A lot of work goes into getting subscribers so it may be tempting to pat yourself on the back and take a break once you actually bring subscribers in. But the honest truth is that getting customers to opt-in to your emails is only the first step and preventing them from unsubscribing is even more difficult.
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What truly matters is how you treat them once they’ve subscribed to your list. After all, a whopping 97 percent of businesses are using email marketing, meaning that your competition is certainly gunning for the same attention you are.
In addition, 44 percent of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email. Therefore, your business should do everything in its power to make sure that you are going above and beyond with your email marketing efforts to drive similar results.
In this post, you’ll learn eight ways your business can go beyond expectations and delight your email subscribers for the long-term.
1. Give your subscribers a warm welcome
Much like in regular everyday interaction, first impressions are huge online. Especially in a market as saturated as email, creating positive experiences from the very first day will be key in forming a strong customer relationship.
When a customer chooses to subscribe to an email they are taking a risk. They are inviting your regular email updates into their already crowded inbox. Make sure to reassure them from the very beginning that your emails will be valuable and worth their attention.
Especially considering that welcome emails generate four times the open rates and five times the click rates of regular emails, this would be the perfect time to offer a promo code, sale or other offer as a thank you for signing up.
In this welcome email from Karmaloop, they an added the bonus of a $10 off promo code that’s only valid for a week. This might prompt customers to convert after the very first day or at least visit the site after their first interaction with your email.
Either of these outcomes will increase the likelihood that your subscribers will respond positively to your emails in the future.
2. Provide something of value on a consistent basis
Now that you’ve made a positive first impression, your subscribers are likely interested in what they can come to expect from your email marketing. As much as people say they like being surprised, a large amount of the utility of an email subscription comes from the consistent, regular updates that your subscribers can depend on.
Focus on a core offering (like a weekly newsletter of curated content, or a feature collection or regular giveaway) that will serve as a foundation upon which to build a more nuanced and varied campaign.
Ideally this should be part of the selling point of a subscription, if not the main point.
Convince and Convert’s email offering is so appealing because you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into (it even offers a sample). It promises something realistic, valuable and consistent.
This article is about ways to go above and beyond the expected, but the only ways you can ever hope to exceed expectations is to first set expectations and consistently meet them.
3. Sporadically offer incentives of even higher value
Once you create a value proposition and consistently deliver on it, your business has the opportunity to truly delight your audience. Delight is one step beyond content.
After (let’s say) four consistent weeks of delivering reliably high-quality content, give your consumer something that is unexpectedly great.
In this example, Williams-Sonoma knows that its subscribers signed up to receive weekly discounts and new product announcements. These emails are a great resource for the right subscriber, but they tend to be light promotions only applicable to online purchases delivered on a regular basis.
Now that it’s made subscribers happy with consistent offerings, WS will periodically go out of its way and offer a full-fledged eBook on a similar topic. This is offered for free just because it appeals to its audience, therefore creating a delightful experience for them as a subscriber.
You can delight your audience by following this lead. After creating an expectation for consistent quality, go beyond to sporadically offer something extra. An enhanced version of whatever content or offer or deal was simply satisfying your subscriber beforehand.
4. Reward them for being a subscriber at certain milestones
After continuing this regular cycle of consistently compelling content interspersed with delightful surprises you should have a pretty satisfied subscriber and therefore, a highly successful email marketing strategy for your business. When the six-month or year mark of their subscription approaches, this will be your chance to delight your audience even further.
At some pre-determined milestone send your subscriber an email showing that you appreciate their continuing interest. Think of this as a much bigger gesture than your periodic tokens of appreciation.
This is a reward for each subscriber’s individual loyalty; whether that’s their year long mark of being a subscriber, a subscriber’s birthday or whatever other milestone you’d like to acknowledge.
Go for a grand gesture, like 35 percent off site wide for your entire “subscription birthday.” This might not be a sustainable discount to give too often.
But if someone actually cashes in on it, it will be well worth the good will you’ve instilled in them towards your brand. That kind of experience is something that will be talked about amongst their social circle, which is the best kind of marketing for your business.
5. Offer membership-only exclusive deals
All of the suggestions discussed so far should serve to create a sense of connection with subscribers. The next step for this customer relationship should be instilling a sense of belonging. After a certain amount of time, or a certain action or indicator they can be promoted from simply being a “subscriber” to becoming a “member.”
From a strictly marketing standpoint, this is just segmenting. But given the right approach it could mean so much more to a customer. It will instill a sense of loyalty that is unique to those who feel they belong to something special. This loyalty program of sorts can help ensure your subscribers are customers for the long-term.
There are different ways to implement this depending on your specific industry, but the core principle remains the same. Treat your long-time subscribers a little bit better and let them know it. The subscribers worth impressing will notice the extra effort and you’ll both benefit.
6. Ask your subscribers for their opinion
While offering value to customers can definitely be a way to build a relationship, it can be equally as effective to invite them to offer their opinion on a regular basis.
Your subscribers often want to be a part of the process of providing input about your business, giving feedback on your latest products and sharing your insights on what your team should focus on for the future.
Center your ongoing emails on a variety of different campaigns to encourage the participation with your email subscribers like a contest, a quiz, a survey and more.
If this experience is a positive one, then your likely to build a stronger and more memorable relationship with a subscriber than would typically achieved just by them opening one of your emails, reading it, clicking on a link and making a purchase.
7. Show subscribers sneak peaks and first looks
Exclusivity is another way to help make your subscribers feel delighted about being a part of your email list for the long-term.
As often as possible preview your products, offer behind the scenes footage and other exclusives with your email list first to excite them about being part a special group of your customers.
Take this approach to the next level and offer promo codes, sales and other incentives exclusively to your subscribers or at least keep it exclusive for a period of time first before your entire customer base has access to the promotion.
8. Thank them often!
The concept of being thankful for your email subscribers is addressed in some capacity in most of the above tips, maybe most of all with the idea of surprising your email list with an unexpected incentive.
However, it’s important to always frame how you’re using email list to drive sales and interaction with your company from a place of thankfulness.
To illustrate your organization’s gratefulness on an ongoing basis, start by crafting the appropriate messaging in your emails, consistently offer incentives and giveaways to your subscribers and thinking of out of the box approaches to rewarding your list for their continued loyalty.
Consistently offering a thank you to your audience doesn’t have to be backed by a six-figure budget, but it does have to come from a genuine place, be related to your business offerings and provide something of value to your most loyal email subscribers.
What’s your best recommendation for finding success maintaing your email list? Share your experiences in the comments below.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.