When we create an email strategy for our customers, we usually try to create a few broadcasts that aren’t hard-sell, eCommerce-driven messages. Sharing recipes, showing some popular Pins on a merchant’s Pinterest Boards, linking to blog posts – any way we can think of, really.
Sometimes, email marketers look at these emails as missed sales opportunities, since the immediate conversion rate of these messages is lower than average. While that is to be expected because the call to action is not to “click and buy”, email blasts like these are a vital part of long term campaigns. Keep in mind the goal is to increase engagement.
How do they do that? First, they provide a respite from consistent marketing “calls-to-action”, and therefore extend the life of your contacts. Second, encouraging more social interaction with your customers increases the value they see in being on your mailing list.
Email strategy isn’t always about sales, coupons and cross-sells. A well-built email campaign should be asking customers to do more than come back and spend more. The more you engage your list, the more loyal your customers become.
Email is all about relationships. That’s the real reason that email is such a successful marketing channel for merchants who know how to use it correctly. Email leverages the relationship that already exists between a merchant and a customer and uses it to create a response.
You can do this by reinforcing the trust relationship that exists between you and your customer, holding contests, or by reminding them that your site is a definitive resource for their interest. At some point they chose to sign up for your emails.
Why did they choose you? What would make them choose you again? Can you increase that bond by reinforcing your common interests with them simply by sharing news, updates, blog posts, and insights? If you can do that in between sales offers, expect the conversion of your offer emails to go up.
What’s the best way to get more social with email?
- Devote at least 25% of your email output to non-sales messaging designed to engage customers.
- Invite customers to follow/friend you on your social media accounts. Time these as best you can to account for your business’s seasonality.
- Cross-promote! If you’re planning a new social initiative, think about how email can support it by getting the word out to your mailing list. Again, when social promotions are close to their end date, think about using email to build urgency and, in turn, generate more last-minute participation.
- Don’t sell – give value. You’ll eventually get it back in the form of conversions.
Here’s a great example that ties it all together. This is an email from OVitaminPro.com late last year. It includes a contest incorporating a Special Guest blog post, and reinforces the common interest with the recipient in a Healthy Lifestyle.