With the average inbox easily getting more than 40 new emails every day, it’s no surprise that people are drowning in emails. Even if you think your emails are important, people will probably ignore them (or scan them in under 2 seconds before deleting them) — everybody thinks the email they send is the most important.
How do you make your firms’ communication stand out from social media updates, shopping alerts, and blog subscriptions?
Simple: make everything you say relevant.
The emails that are consistently opened, read, and clicked on are the ones that have valuable and personalized content. The sooner you can do this, the sooner your readers will look forward to getting your emails.
Here are three general tips to help you boost email relevance.
1. Know who each of your customers is
Why do companies still send the same email to their entire audience? No customers are identical — why should they all get the same message?
If you know what products they’ve purchased or which items they’ve added to their shopping cart, you have a better idea of who they are and what they’re interested in. Why not send them content related to those interests? And if you don’t have much information to go on, why not ask them through surveys or hire a market research firm to help you find out? Or you can even have them choose from a list of topics they’d like to hear about.
Even very basic segmentation can result in a big lift, and doesn’t take much effort. For example, if you’re sending out an email about your newly-created Twitter account, don’t send it to everyone, just send it to the users who actually use Twitter.
2. Personalize the whole experience
In addition to making emails relevant, you should find ways to make all of their interactions with your company more relevant. This includes the website they land on when they click on your emails, the customer service conversations they have with your reps, your engagements on social media, and direct mail offers you send them.
We’ve found that companies who personalize all customer engagements tend to get boosts in email responses. Part of the reason for this is because people will enjoy engaging with you and will think of your company positively.
3. Engage their friends
Facebook and Twitter have been so successful because they connect people, and they do that really well. As it turns out, there’s a strong correlation between the number of friends someone has in a setting – whether it’s social media, school, after school activities, or work – and their level of engagement.
There are many ways to incorporate this idea of “friends” into the customer experience. First, you should make it easy for people to share. Second, you should give your readers good reasons to share, whether it’s funny content, special offers, or invitations to a brand advocacy program. One retailer saw a boost in clickthroughs after adding a “Items you might be interested in” section to the bottom of their weekly updates that featured products recommended by people who purchased similar things.
Another way to engage friends is to make the webpage linked from your emails more of a community, whether it’s adding a Twitter stream, integrating Facebook Connect for updates, the hottest topics on discussion boards, or recent reviews about items they’ve looked at. The more human interaction you can foster, the higher their engagement.
What are you doing to make communication more relevant with your customers?