3 Ways to Retain Email-fatigued Subscribers
If you're like me, you meet the start of each new year with some mixed feelings. True, the turn of the calendar brings new opportunities and 12 months'-worth of untapped potential. But as soon as we're done celebrating the conclusion of another busy holiday season, marketers have to face our next challenge: The New Year's Purge.
Lots of people feel compelled to clean hypothetical house at the start of each new year-purging clutter, conquering unhealthy habits, and even opting out of emails from the brands that crammed their inboxes in December. That makes January a dangerous time for modern marketers.
Of course, with the right strategy, brands can deal with this detox mode—and make sure their messages aren't lost in the clean sweep. Here are three ways to make the cut, and continue to connect with post-holiday email fatigued subscribers:
1.Share content that shows you can offer more than savings. To avoid being caught in the post-holiday cut, front-load your January messaging plan with communications that go beyond coupons and deals. If I'm paring down my subscription list after a major purchase or buying season, the brands that offer me valuable content along with their offers are much more likely to make the cut. In the wake of the holiday crunch, most consumers are less interested in "save big, limited time, act now" messages. They may not need anything from you right now—but they're still looking for content that offers relevant and sharable industry insight, inspires positive change and builds continued trust in your relationship. It shows subscribers you value them even when they're not in active purchase mode—and that goes a long way toward encouraging retention.
January is the time to show your brand's worth as a long-term investment. Offer a free e-book or whitepaper sharing projections or trends to watch in the new year. Or, if you cater to a B-to-B audience, push out research findings they can share with their own customers. Use these weeks after the holiday to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry or mindspace.
2. Offer up custom content in bite-sized pieces through an automated series. It may seem counterintuitive to create a series targeted to email-fatigued subscribers. But when strategically planned and well executed, an automated series shows consumers you have valuable information to share—and that you know how to break that content down into bite-sized nuggets that won't tax their attention, their schedule, or their inbox storage capacity.
Start by choosing an umbrella topic relevant to your recipients' business objectives. You can probably look to your own first quarter plan for great ideas on content that will resonate with your audience—think "organization" and "optimization" to start. Those concepts are practically universal this time of year.
After you've determined what you want to highlight in your messaging, create a schedule of topics and their timing. For example, you might send four to six messages every few days. Or, you could share a weekly "Top 5 Tips for the New Year" countdown. The goal is to create meaningful, periodic touch points over the course of a few weeks to remind your subscribers that you're a valuable resource year-round—not just during the holidays.
3. Be content to communicate with customers on their schedule in the new year. After the holiday madness and messaging en masse, there's a very good chance your subscribers want to hear from you a little less often in the new year. The customer who wanted your sales emails twice a day in December may now feel harassed by that level of contact.
Consider offering a way for readers to manage their subscription preferences. An "all or nothing" model can alienate consumers who only want to hear from you on their schedule. Instead, build some flexibility into your subscriber services and allow customers to deal with their new year email fatigue by reducing contact, rather than eliminating it completely. Make it easy to "turn down" the conversation volume, but also continue to share valuable content on a schedule that appeals to each individual user.