Now that we know how to make an email look good, let’s discuss what we send and how we send it. Below are a few strategies and tactics for making the most out of your email list.
TARGET AND PERSONALIZE
Most importantly, you want your emails to reach readers who will find your message relevant. Your content should apply to where they are in life, so not every email should go to every customer.
In order to keep subscribers subscribed, there has to be something in it for them. Talk about what they want to hear, not what you want to say. Think about what you’re trying to promote and how, and to what reader would benefit.
First, you need to treat new users differently. People who just joined your email list may be new to your studio or your brand of fitness, so you want to start them off with information that’s relevant to that stage. Their initial email(s) from you should be an introduction to your studio. This separate flow, often called a “Welcome Series,” can be just one email or up to a few depending on how much information is pertinent to newbies. This is also a great opportunity to include an offer of some kind, potentially 10-20% off a purchase.
For your repeat members, it’s important to know who they are and what their taste preferences are. As a subscriber, it’s frustrating to get emails that have nothing to do with you or give the impression that the company doesn’t know who you are, like getting an email to win a trip to New York City when you already live there. Users may brush aside one or two of these with a sigh, but one-too-many and they’re gone as a subscriber. You should be thinking not only about who to include in an email send, but who to exclude. So if you are having a special promotion that’s only valid for new customers, or you’re promoting a 101 class, you want to make sure this doesn’t go to your veteran customers. That touchpoint with them is better saved for another message.
For your most loyal customers, you can have a VIP list where you email them first about events, giving them a few hours head start to register. Another idea is to, on occasion, email them a buddy pass where they can bring a friend for free to one class. Personalize these emails using merge fields, which allow you to add in customized text to each email, such as a person’s first name. Try it in the subject line, the salutation or the body copy.
If you have multiple locations or will be expanding to new places, take into account users’ locations before firing off a mass send. For instance, if you’re opening a new studio in another city, it’s probably not that relevant to members in your current cities. Look to see who on your list is in this new city and only send a dedicated launch announcement email to them. For customers in other cities, you can include the information in a newsletter or on your website for awareness.
The cadence at which you send emails depends on your business, but the rule of thumb is: don’t annoy your subscribers. They’ll unsubscribe and you’ll lose the chance to talk to them in the future. Only send an email when you have something to say that the customer cares about. For instance, if you’re a daily deals website then the customer would expect an email everyday. But for most small businesses, they would expect once to twice per week at most. Monitor your unsubscribe rate from each send to get a sense of the content users like and which emails they were less engaged with. Consider A/B testing your subject lines as well as the time of day you’re sending to get a sense of how that impacts your audience. If your open and click rates are low on your emails, test sending fewer emails and see if those rates change.
Not every email makes it to the inbox. There’s that pesky spam folder where our emails can get trapped. The fate of your email’s destination depends on your IP and domain reputation with each email client. An IP reputation can be soiled if there’s an influx of spam complaints or large amounts of hard bounces. Email clients don’t divulge their exact methodology but the best way to keep your email going straight to the inbox is to send to only users who have subscribed and know they subscribed.