Email

It's not you, it's me: How to keep email customers from breaking up with you

Posted by Robert Boman on June 18th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Email marketing is a lot like dating. You have to listen, get to know each other and, ultimately, just click. (Go with me on this — I promise I'll keep the bad puns to a minimum.)

And, as with any relationship, you have to keep them coming back for more. So how exactly can you keep your customers from hitting unsubscribe?

Here's where dating comes in: You've got to listen. You've got to take what you learn and apply it. And you can't be a needy significant other that calls every five minutes either. Trust me, a quick survey around the office tells me I'm not alone in this thinking.

Listen.
My favorite emails are the ones that show me they know who I am. Not just throwing in my name somewhere. I mean the ones that know what products I already own and try to help me get the most out of them. Harley Davidson has really mastered this, and I open every single email they send. Why? Because every email is addressed to me, and the content is tailored to my bike and my interests. They know who I am and give me what I want. And in return I give them the best kind of love: I click. A lot.

So, what if you're reaching out to potential customers? The ones who haven't bought any of your products yet? Well, it's the first date. Get to know them. Ask them about themselves. And listen. We all love to talk about ourselves. Let them tell you about what kind of information they want.

No. REALLY listen.
It's not enough to know what your customers have bought or are interested in; you have to use that information. Nothing turns me off more than getting an email for something I already have or something that couldn't possibly apply to me. Case in point: My name is Rob. I ordered Car and Driver magazine. So why, in a follow-up email, did the magazine company recommend Women's Health? Not that I don't like healthy women, but I think that's a different kind of magazine.

Even just paying a little bit of attention is enough to start making educated decisions as to what kind of content to send your customers. So start doing it.

Don't be needy.
Chances are, if you're emailing your customers every day (or close to it), you're going to get a lot of deleted emails or unsubscribes. You become that ex who's just a little bit creepy in that "stalkerish" sort of way.  Remember, in email (and in dating), absence makes the heart grow fonder — and your message stronger and more relevant.

Don't get me wrong. There are those select few who don't mind getting daily emails. But I'm going to go back to square one on this and tell you to listen. When you're asking your customers what they want to get from you, make sure you ask them how often they want to hear from you. The happier they are, the more clicks you're going to get. And that can make all the difference between a long-term relationship and a one-night stand.

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