5 Keys to Respectful Customer E-mail Relationships
As worldwide e-mail volume continues to grow, e-mail marketers are looking for highly relevant ways to communicate with customers and stand out from the crowd.
Here are five effective methods to respect your customers’ differences and needs while improving relationships — and ROI — in your e-mail campaigns:
1. Send relevant, valuable and timely information and offers. Subscribers repeatedly cite lack of relevance as the top reason for opting out of commercial e-mail relationships. Meanwhile, e-mail marketers often create e-mail campaigns that appeal to themselves, rather than considering the preferences and traits of the target audience. The more you know about your subscribers, the more you can customize messaging and offers.
2. Segment lists to best match your customers’ needs. Segment your list based on whatever subscriber information you’ve gathered (demographics such as age, gender, income) and by indicated preferences (recent purchasing behaviors, etc.). Taking the time to make sure this job is done right is key to a strong relationship.
3. Consider the mobile user. Creating a text version of each e-mail you send is also key because many mobile devices still can’t read HTML. Some ESPs have a "sniffer" feature that automatically detects e-mail programs that can’t accept HTML and present them with the text version.
The mobile devices that do accept HTML, however, are different than desktop e-mail clients. Whether the mobile device in question accepts HTML or only text, the messaging for mobile users should be shorter. Smaller screens, for example, work best with e-mails that are about 60 to 65 characters wide. Subject lines, too, need to be shorter — no more than 30 characters — as you reach for the divided attention of these users on the go.
You also can respect mobile device users by placing a mobile option on your list subscription forms and optimizing separate e-mails for them.
4. Use triggered e-mails to enhance personalized, customized customer communications. Many e-mail service solutions offer triggered e-mail features that enable users to send e-mail messages on specific dates. You can leverage this feature by sending customized e-mails that arrive at just the right time, like a triggered message before or on someone's birthday.
Triggered e-mails also enable you to send a series of e-mails over time to subscribers at predetermined intervals. This strategy, often called “drip marketing,” requires careful planning.
5. Use transactional e-mails to build customer rapport. Transactional e-mails — welcome letters, receipts, confirmations, etc. — can increase customer retention and marketing effectiveness. Most e-mail service providers, for example, have standard welcome e-mails that go to new subscribers. You can take advantage of this communication to reflect your brand and your messaging.
Dan Forootan is founder and president of Sacramento, Calif.-based EZ Publishing, a technology and Internet marketing services firm. He's also president and CEO of StreamSend, an e-mail marketing solutions provider also located in Sacramento, Calif., which was created by EZ Publishing. Reach Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.