Lesson 1: Relationship Building
Everyone has met that annoying person at a party who talks about themselves all night, never asking about you or letting you contribute. You’re immediately thinking up excuses for where else you need to be or who else you need to speak to so that you can escape the dull conversation. The same can be said for companies that don’t see email marketing as a relationship building tool. Your subscribers start looking for the punch bowl really quickly.
Relationship building and loyalty go hand-in-hand. Maintaining a positive relationship creates customers who want to keep coming back. A Bain & Company study found that the longer a customer is connected with an online retailer, the more they spend with them. That same study found that many companies don’t break even on one time consumers, meaning that in order for your marketing spend and expenses to be profitable, you need your consumers to keep coming back.
This all means that building relationships through your marketing efforts should be your very first concern. All of your email testing, segmentation, and dynamic variables should be serving the purpose of nurturing that relationship. According to ConstantContact, “it is roughly six to twelve times less expensive to sell to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one,” so your efforts will be rewarded if you put relationship building as your overall goal.
Here are 5 key points to building a lasting relationship:
1. Segmented Emails: If you are in clothing retailer that sells both men’s and women’s apparel, knowing the gender of your subscribers can be a huge benefit to you. Tailoring the offers in such a minor way can make a major impact to the subscriber. By targeting their interests, you are telling them that you care about what they want and are not interested in spamming their mailbox. Gather as much data as you can on your subscribers and create dynamic variables that speak to those data points.
2. Reward Loyalty: Sending emails that are constantly pushing consumers to buy can get boring and annoying. If the goal is for two-way benefiting, prove that you are a better partner for them than your competitor. If you have a loyalty program, sending out bonus point emails or offering freebies can help consumers feel the mutual benefits.
3. Two-Way Conversations: You want your subscriber to care about your brand, so return the favour and care about their opinion. Sending out customer surveys and reminders to update their preferences can make them feel as though you care about what they want to see and, as an added bonus, may stop unsubscribes. That feedback loop is important to keep up with to turn your one-time fling into a long-term relationship.
4. Welcome Emails: In the dating world you are told not to call right after the first date. This is not true for the email marketing world. If someone shows interest in you through a purchase or a subscription, show interest back. Welcome emails are an opportunity for you to form a bond with your subscriber right from the get-go. Giving them the impression that you’re happy they’ve signed on or made a purchase and tell them about what they can expect from the relationship (deals, coupons, etc.). This is also a great time to throw in a preference link to learn about what they want to hear from you.
5. Pick Your Messenger: In fields like non-profit, agencies, and financial, it can be especially helpful to include a personal “from” email. Instead of a generic “From: Company X,” having a real name in the “from” line can create an even further personal feel. This creates the opportunity for the feel of one-on-one communication, which is a welcome change in their over-crowded inbox.
Relationship building is what makes email such a valuable resource for marketers, as you can truly make marketing personal. This is a major building block for all other lessons to link back to, so stay tuned for further classes!