When it comes to email marketing, the last thing you need is for your customers to take you for granted. As memories of the holidays fade, it’s time to rekindle the passion between you and your customers. Reigniting this passion is even more critical now that Internet service providers are looking at engagement—open and clickthrough rates—as a major factor in deliverability.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, following are nine ways to connect with your subscribers through every stage of the relationship:
1) Ask them out. Make sure you have the permission of your customers by using the gold standard of a double opt-in. You wouldn’t show up at a stranger’s door for a date, so don’t show up uninvited in their inbox.
2) Flirt a little. When prospective customers opt in, you don’t want to bombard them with too many offers immediately. If you come on too strong, you might scare subscribers away.
3) Wine and dine. Present your best offers early on in the marketing sequence. We all dress up a little more for a first or second date than we do for a 10th date, and the same is true for email marketing. Put your best foot forward by sending your best deals and promotions up front.
4) Avoid being clingy. When the infatuation inevitably wanes, position yourself for a long-term relationship by presenting personalized offers, allowing them to adjust mailing frequency to their preferences. Don’t abuse the relationship by being clingy; instead, be reliable yet respectful of their privacy.
5) Delight them by doing something special for no reason at all. Your customers know you’re in business to make money, so when you give something to them with no obligation, they will take notice.
6) Surprise them with a very personalized offer. The best-performing email campaigns are ones that speak directly to your customers’ individual needs. In the consumer space, major online retailers have had great success with emails targeted to consumers who abandoned purchases with items in their virtual shopping carts. The best results originate with emails featuring the shopping cart item that are sent three to six hours after abandonment. Business-to-business marketers can reengage by messaging clients who were viewing their whitepaper library but did not download a whitepaper.
7) Remember your anniversary. Thank your customers on the one-year or six-month anniversary of their first purchase. Make sure the promo is tailored to their past purchases and is not just a general offer.
8) Give them a chance to talk. Create a short, simple survey to let them tell you honestly what they think of your relationship. Do they want more space? Is your merchandise in need of a makeover? Are there things you used to do that they miss? Now’s the time to find out the honest truth. Win them over at the end of the survey by offering them a surprise gift.
9) Can we still be friends? If a customer is just not in to you, accept it, and let him opt out. Thank him for his business, and avoid burying the opt-out link. On the opt-out page, give him the opportunity to “friend” you on Facebook or follow your Twitter feed. If you end the relationship with class, there may be a second chance down the road.
John Murphy is president of email service provider ReachMail.