5 Keys to a Happy & Healthy Email Relationship >

Breakfast in bed with your email program? Yup, it's true love.

Breakfast in bed with your email program? Yup, it’s true love.

Getting your subscribers committed to a long and meaningful relationship is no easy feat. Studies show that subscribers are most engaged in the first 48 hours after opt-in and, as such, Welcome emails average an open rate 4x that of non-transactional mailings. Beyond that, subscribers who receive a Welcome series show more long-term engagement with a brand – 33% more on average. Capitalizing on this initial interaction is the first key to email relationship success, but it’s not the only driver. The tips below will help guide you through all of the phases of email relationship bliss.

1.Breaking The Ice

A subscriber can’t receive your welcome message if they don’t first opt-in. How are you inviting people into your program? This phase is equal parts telling and asking. It’s ok to talk about yourself and the benefits of joining your email program, but it’s equally important to ask meaningful questions about the potential subscriber. This is your first interaction, so don’t overwhelm the subscriber by asking for too much up front.

Bottom Line: Keep your opt-in form simple and straightforward, and only ask for data you actually plan to use.

2. The First Date

The first date sets the tone for the entire relationship. How you present yourself both visually and verbally in your Welcome email will ultimately determine whether the subscriber chooses to continue engaging with you. It is important to be genuine and to set appropriate expectations. Remind the subscriber of all the things you have in common, and reference those questions you asked when breaking the ice. If you offered an incentive for signing up, make good on it here. This is also your opportunity to find out more about the subscriber by directing them to the preference center. You don’t have to give everything away in one message – if you feel like you have a lot to say, consider a series.

Bottom Line: All eyes are on you – make it count with an immediate and impactful Welcome message.

3. Getting To Know You

This is the time to prove yourself as a valuable partner. Subscribers’ needs are ever changing and while you can’t be expected to be a mind reader, you are expected to continue delivering relevant and meaningful content. Monitoring browse and click behavior and implementing progressive profiling tactics will allow you to present content that is unique to each subscriber’s interests. It is also important to monitor engagement activity over time and take cues from your subscribers when it may be time to back off on the frequency of sends.

Bottom Line: Listen to your subscribers – their behaviors will clue you in to their unique needs.

4. Happily Ever After

It’s important not to let the relationship get stale and repetitive because you’ve fallen into a comfortable routine. Continue to live up to the expectations you set at the beginning of the relationship and occasionally go beyond to surprise and delight your long-term subscribers. Never forget a birthday or anniversary! Reward them for being loyal to the brand, remind them of milestones along their subscriber journey and react positively to his or her changing interests and needs.

Bottom Line: Strive to continue to be the partner you promised to be on the very first date.

5. It’s Not You, It’s Me

Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. Watch for signs of disengagement like less frequent opens and clicks. Define what unengaged means for your program (no email activity in 6 months? 9? 12?) and create a series of emails specifically targeted at re-engaging that population. Have a plan for both those who do and do not take the bait. A re-welcome email is a great way to reset expectations and reintroduce the subscriber to your program if they engage with the reactivation email. If reactivation efforts fall short, be prepared to let those people go. With deliverability becoming much more personal, an inactive subscriber can do a lot more damage to your list than an unsubscribed one.

Bottom Line: You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.

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