Although most companies use their permission-based email marketing campaigns to promote different aspects of their business — products, services, valuable information — they’re perfect for getting customers involved in your business and building stronger relationships with them. Steve Adams, vice president of marketing for Protus, a provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) communication tools for growing businesses and enterprise organizations, explains how to go about it:
- Emphasize the forward to a friend button. Let customers know how much you appreciate them, and also let them know that if they like your content, someone they know might too. Ask them to forward the email to someone who they think would also enjoy your content and offers.
- Ask questions and ask for advice. Every good question deserves an answer. Try asking your e-newsletter subscribers different questions around the topic of your email. It may take a couple of tries to get responses, but the right question will definitely keep the conversation going. It will also build stronger relationships with your subscribers — they’ll see your personality, curiosity, and commitment to getting things right. Opt-in email marketing newsletters also should be used as a survey tool for gathering advice and customer feedback. Let your customers know that you are listening to them by telling them what you’ve learned and what you plan to do to continuously improve your campaigns. What do they want to hear about? What issues are top of mind for them? What can you do to improve their reading experience?
- Promote a contest. Contests are a fun and easy way to engage customers with you and your business. They are also a good way to get them to remember you — especially if you’re creative. Promote your contests by sending daily, weekly, or monthly updates and reminders. Promoting your contests through your e-newsletter will keep your contest top-of-mind, especially if your subscribers aren’t visiting your Web site or store often.
- Feature customers in your e-newsletters. Devote a section of your e-newsletter to a customer perspective or profile. A customer Q&A is another good option because it gives him/her the chance to talk about you, your products or services, and your business. It’s a win-win: you get to demonstrate your value while giving your customers the chance to get some exposure.
- Consider charitable giving. Businesses large and small like to find ways to contribute to their communities or special causes, especially around the holiday season. Targeted email marketing can be a great way to communicate your charitable giving plans and programs to your community of customers, associates, and investors — and invite them to join you. You can provide regular email updates on goals to reach, noting progress along the way. It’s a great way to show your customers that you care and to build customer pride, loyalty, and good feelings associated with your brand.