How to Create A Perfectly Targeted Email Experience

( Valuable lessons for the rest of us.)

I helped my mom rent an apartment for her move to Pennsylvania (hooray!) just before Christmas. We talked to a real estate agent about buying first, but decided to rent for now. The very pleasant agent suggested sending us property listings until my mom was ready.

So I got her autoresponder, and it was great. It was almost perfect.

This is the autoresponder (pretty typical for a real estate email):

Amanda, I hope you are having a great afternoon. I just wanted to shoot you a quick email to thank you for stopping by CentralPAHomeSaleTeam.com to search for homes...

It was directly followed by listings of homes in our price range and neighborhood of interest.

Here’s why it was great and what would have made it perfect:

 
√ I expected an autoresponder.

In this case, the realtor asked to send me new listings, so I expected automated emails. She said she’d “send me listings,” not “be in touch” or “let me know” (beware of letting autoresponders do the job when your subscriber expects personal communication).

Listings are list items. Lists are impersonal. My feelings aren’t hurt that she doesn’t email me personally about houses matching our specifications between driving to open houses and shuffling lease papers. Automated emails fit both our purposes.

Other situations where autoresponders would fit recipients’ expectations nicely: An e-course and a daily inspiration delivery.

 
√ It does have that one-on-one appeal.

I know the email was automated. But the plain text format gives a from-a-friend impression that’s a nice step between a face-to-face chat and the glossy, detached listings. This is a big purchase, so trust is important to maintain.

You can get this look – plain text with a signature picture and logo – with the HTML plain-text email template.

 
X But the content wasn’t spot-on.

First of all, did you notice the second sentence in her email? “…Thank you for stopping by CentralPAHomeSaleTeam.com to search for homes.”

I didn’t actually stop by the web site at all. I found the agency with Google and called right from the search page.

Secondly, we had just spoken to her and decided not to buy yet, so the “can I help you now?” was a little jarring.

Slight mismatches often happen in situations like this – which makes these situations perfect opportunities to impress.

How You Can Do It Better

It’s a fair bet that people with different interests in your business are getting onto your list. Subscribers are like snowflakes, after all. Maybe one’s a regular customer. Another’s a merchant you hope will carry your product. Another’s a prospect who likes you on Facebook. They’re signing up in different places.

You need to match the welcome to the sign up.

This creates a consistent experience. It tells your new subscribers, “I know who you are, and I have your interests in mind.”

In the case of the real estate agent, I called, we talked, renting seemed the best option for now, she asked to send us listings for later.

Imagine if I had gotten an email from her that thanked me for giving the agency a call, mentioned the listings again and assured me we could call when we were ready to shop.

That would be the perfect personalized experience.

Let’s set it up.

Here’s the basic idea: you create a new list for each situation you’re collecting email addresses in to give those people their own personalized experience. Your thank you page and welcome message are tailored to match the experience your new subscriber just had with you.

Then you send them your normal broadcasts and it’s business as usual.

(This may be tricky if you use a lot of specific segmentation like a realtor would. But it’s shockingly easy otherwise – especially in AWeber.)

Set it up in three easy steps:

1. Create a list for each type of sign up experience you provide. Ask for a lot of subscriptions in person? Create a “So nice to have chatted with you!” list. Have a sheet at your farmer’s market table? Another list.

2. Customize each list’s

  • Thank you page
  • Confirmation email
  • Confirmation page
  • Welcome letter

to match the situation.

3. Then automate them onto a main list to send all of them your broadcasts (or so they all get your follow up series). (Automating can be 2-clicks easy.)

Note: You’ll need to make sure this main list doesn’t have its own welcome email, since everyone will have already received their own version of a welcome email.

In the future, keep it going. Hit up a local workshop and get some new subscribers? Create a list for them, mention the workshop and the fact that you chatted with them. Automate their list into your main newsletter list. Done.

If you have an AWeber account, I suggest setting this up now. If not, set it up where your email lists are. If you don’t have lists yet, check out the 15-minute guide to getting started.

This is powerful automation that will create a great experience for each new subscriber the the entire time you’re using these lists.