Improving Email Marketing, Part II: What They Aren’t Telling You and You Aren’t Telling Them

To make your email campaigns truly effective, you’ve got to know your subscribers. What they tell you is one thing; what they don’t tell you could be the key to the success of your campaigns.

If you missed Part I, read it here

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How well do you know your subscribers?

Do you know those songs that just keep stuck in your mind? You should have some stuck in there.  Making an effort to learn more about your subscribers brings to mind the song “Tell Me More (Summer Nights)” from “Grease”.

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The Container Store has the lyrics down pat. It urges its subscribers to “Tell us more”. It starts with a preheader, asking for “information that’s relevant to your life.” The body of the email gives more specifics about the types of information requested – interests, self-description, birthday.

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 Tell us more!

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You can use a survey to monitor your subscribers’ interests, which may change over time. Too bad if they didn’t name any benefit to the subscriber.

 

How well do your subscribers know YOU (and your products/services)?

Certain companies suffer from a sort of a brand stereotype. For instance, many people think of Home Depot is a place to shop for home improvement and building supplies. Did you know that the website also has an entire section for home décor, with everything from candles to vases? There’s even a Martha Stewart Living section (well, Martha’s everywhere).

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Use your emails as an opportunity to cross-sell your products. If you don’t, you’re short-selling yourself – and doing a disservice to your subscribers. You’re also missing out on an opportunity to increase your subscribers’ base because of the wider interests you can appeal to and segment your messages to.

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Of course, you should use your emails to introduce new products and services. What if you have an oversized product, such as a car, that’s hard to convey all of its features and benefits online? Or you’ve got an offline event that most of your subscribers can’t attend due to geographical limitations?

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Take a cue from Hyundai, which allowed its subscribers to virtually participate in its premiere of the 2014 Equus at the New York International Auto Show. For those of you who’ve attended a major auto show and had to elbow your way through the throngs to get a closer look at the vehicles, an online, front-row seat is not such a bad deal!

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New Equus event live broadcast

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Don’t look at the obstacles to presenting your products and services to your subscribers – look at the opportunities. Even if they went to your event or attended a webinar, you are not sure that they did get to see your products or remember the main points you made. It’s a good opportunity to use an autoresponder (did you see what I did there?)

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What’s new?

Every so often, remind your subscribers to update their profile/preferences. They may have moved, or their lives may have changed in ways that impact their product needs (for example, had a baby or retired).

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This email from Kinerase, however, strikes me as a bit odd, asking subscribers to reset their password on the site. I suppose it’s an effort to weed out those who are still somewhat interested in the brand vs. those who are fully disenfranchised. It is also another way to get you onto the site.

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Reset your password and get a discount

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The truth is your subscribers aren’t very likely to visit their email preference center (you do have one on your site, don’t you?) unless prompted to do so. It can be a great way to segment your email subscribers by interests or frequency, but not always.

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It’s also a great way to discourage subscribers from opting out altogether. Give them a few options, such as only receiving certain alerts or special announcements. You can make the options as broad or as granular as you like, depending on the size of your list. Obviously, you don’t want to segment your list so specifically that you only have a handful of subscribers in each category; that wouldn’t make for very cost-effective email campaigns. But you do want to segment enough to be able to deliver targeted, relevant messaging every time.