Your Subscribers Are Not Your Friends

Your Subscribers Are Not Your FriendsYou know that guy who forwards everything he gets to his entire list — everything from political rants and virus warnings to urban legends and pictures of kittens dressed up like people?

How often do you actually open those forwards?

Yeah, that’s right.  Never.

Ok, well, almost never.

Every once in a while that guy will send an email that begs you to open it.  And when you do, you laugh so hard, or cry, or whatever, because it was like that email was written just for you. And for that one brief moment, you are glad that you are on that guy’s list.

But is it worth it to be on that guy’s list for the occasional amazing email? Is it worth it to have him cluttering up your inbox with irrelevant messages?

Don’t Be That Guy

Is your business sending marketing messages that make you the equivalent of that guy who forwards everything?  Are you sending your subscribers email after email of irrelevant material, waiting for the one meaningfully email to flip the switch and magically convert them into customers?

As an individual, you can’t get off that guy’s list because he’s in your accounting department or he’s your dad.

Your subscribers, on the otherhand, aren’t beholden to stay on your list.  They’re not your friends, so they won’t loose any sleep if one day they unsubscribe because they’re sick of the clutter you keep sending them.

Relationships Take Time

The problem is you need subscribers to stick around because not everyone is ready to buy at the same time.  Chances are, most of your email subscribers are not your customers — at least, not yet.

They’ve shown some interest in your products of services, but now you need to reel them in, keeping in contact through email messages.

The solution is to continually provide valuable information. As long as your message hits home time and time again, your subscribers will stick around. That’s why newsletters do so well – they provide great information without a pushy, overbearing sales message.

Consistency is another key to developing a strong subscriber relationship. It pays to show up on a regular basis.  The frequency of your communications will vary by industry. Develop a publishing schedule and stick to it, come rain, come shine.

Talk About Benefits

Good subscriber relationships are not about you and your company.  It’s all about what the subscriber gets from you.  Loading messages with benefits will keep subscribers engaged and reading.

Go ahead and mention what you have to offer – but spend email after email discussing the benefits you bring to your customers.

Are you an auto mechanic? Briefly tell people about the diagnostic test you can run on their vehicle. Don’t get hung up on every little detail. Spend the bulk of your time expounding on how preventative maintenance will make their life easier.

Talking about benefits keeps you relevent – because while you are talking about your business – you are focused on your customer and solving their problems.

Segment your list

Your e-mail service provider (ESP) collects a lot of information about your list.  It can tell you:

  • Who opens your emails and who doesn’t
  • Where your subscribers live
  • Gender and age demographics
  • Level of social media connectivity
  • Who your power users and brand loyalists are

Use this powerful information to break down your list and design targeted emails to each group.  Segmented messages receive higher open rates and click throughs than generic email broadcasts.

Tailoring your message to small groups within your subscriber base will take you one step closer to sending the magical message because in reality, every email you send was created with that particular subscriber, and the others like him, in mind.

Listen to What Your Subscribers Want

Allow subscribers to self-select the types of messages they want to receive.  This is the best type of segmentation – it keeps you from guessing what their preferences are.

Any ESP worth its salt will have a preference center that allows subscribers to select their interests and opt-in for message options that you create. You can send a link for the preference center in any email and then start building communication efforts targeted to each list.

The more you know about your audience, the greater chance you have to stay relevant. The longer you can keep subscribers on your list the more opportunities you’ll have to move them down the sales funnel at their own pace until that day when they are ready to go from being subscriber to customer.

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