As an email marketer, you are undoubtedly familiar with the upward stages of customer loyalty:
Prospective -> First-time subscriber -> Customer -> Advocate
Occasionally, your subscriber won’t make it to customer (“unsubscribe”) or your customer will become inactive (automatic email delete, decreased email opens, decreased/no click-throughs). Aside from the obvious important “hook” point to get your prospective to subscriber with email marketing best practices, these are other points in the customer life-cycle at which you as an email marketer have a great opportunity to bring your subscriber back into the fold.
Ultimately, nurturing your customer relationship through email marketing best practices will assure you that you have a good amount of the all-important advocates spreading the good word about how awesome your company/message/non-profit/small business is.
Here are three simple but effective tools to add to your email marketing best practices toolbox to get your prospectives to the advocate level, for keeps.
1. Open lines of communication: In every relationship, communication is key. Just ask any couples therapist, business coach, or HR consultant. The relationship you have with your email subscribers is not so different. Research has shown that when customers receive multiple methods of communication, with interesting and varied content, they are more likely to remain loyal. In addition, keep your receptivity to inquiries and comments open. Include a prominent “Contact us” link in your emails and ensure that your subscribers receive a reply.
2. Provide support: Taking #1 a bit further, using an email marketing campaign to ensure new and existing clients feel supported in their requests for help and additional information will build customer relationships and increase loyalty. Marketers can provide information, insight, news, advice, and even technical help to subscribers through effective email marketing campaigns, and also respond on an ad-hoc basis to individual queries. Keeping a log of inquiries can also be pooled into a “FAQ” for your website, collected for future email newsletter or blog topics, or otherwise addressed in an aggregate fashion. All of these responses validate a subscriber’s feeling of value to the company.
3. Ask for opinions: Email marketing best practices maintain that the more engagement you have with your subscribers, the more loyalty they will have for your business. We’ve already addressed two ways to increase subscriber engagement through communicating effectively and in a varied fashion, and being responsive to comments and help requests. But there’s really no better way to make someone feel valued than by asking for his or her opinion (and actually listening, with noticeable effects). Consider integrating periodic short surveys or questions into your email marketing strategy. Even better, provide the results of the survey in a future email newsletter, and the implementation effects directly impacted by your subscribers’ opinions.
By reaching out to your subscribers, you’re reinforcing that their opinions and feelings matter to you, and giving them a way to make their voices heard. As a result, their loyalty to you will increase and you’ll get valuable feedback. It’s a true win-win for everyone.