FAILING AT EMAILING: PART 3 – Respecting The Inbox

In part two of this series, I focused on how to write an email. In part three I will focus on what to write.

When emailing a subscriber, marketers are invading their personal space and we have to proceed with tact.  Anytime we send an email blast from Big Presence, we exercise the same common decency we’d use when invited to someone’s dinner table.  We act politely and bring something. We would never make obnoxious demands of the hosts or act in any way that may annoy them.  When dinner is over we want them to welcome us back.  Using this same courtesy, you can make your email campaigns successful.

There may have been a point in time when the carpet bombing strategy worked a little in email marketing. Rest assured, email marketing best practices tell us you can no longer rely on emailing as many people as possible and hoping for those random few anomalies to convert. People know how to unsubscribe or mark emails as spam and if you don’t respect the integrity of their mailbox, they will scroll right to the bottom and make sure your emails don’t ever enter into it again.

It’s ok to have an agenda when creating a website or launching a PPC campaign.  Ultimately, we still want to fulfill the needs of our customers, but because it is our website or paid ad space, we are allowed to guide people down the path of our choosing and ask them for their business.

Email marketing is not a place to push your agenda.  In fact, it has to be all about the subscriber. If you want them to remain a subscriber you need to prove that you know what their needs are and make it worth the lost GBs in their inbox.

Email marketing best practices Step One: Understand who you’re emailing

What is their demographic: male or female, age, location?

What is their background: education level, industry vertical, their job function?  What are their hobbies, interests, shopping tendencies?  Are they parents, single, married?

The information you choose to collect, whether it be from forms or event tracking, should be used to personalize emails in some way.  Creating new emails and content for too many personas can become  time-consuming, so I usually prioritize two or three and use dynamic content to make small changes, like the images they see.

Email marketing best practices step two: Understand the needs of your contacts

Marketers always jump right into how their product is the best solution, but when leads are still in the early research stages they don’t always know what the solution you’re sending them is. They just know they have a problem. For example, my car may need a new rubber grommet for the radiator bracket, but if I just know it’s making a rattling noise, then I don’t know I’m in the market for a new rubber grommet for the radiator bracket.

What challenges do your customers face? What are their goals? The content you create should solve these challenges and your emails should point your early stage contacts to those content pieces.

Email marketing best practices step three: Understand your relationship

Just like in any relationship, we speak  differently to people the stronger our relationship gets. The early going should be considered an introductory stage and, therefore, we want our emails offers to be strong: gifts or educational content that helps them while also subtly speaking about who we are as a company and what you are about.

Marketers don’t want to introduce themselves forever, though, and will need to establish a queue of engagements that gauge subscribers loyalty and interest in the company. As the subscribers reach those benchmarks, recognize that they’ve become more comfortable and engaged.  Begin letting them know that their loyalty has not gone unnoticed by rewarding them. And, at this stage, we can also begin asking them for things, like”View our product line,” “View our demo” or “Speak to a specialist.”