Nurturing relationships after the opt-in
You've acquired the email marketing golden ticket: permission to mail a new subscriber. How will you nurture the permission-based relationship you have established?
You've acquired the email marketing golden ticket: permission to mail a new subscriber. You've sent them a few newsletters and can track their responses in your reports. You're feeling good about the new relationship and believe by their response that they are too. As time goes on, however, their needs as an email recipient will change. Will you handle those changes in a way that continues to nurture the permission-based relationship you have established?
Convenience and control
Initially, opt-in email marketing meant simply getting permission to send email. Today, opt-in email marketing means much more. Your subscribers increasingly demand that your communications be delivered on their terms, not yours. They expect convenience and control.
Each year, many of your subscribers change jobs. Others are persuaded to switch ISPs. You can strengthen your relationships with these individuals by providing a convenient and quick way to update their accounts. Consider providing a link in every email that accesses a location where the subscriber can quickly update his or her email address without having to unsubscribe and then opt-in again. If you do provide the opportunity to change email addresses without re-subscribing, make sure that this email address is updated with your email service provider and also in your in-house customer database as well. This decreases the potential for accidentally overwriting the new email address with the old, incorrect email address.
Tailoring the relationship
We have seen a trend toward increased mailing frequency. You may be considering this to support your business objectives. Some subscribers will appreciate hearing from you more frequently. Others will not. The same holds true with content. Some subscribers may like to receive information about every product and/or service your offer, others want narrowly focused content. In all of these situations, providing an easy method for subscribers to tailor their subscription profiles gives you an opportunity to increase subscriber satisfaction and strengthen the brand relationship.
Connecting with readers on the go
In addition to considering how often readers want to hear from you and what kind of content they want to receive, you now need to also consider how they will receive the message. Readers aren't necessarily sitting in front of their computer screens when your email comes in. It is very likely that a percentage of your readers will receive your message on a mobile device. If you are in the B-to-B space, this likelihood is even greater as many corporate users will forward messages to mobile devices from their corporate mail servers.
We encourage email marketers to start learning who these mobile users are, and test different messaging strategies with this group. Our experience is that mobile users have a very different reader profile than someone sitting at a desk. They may be using their Blackberry to edit and delete what they don't want to read later on at their main machine. If you don't deliver a message with mobile power, you are likely to get deleted even quicker than you might expect. Consider doing a survey of your readers and adding an opt-in component that asks, "Are you likely to receive messages on a mobile device?" and "If so, which kind of device?"
Final take away
If you are looking for ways to increase subscriber satisfaction and loyalty, consider ways to let subscribers tailor what they receive and how often they hear from you. To increase retention, consider allowing subscribers to change their email addresses without having to fully re-subscribe. Finally, to ensure that you don't lose a portion of your readers due to emails not being formatted for mobile devices, check with readers to see if they will be receiving messages on mobile devices and design accordingly. These steps will clearly illustrate you care about your subscribers and their needs.