How to Set Email Subscriber Expectations and Win
Are your email subscribers clicking through to your websites, ordering your products and/or registering for your events as expected? No? Instead, are they simply unresponsive, unsubscribing or, worse, complaining? If so, perhaps you're not clearly establishing mutual expectations.
So, how do you manage your subscribers’ high expectations and then compel them to act? Use the following techniques:
- Tell your subscribers exactly what you expect of them.
- Tell your subscribers exactly what they can expect of you.
- Do exactly what you said you were going to do.
Telling someone what you’re going to do or getting him to do something just by asking him is easy and completely obvious, right? Yet, most email and online communications don't do it. This is why many email marketers with otherwise well-crafted campaigns end up with less than stellar results and waning subscriber bases.
Setting mutual expectations
When you want your subscribers to take action, such as adding your sending address to their safe lists or buying your products or services, use highly specific language with concrete details in every communication.
Don't leave any question about what you want to happen, and don't be afraid to be too obvious. As with any healthy relationship, open, two-way communication is the key to success. But it's a two-way street. So, in exchange, tell subscribers what you’ll do — or not do — to nurture or progress said relationship.
There are many ways to set mutual expectations, so let your corporate culture be your guide. Here’s an example of a confirmation email that might have been crafted by the late, great copywriter Gary Halbert.
Subject line/headline: “You're in! Now what?”
Body content: “Hi, Sue. The custom demo that you requested is now ready and waiting for you here. Once you visit (http://www.exampleurl.com/sue), we'll ask if you want to test the silver, gold or platinum plan. Select the platinum; it’s really the best value. The demo will take only a half hour, but you’ll be able to clearly make a purchase decision at that point. If for some reason you’re unable to take your customized demo today, we'll attempt to reschedule every two weeks, unless you tell us otherwise. So, what do you say? There's no time like the present … click here.”
For some marketers, this approach may seem a bit over the top — perhaps because they know the product and process too well. But for your busy subscribers, this level of detail creates a comfortable understanding and a clear call to action.
If you want to create a more successful email marketing program, set expectations for both parties up front and on an ongoing basis. First, decide what actions you'll take, and perform only those actions. Then, decide what action you want subscribers to take, and ask them to take that action. State it clearly, succinctly and unmistakably.