Your mailing list is more important than you think. Hidden somewhere in that long list of email addresses are your best customers – the best customers you have today, and the ones who haven’t shopped with you yet but will be your top spender tomorrow. For most companies, the best customers are repeat customers. Email marketing, with it’s personalised offers, regular occurrence and low cost is an incredibly effective way to boost sales, whether you’re a small e-commerce store or a manufacturing giant. Here are a few tips to help you get it right.
1. Stop using CAPITALS and exclamation marks!!!!!
We understand how excited you are about your new products and offers. It’s tempting to try to grab someone’s attention with a bit of LOUD SHOUTING or a little! extra!! punctuation!!! but it doesn’t work well. In fact, many readers report that they now associate capitals, exclamation marks and symbols in email subjects mainly with spam. Worse, automatic email filters may do too, and they’re not going to give you a second chance.
2. Write as if you’re having a conversation with a friend
Your products and services are great and you’d be thrilled if your friends signed up to your mailing list or shopped in your e-commerce store. Imagine you’re sitting in your favourite pub in Portsmouth, telling them about your newest line. You wouldn’t start by shouting ‘IT’S FREE!!! GUARANTEED!!!!’ so don’t do that in your email either. Instead, you’d probably tell them a bit about why you chose to stock a particular line or how it would help in their circumstances, describing benefits and features in a relaxed way.
3. Clean up your address book
Get rid of any email addresses that are bouncing. They’re misspelled, out-of-date or deleted accounts, and you’ll never get an email through. Bounce backs are often a sign that an email sender has bought in a large number of email addresses and doesn’t care about the quality of their communication or its relevance – that they’re a spammer, in short. Email filters use bouncing email addresses as part of how they decide if a particular message is spam or not. It’s a problem that affects even the biggest e-commerce companies, so it’s well worth getting clean.
4. Switch to double opt-in
Once you’ve cleaned up your data, you don’t want more bounce backs creeping in. Double opt-in systems get people to click a link in an email they’ve received to confirm they did want to sign up to your email list. This lets you make (doubly) sure that their email address is valid and they do want your messages. It also encourages subscribers to make a second (albeit trivial) commitment to your mailing list, which can increase their likelihood of opening your emails.
5. Get personal
Your mailing list system probably knows more about your customers than you think. Take advantage of this insider information to address your customers by name and target products and offers to their specific circumstances. As an example, an e-commerce store catering to new parents might want to send out a ‘happy first birthday’ email and include a few relevant offers for toddler toys. On the other hand, a B2B service might prioritize addressing customers by their full name and title to create a more formal, professional atmosphere. In both cases, the personal touch works.
6. Say thank you to long-term subscribers
The data your mailing list service captures about your customers will usually include the date they first signed up to your service. This makes it really easy to send an automated thank you on the anniversary of their joining you or to automatically mention the time they’ve been with you in an email. This can boost loyalty buy making valuable customers feel valued. As an example, you might want to send a secret special offer to all the people on your mailing list who have been subscribed for more than 2 years and shopped in your e-commerce store at least once. They’re strong candidates for shopping with you again, so a timely nudge could be very effective.
7. Automatically unsubscribe people
Wait, what? After all the effort you’ve gone to to encourage subscribers to sign up, why would you automatically unsubscribe them? The truth is that as email filters get more savvy, every person on your list who receives but doesn’t open your emails becomes a liability, making your top quality product look like spam. Sending an email asking if your readers want to stay readers not only helps you create a more effective mailing list, but also improves your chances of getting through the spam filters into other inboxes. As an added bonus, it reminds your customers that you’re there while also making it seem like you care about reducing the number of unhelpful emails they get. Win-win-win-win.