Are Those PEOPLE On My Email List?
It can be easy to put together a whole email without thinking once about who will read it. Your mind is already crowded with content to arrange, goals you need to hit and ways to optimize response.
You might not pause to think about your list. You might instead just cross your fingers and send your email zinging toward it? – the “spray and pray” process.
But your list is made up of people – real people with families and jobs, worries and triumphs. And these people have buying power and an opinion of your business. The best way to use email marketing, then, is to pay attention to them.
So let’s look at how to keep in touch with the faces behind those names on your list, whether there are 10 or 10,000.
Your first subscribers are probably people you know well. If your business was a band, you’d be playing for your sister, and your best friends in your basement.
Even if it feels silly, start things off things professionally by sending helpful content. These people are your first brand ambassadors – the ones who will talk up your brand to others.
And this early in your campaign, there may be some bugs to work out. Take advantage of your easy access to feedback – just pick up the phone or ask over lunch. Use their suggestions to create something they’ll be proud to share with their friends, business contacts, stylists, librarians…
Once those stylists and librarians have joined your list, your audience loses the “you have to love me ’cause you’re my mom” factor. Your band is now playing to people in a coffee shop who’ve heard you have a good thing going. Before they recommend you to the next layer of contacts, they’ll want to see solid value.
Part of that value comes from the enjoyment of reading your emails, so take note of your writing style. Remember, email is a people-to-people medium. You’re sending to real people, but you’re also sending from a real person. Be friendly, be quirky and let your personality shine.
As your list grows, you accumulate subscribers who don’t know you personally. It’s as if your band is playing at the park, and the strangers who stop to listen have no way to directly contact you.
Keep in touch by using a “from” address that accepts replies. A do-not-reply address is the online equivalent of the cold shoulder – not the best impression to make. Carefully weigh the responses you get and reply to each, even with just a quick note. Give each subscriber as much personal attention as you can before your list gets larger.
With this many subscribers, you have a big enough audience to connect with regularly on social networks.
Link to your profile in your emails, then make your page the place to be. Post about sales, offer special deals, ask for opinions and respond to comments thoughtfully.
Once your page is an established hot spot, you can use it to grow your email list further. Tweet examples of your newsletter and periodically link to your sign-up form or display it on your profile. Then people who bump into you on a social network can easily subscribe.
At this point, your subscriber-marketer relationship is significantly different – you’re playing to a concert hall of people who saw your ads. And since you’ve never met them, you may not know what types of people your brand is attracting.
You can find out easily, though. Ask the questions you’re curious about with surveys. Find out what your subscribers are like, what they think of your product or service and how your emails can serve them better.
By now, responding to feedback from enough people to fill an amphitheater has become much more than a side task. It’s time to enlist help, whether that be a people-friendly employee, a customer service team or a virtual assistant.
To make a smooth transition, you’ll need to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Create consistency by writing up a library of responses to common queries.
This also keeps the workload down, since most questions will already have an appropriate answer ready. With a slight tweak or two, each response will be ready to go!
Photo credit: Sbvr6 at en.wikipedia
If your list is this large, congratulations! You’re filling stadiums! It looks like you’re already using tactics that subscribers appreciate. With such a large list, though, you may feel tempted to let your engagement slip – after all, you’re already doing just fine.
Don’t give in to that temptation, though. View your readers as faceless drones, and it’ll become obvious. Your emails will start prompting the reaction, “Why would I want this?” instead of ,”This is exactly what I need!”
Instead, keep things personal in a large list by segmenting it based on various criteria. Segmenting is a fast, easy way to give each of your readers an experience personally tailored to their needs, wants and preferences.
Putting It Your Way
How many subscribers are on your list? How well do you know them?
What methods do you use to find out what exactly is their cup of tea?
We’re very interested in your stories, so please share them below!