about the same sale or deal. Likewise for emails about newsletters, blogs or any other alert, because…
No one wants an inbox full of marketing emails – pare them down.
Even if – by some remote possibility – all of your email communications alert subscribers to completely different deals and services, you run the risk of your customers shutting down from the glut of information. Basically, when your email count exceeds one or two per day, the recipients begin to view your emails as a nuisance. Even if your emails describe valuable services, if you’re the type of organization that constantly sends marketing emails, the recipients won’t view the services described in those emails as being special or anything that would necessitate instant action.
It is also critically important that whatever emails you’ve sent contain beneficial, interesting or useful information, regardless of how many you choose to send, since…
Emails that present no benefit to the recipient will be disregarded. Give them value.
If you’ve made it a habit to send causal email updates or requests that your subscribers follow you on one of your innumerable social networking sites, your subscribers will learn that your emails do not provide valuable content. Where are the sales? Where are the notifications of new services? Where are the alerts to new merchandise in stock? Have you provided tips on how your products might be used effectively? These are examples of alerts that merit email notifications, since they are what consumers want. If consumers consistently get emails reiterating the same information about your business, products or services, they will come to believe that none of your emails say anything relevant. Speaking of relevance…
Expand beyond simple descriptions of sales.
Content is key, and while it is important to delineate what special services you have to offer, it is also important to occasionally expand into well-constructed and pertinent information, specific to your customers’ needs and desires. If you are a local plumber, for example, you might occasionally offer tips on inexpensive home maintenance techniques that will help customers reduce the likelihood of expensive replacements and services. However, you have to mete out your content judiciously; as we’ve said, overabundant emails will have the opposite of the desired effect.
Test their effectiveness.
Do your customers check their emails on their personal computers or on mobile devices? Which browsers will they likely use? Are they Mac users? Do they live in rural or urban environments? The answers to all of these questions will determine whether or not your email strategies will be effective, and you can test them by using segmentation analysis and email marketing analytics tools.
Make your emails specific.
Don’t treat your email marketing strategies like your social media strategies. In other words, blanket sales pitches don’t work. If you are having a sale on ballet flat shoes, you’d better make sure that the subscribers to whom you’ve sent the notification would be interested – sending an email message about such a sale to men who are uninclined to buy or wear women’s shoes could lead to a mass of “unsubscribe” requests.
Quality will always be more important than quantity. Your email marketing strategy has to do more than get your business’ name out there – it has to speak to your potential customers clearly and effectively. Customers have to do more than tolerate your email communications in order to stay subscribed; they have to like them and – most importantly – need them.
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