Email marketing has many advantages: you can communicate directly with your target audience, you can personalize it, and you can build long-term relationships with your customers. Nevertheless, this type of marketing is nuanced and requires a lot of planning and strategy.
Let us discuss why you want to build good relationships with your customers in the first place. It’s about a lot more than just common sense.
Why building relationships with customers is important?
Once people made a purchase and then went on their merry way. You got what you wanted, the seller made a profit, what’s not to want? The problem with this approach is that it is inefficient. Yes, you make your sale, but then what? Will that person come back the next time they need something? Let’s take a closer look.
- It enhances the customer experience
There are several stages to a customer journey. While one person may have just discovered they need a solution to a pain point, others are analyzing their options, while a third group has their wallet in hand and is ready to buy. All of these steps require different approaches to meet the customer’s needs. And the only way to figure out those needs is to build a relationship with them.
You can do this by gathering data as the visitor moves through your site. Is he/she a first-time visitor? Which pages do they spend the most time on? Did they fill out forms to request additional info? If so, what sort of information are they looking for? Have they ever purchased anything from you earlier?
The answers to all these questions will help you to improve the customer experience by guiding them along their path by suggesting XYZ readings, resources, products, or services.
- It increases customer loyalty
If someone has a positive experience with your business, they are more likely to come back as a repeat customer. People are even willing to pay more for a product if they get good customer service in return. It’s also more cost-effective for businesses to retain existing customers than to attract new ones. So, you should think carefully about how to make your customers happy.
- It assembles a source of referrals
How many times have you suggested a business to friends and family after having a good experience? Even if you did not start the conversation, there’s a good chance that if one of them mentions that they need something that such a company offers, you’ll mention it. You should keep this in mind because word of mouth is the most valuable form of marketing. People trust it more than any advertisement, and it costs nothing. And if a customer tells you how happy they are with your service, you can blithely ask them for referrals.
- It provides valuable feedback
When you talk to your customers regularly, they are more likely to share their suggestions and constructive feedback with you.
How to utilize marketing emails to construct customer relationships
Now then. So let us get back to email marketing. How can you use this tool to build relationships that your customers will rave about?
- Show your human perspective
Presenting yourself as just a logo is impersonal especially in an age where people are used to learning more about a company’s core values and likability. You can show that human side by giving your contacts a chance to get to know you. You can post photos of your team, include employee celebrations in the newsletter, highlight your company culture, and show how your brand aligns with your customers’ values. Readers will get to know you better when you share commonalities.
- Send personalized messages
Greet them by name, send them content that is relevant to them, suggest products based on their preferences and past purchases. You can also send them free resources that you know will be helpful, such as a link for a new eBook, templates, checklists, etc. The more you pay attention to what your customers want, the more helpful (and valuable to them) you become.
- Praise their successes
As you build relationships with your customers, collect data from the information they enter into your website’s forms. You can also learn about business and personal milestones based on the goods or services you offer and the conversations you have had with them. Keep tracking of all of this and send them emails acknowledging big events.
- Ask for feedback
There are many different ways to ask for feedback. You can ask them straight and they can respond to the email, or you can send out customer satisfaction surveys or ask for a Net Promoter Score (NPS). That way, they know you value their opinion. Keeping them happy is not only a proven method of email marketing, but it also makes great business sense.
- Take action based on feedback
Feedback is only useful if you actually use it. Granted, there are some people who only complain because they want to complain. But if they are right, or if you are noticing a trend of the same concerns and suggestions being voiced over and over again, it’s time to take a closer look at your policies and improve them accordingly.
- Get to know your audience
Always give your audience what they ask for. That could be humour. It could be a conversational style. It also means providing content in the way your readers prefer. Do your readers prefer long blog posts? Infographics? Videos? Audio content? Whatever it is, implement it.
Practices for Email Marketing
Now that you better comprehend the significance of constructing good customer relationships and how to use email marketing to that end.
1. Segment your contacts
Use customer relationship management (CRM) software that allows you to segment your contacts based on their classifications. Remember how we talked about the Buyer’s Journey above? That’s why this feature is very useful. If James, the first-time customer, discovers your website and subscribes to your blog today, the marketing emails you send him should definitely look different than the ones you send to repeat customer Sergio.
2. Deliver on your commitments
If you announced the launch of a product for an exact date, then deliver on that date. If you have put your customers on your email list with a promise to send them valuable content regularly, then keep that promise and keep it immediately. If your landing page says, “We will not spam you!” then do not send them 548 emails a week with supposedly bizarre stories.
3. Be yourself
Develop a brand identity and stick to it. Do not try to be clever by inserting something you think they’ll like if it does not fit with your core values and what your company stands for. If your trademark is witty and irreverent, you should use that in your emails. If you have a reputation for caring XYZ, you should incorporate that into your business practices and marketing materials.
4. Get to the point
If you have something to say, just say it. Do not beat around the bush or try to cover five different topics in one email. Before you launch your email campaign, define a specific goal. Do you want more people to sign up for your webinar? Then create content that aligns with that goal and get going.
5. Keep it short
As you want to provide value, you need to add helpful content, relate it to your business, add a good call to action and get on with your day.
6. Provide value
Okay. Here is that advice again. It takes repeating because it’s crucial. One of the main reasons to start an email marketing campaign is to encourage your contacts. Ask yourself if the content you are creating will be helpful to the reader. Whether it’s a checklist, a template, a list, or you are introducing a product feature, your ultimate goal should always be to make it easier for readers. Putting the customer first always wins.
7. Do not try to sell products in every email.
Yes, it’s your business to sell, and you want to sell as much as possible. But that does not mean you’ve got to push for purchase in every contact. That’s where effective lead nurturing comes in. And yes, even though all of the examples in point six fall into this category, you can also send messages that are targeted to a specific recipient like birthday, anniversary, and other vacation communications. You can also send information about industry news, community events, and holidays.
8. Be consistent
If you are running an inbound marketing campaign, you know that consistency is key. The same goes for marketing emails. Depending on your industry, once a week or twice a month may be enough. However, it would be best to include an option to update subscription settings at the end of each email. This way, you can give your contacts management over how much content they want to receive while keeping them subscribed to your emails.
9. Do not spam your audience
Any message that is sent in bulk runs the risk of being considered spam. Therefore, you should follow certain rules to avoid falling into this category. These include: using a reputable email service provider (ESP), sending marketing emails only to people who have specifically permitted you to do so, and avoiding spam-triggering words in your subject lines, such as “Buy Now!” “Earn extra money… “, “As seen on…”, capital letters, or excessive exclamation points.
10. Make it easy for your target audience to contact you.
Have a real person answer your emails. You can ensure that no communication falls through the cracks by using customer service software that collects all messages (from emails, website forms, and social media) and keeps them in one central location. Avoid using “do not reply” emails and include your contact information in every communication.
11. Be honest and transparent
If you make a mistake, admit it. If a job is taking longer than expected if a known team member has accepted a new job offer, if your business processes change in a way that impacts customers, or hey, even if you screwed up somehow, be transparent about it. This will keep your readers informed and foster trust.
12. Make it easy to unsubscribe.
This is not just about respecting your readers’ wishes. It’s also about the law. The CAN-SPAM Act is a federal regulation that requires companies to include an unsubscribe option in all of their marketing communications. The penalties are hefty, too – $43,792 for each email that does not include this option.
Email marketing is one of the best ways to stay top of mind with your target audience. But always remember that it has as much value to them as it does to you.