Sometimes, the easiest part of email marketing is getting the subscribers on your list. But what happens next? How do you keep those subscribers on your list and reading your emails for a successful email marketing campaign?
This can be achieved by following some simple rules that can apply to any relationship. Because that’s just what’s going on between a marketer and his or her subscribers: a relationship. And all successful relationships are built on a few core values: honesty, communication, and trust, to name a few.
1. Put yourself in their shoes
One of the first steps in a successful communication with anyone is to understand where they are coming from. If you can tap into what your readers are looking for and how they are feeling, you can provide them with more valuable content that will keep them returning to your emails. Think about where your traffic is coming from and identify your audience clearly so you can ensure that you are providing value and speaking to them with empathy.
Sometimes, this is as simple as sending out a survey. Ask your subscribers what they’re looking to get out of your emails, so that you can give it to them. Everyone likes to feel heard, and consulting your subscribers about their needs can help build trust in your relationship.
2. Be Honest
Lying, or even bending the truth, is the quickest way to get your subscribers to bail. This is most important in the subject line — don’t advertise something that your email doesn’t offer. If a subscriber feels tricked when they open an email, they feel like their time is wasted and they will immediately unsubscribe (or worse, mark your email as spam).
Specificity is key in your subject line and the content of your email. Don’t be overly broad in the hopes of attracting more attention. If someone isn’t looking for what you’re offering, they shouldn’t waste their time with your content. It’s a matter of quality over quantity. You might get fewer opens, but the ones who do open will feel excited and impressed by the content.
3. Be Personal
It’s important to demonstrate your humanity to your subscribers on a regular basis. No one wants emails from company robots. You can’t have a relationship with a company robot, but you can have one with another person.
One easy way to personalize your emails is to include photos of staff members on a team outing or a goofy picture of everyone at the office. If you’re comfortable with this and it’s appropriate to your brand, it can be a great way to humanize the email marketing process.
When possible, address each individual subscriber by their first name. This is essential to personalizing your emails.
Your greetings will play a huge role in personalizing your emails, too. Choose words like “Hi” and “Hey” over more formal greetings such as “Hello.”
4. Give to Get
A powerful way to keep your email subscribers is to regularly offer them incentives to stay with you. While your valuable content should be enough to keep them around, a little bribe every now and then doesn’t hurt.
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Access to an e-book or free webinar works nicely. You can create one yourself or hire a freelancer to do it. Regardless, the gesture will highlight your focus on your subscribers, instead of making it all about you and your company. Tangible, FREE gifts really increase the worth of your emails.
5. Look Nice
How your emails are formatted and designed will certainly play a role in your retention rate. Your email should be designed to look simple and clean, not cluttered or overly colorful. Use clear headings and standard formatting to identify links.
If you’re including photos in your emails, be sure they are centered properly. Wrap-around text is hard to format correctly in an email, so stick with a nice, clean center positioning.
Retaining email subscribers doesn’t have to be tricky. You can increase your retention rate by thinking about your relationship with your subscribers just like you would think of any other relationship. Be empathetic, honest, personal, and generous — and don’t forget to look good!
Simon Slade is CEO and co-founder of SaleHoo, an online wholesale directory of over 8,000 prescreened suppliers; Affilorama, an affiliate marketing training portal with 300,000 members and over 100 free video lessons; and their parent company Doubledot Media Limited, which provides seven different training and software applications to over 500,000 customers worldwide.