Email is a fantastic marketing tool when used the right way. Send too many marketing emails too often and you will turn people away. Send too little communication and you will miss opportunities to win customers back or convert those who have shown an interest in you.
Your website is a member of your staff. It works 24 hours a day and doesn’t ask for breaks or holidays. Make sure you look for opportunities to integrate automated emails into your web functionality so you can be building customer relationships while you are in bed, in the pub or out trying to get new business. There are many more ideas than this, and you may not do all of these – do what is right for your business and what you have the resources to achieve. What’s the most important is that you ensure all your transactional emails contain enough information to make the customer happy.
- Web link
- Email address (or at least make sure they can reply to the email you are sending them)
- Contact information
- Special offers, if you are running these
Idea 1 – “Happy birthday, have a gift”
For ten years I have been telling people about the value of a birthday greeting. A website I used to run was sending out fortnightly newsletters to customers, and we rarely received feedback but I will never forget the day I had a reply from a subscriber who said, “I always enjoy the newsletters, but today I was overjoyed to see an email from you wishing me happy birthday. Thank you.” That email didn’t offer any benefit other than good wishes, and it worked.
Today, many businesses see the value in sending out a special discount voucher or other offer to a customer on their birthday. What a great way to send a communication to a customer who has perhaps not visited your website for a while. Who is not going to enjoy receiving that?
Idea 2 – “Thanks for joining”
When a customer subscribes to your newsletter or website, you probably send them an auto response thanking them (although quite a few companies don’t), but have you looked at this email lately to make sure it tells the customer all they need to know? Make sure the email is informative, with information about how to unsubscribe. This is perhaps the first email a customer will receive from you so it is your second impression. The first impression encouraged them to join, if the second impression is sloppy, they may wonder why they bothered.
Idea 3 – “We’ll get back to you? No, just kidding.”
I am amazed by the number of large organisations that destroy my trust as a customer by promising something they never deliver. Does your company do this? A customer sends in an email through your feedback form, then your web server sends them an auto response that promises you will come back to them within 24 or 48 hours. Then you leave the customer unattended and wondering if you even saw the email. They know it was an auto response. If your responder makes a promise you can’t keep, don’t make the promise.
Idea 4 – “What did you think of the product/service?”
Amazon is better at this than anyone, but I often see service providers doing it well. You sell a product to someone, then after two or three weeks you send them an email to ask if they liked it, or whether they need any more help. Amazon invites you to go online and write a review of the product, giving you a good incentive to get back on their website where they can stick some more offers under your nose.
Idea 5 – “Send me the info to save me time”
Here’s something I’ve built into a couple of sites for small business clients. This is designed for those customers who look at the website who are looking for the obvious answers most customers want – how much is it, how do you provide it and are you any good?
What you do is invite a customer to simply enter their email address to receive an auto-responder which contains a whole host of useful information that answers those questions. This could be a summary of prices, a list of client testimonials and a summary of what you do.
You might say, “Why can’t customers just bookmark my site?” The answer is because it’s a waste of time. How many of the sites you bookmark do you ever go back to? Now think how many times you go through your inbox and rediscover links to websites you forgot about. Emails can bring in hits months after you send them. Bookmarks get forgotten about.