When the Internet was still infiltrating every home in America, waking up to a full inbox was a thrill. Now, we think of it as an annoyance. However, despite claiming to hate mass emails, a full 44 percent of consumers admit that a promotional email led directly to them making at least one purchase in the past year.
People love to get good deals on the things they love, and nurturing your brand’s relationship with consumers who have already expressed an interest in your service or product can drive revenue and increase conversion rates.
To effectively increase business and avoid becoming an irritating source of inbox clutter, though, your email follow-up strategy needs to include some key elements.
1. Address Incentives
If you’re getting email addresses by promising a coupon, a discount, or more in-depth information, you should make good on those promises as soon as possible.
Consumers expect those deals right away, so don’t disappoint them by making them wait, especially after they’ve held up their end of the bargain.
2. Reinforce Who You Are
Emails should remind consumers why they liked you enough to subscribe in the first place. You’ve already piqued their interest; now’s the time to showcase what you have to offer. Think of emails as your e-catalog that lure people back to your site to explore further.
Focus on the most important things you want consumers to hear. Demonstrate how your brand is evolving and staying relevant. If you sell products, focus on how you display them in a single email. If you market to businesses, follow up with your best examples of thought leadership.
Noun Project does a great job of sending emails that reflect the values it shares with its audience of designers. Every email is pixel-perfect, and every meticulous detail is razor-sharp. The company perfects its email design, even if it takes longer to deliver, because it knows that’s what its audience values most.
3. Call for Social Engagement
While many customers prefer email, you don’t want to lose those who might be better engaged through social platforms such as Instagram, Twitter or even SMS. The key here is to avoid seeming like a pushy guy at the end of a bad date. You don’t want to harass people into spending more time with you, so concentrate on communicating that you’re willing to adapt to their needs and interact on their terms.
4. Test Everything
There are several ways to incorporate testing into your email follow-up strategy. Split testing may be the most underutilized tactic in content marketing — and one that can work some serious magic on your click-through rates. Try different calls to action, subject lines, and content placement. This kind of measurable testing will help you uncover what customers respond to best.
Remember, you’re not technically following up with people who don’t open your emails. So if 75 percent of recipients don’t open one, send a similar email just to those folks — but with a new, more urgent subject line. The best ones are striking or funny, and they always interrupt expected patterns.
You can always be testing something to improve your strategy. If you’re already seeing good click-through rates, test out different landing pages to maximize revenue.
5. Give Them Some Eye Candy
This doesn’t mean you should insert pictures of scantily clad women. How your emails visually strike customers is important. If pages are too cluttered, readers may not notice your most important message. And if they’re boring or unappealing, they won’t care to learn more.
Investing in excellent photography and a creative display pays off big time. You don’t have to be as meticulous as a design company (unless you are one), but quality photographs make a huge difference in how people perceive a brand or product. Don’t skimp, and don’t be boring. Use a little creativity, and show consumers something more original than a pretty model.
6. Segment Your Strategy
Don’t just blast out emails because it’s 3 p.m. on Friday and that’s what you do at 3 p.m. on Fridays. Consider where a consumer stands in your process: First-time users don’t have the same needs as people who have been subscribers for a year.
A man on your list who just bought an engagement ring doesn’t need to receive a free shipping offer, a catalog, order confirmation, shipping confirmation, and a coupon within the hour. That guy will unsubscribe immediately.
Sun Warrior, a vegan, plant-based supplement company, employs a fantastic segmenting strategy based on past purchasing behavior. Its customers receive emails that showcase products they’re more likely to be interested in and at frequencies that align with their buying patterns.
If you sit down to send out follow-up emails and feel a sense of dread, put a hold on your mass-emailing habits. Pinpoint the parts of your strategy that may be annoying customers (and making you miserable). Then, refine your skills in the art of follow-up so your customers can start getting excited over your emails again.