As an email marketer, have you ever taken the time to realize, in a world bombarded with a myriad of competing marketing messages, exactly how powerful it is that someone gives you their permission to contact them? Knowing this, wouldn’t you invest more resources into formulating proven strategies to build a reliable subscriber database and keep them coming back for more? If you think I’m getting a little ahead of myself, that’s probably because I am. Let’s take a couple of steps back and really soak it all in.
Growing your business online all starts with understanding your email list subscribers.
An email subscriber is an individual who opts in to receive any form of communication from an outside organization in exchange for valuable content or an incentivized offer. These are the individuals who have invested their time in getting to know you and choose to sign up on your website to receive further information and/or special offers.
As a living, breathing aspect of your email marketing campaign, it’s essential to feed and nurture your email list subscriber database with what it needs to grow and flourish. That being said, a lack of effort toward maintaining the health of your database can put the brakes on an otherwise promising campaign.
For most, surrendering your email address is like surrendering your social security card – a risk you will take if and only if you are confident in the fact that your privacy is assured in the hands of a reputable organization who will not sell or share your email address if the life of their business depended on it. People will opt in when they are intrigued by the content that you publish and when the timing is right, NOT when your sign-up box is “in your face” and overly intrusive. Similarly, consumers will sign up when they are confident that they will receive something of value in exchange for their email address or receive some “incentive” available that really sweetens the deal. Perhaps a free e-book with well-written and captivating subject matter or a free 30-day trial of your service offering will lure them in. However, when there are too many barriers to entry or too many requirements involved in the sign-up process, you have successfully compromised your lead. Consider simplifying your sign up form by gathering only the necessities from your subscribers and making other fields of information optional.
Have we been operating under the false notion that Bigger is Better? Do we focus more of our energy toward recruiting new subscribers than we do keeping them? How do you maximize your subscriber life cycle in an effort to not only gain new sign-ups, but also sustain ongoing, long-term relationships with them?
If you thought your long lost dating days were over, think again. Many of the tactics involved in attaining website or newsletter sign-ups align with those involved in attracting a long-time mate.
In the case that you’ve lost your game, let me give you a quick rundown – some “do’s” and “don’ts” if you will. Whether you choose to apply these to your dating life or to increasing your loyal subscriber base, that’s up to you.
Either way, keep this in mind:
DO seduce them with alluring stories about you. DON’T bore them to tears with useless information.
DO make them feel special. DON’T make them feel like they’re a dime a dozen.
DO be upfront and honest about your intentions. DON’T put up a deceiving front that gives them a false impression.
DO express your interest in establishing a relationship beyond the initial introduction. DON’T hit it and quit it.
DO make an effort to surprise them every once in a while. DON’T ever get too comfortable.
Therefore, I challenge you to put the vibe out. Take the time to really tap into the psychological drives of your consumers. Don’t be afraid to change it up and be a bit confrontational or edgy from time to time in your marketing strategy to show the versatility of your business. However, don’t give it all up on the first “date,” but rather leave a little to the imagination. You must learn to strike the right balance between full transparency and being a little mysterious at the same time.
Once you have a firm handle on how to approach your relationships with your online leads, don’t make the mistake of over sending. If your subscribers falsely assume they signed up for bi-weekly newsletters and suddenly get flooded with daily inbox messages, you can pretty much guarantee that this will lead to a high unsubscribe rate, and you can kiss future business goodbye. Likewise, don’t appear to be too “salesy” in your promotional content and remember to Avoid the Hard Sell at all costs. Deliver information that is relevant to your business and aligns with the interests of your target audience.
When you scrub the surface down to the basic foundation of email marketing, it’s all about availability, accessibility, and regularity of quality content. If you establish yourself as an industry expert and become viewed as a trustworthy source in the eyes of your subscribers, the power of word-of-mouth will take effect, and a flood of new leads will follow suit.
Still don’t believe the worth of investing heavily in your email subscribers? Read how to Calculate the Value of Your Customer Database. You will come to realize that your loyal subscribers are the greatest advocates of your brand.
You don’t have to be a large, multi-billion dollar corporation to leverage the power of email marketing or word-of mouth. It’s a matter of creating stellar content and the rest is history.
The search for new customers is an expensive business. So why not invest your resources into building a lasting and profitable business relationship with your existing customers? The answer lies in delivering an unparalleled level of customer service.
According to a National Federation of Independent Business Study, having good customer service ranked higher in assessing business success than either having a price advantage over your competitors or having a unique and valuable product or service. If you simply sell a quality product at a reasonable price, you are just like 95% of all other businesses out there doing what you do. People don’t buy products or services. They buy solutions to their problems. By adding exceptional customer service to the mix, you now offer a competitive advantage that acts to instill a sense of trust between business and consumer.
In business, you may have come across the phrase, “The customer is king,” or “The customer is always right.” Given the experiences you may have had in the past dealing with those who have unrealistic expectations or requests, outrageous claims, or downright dumb questions, it often becomes a nuisance to cater to the wants and needs of each and every customer. Whether you like it or not, your customers pay your bills.
It’s interesting to note that, based on a Harvard study, an unhappy customer will likely become a repeat customer 80% of the time if you are able to rectify the issues that they have encountered with your product or service. People are far more willing to spend their time and money where they are appreciated and valued.
Developing a customer service strategy for dealing with customers is really a no-brainer. The way that your customer service department manages the queries or complaints of current or prospective consumers has a direct impact on their perception of your business and its growth potential. There are limitless ways that you can deliver a positive customer service experience, but I will go ahead and just jot down a few to get you started.
The necessity of maintaining long term relationships with your customer database is discussed further in a blog entitled, It’s Time to Start Dating Your Customers.
Adopting a consumer centric approach will allow you attract more business while spending less on marketing. Allowing your customers to do the selling for you through referrals will further your word-of-mouth marketing strategy, the “holy grail” of positive brand recognition.
Individuals are far more apt to trust recommendations from people they know rather than from the advertisements of promotions that they see. Implement a service-first culture and mentality throughout your organization so that everyone is aware of the commitment they must make to your customers to ensure that they are valued and respected in all circumstances.
A good salesperson can sell anything to anyone once. Good customer service can bring them back, time and time again.