Archive for the ‘Strategy’ Category

Retention Marketing

09/14/2010 2 comments

While it’s important to regularly expand your customer base, retaining existing customers is equally if not more important. In fact, it’s more cost-effective to retain current customers than to acquire new ones. Occasionally you’ll have some fall-out from your email campaign as subscribers opt-out. But just because someone is opting-out of your mailing list doesn’t mean they want to say goodbye to you entirely. Done right, you’ll be able to retain these people as customers even if they choose not to continue receiving email from you.

Here are five ways to turn these opt-outs into continued business:

Make it easy to unsubscribe.
Place an unsubscribe link on every email communication you send. Process unsubscribe requests promptly and remove those addresses from your list (within 10 days, according to the CAN-SPAM law, but the best practice is to do it instantaneously). If your customers are dissatisfied with the unsubscribe process it’s likely that they won’t look upon your business favorably in the future.

Offer options. In addition to offering subscribers the option to unsubscribe from the list, offer them the option to receive emails less frequently, or to change their preferences. When you offer multiple choices, customers can decide which content best fits their needs and interests.

Learn from comments left by unsubscribers. Your unsubscribe confirmation page should offer a chance for the customer to provide feedback about why he has chosen to opt out. You may learn that unsubscribers preferred less (or more) frequent communications, or were looking for a different type of content altogether. This valuable information will help you improve your communication plan.

Let people re-subscribe. Sometimes people click “unsubscribe” by accident or change their mind. Make sure your unsubscribe confirmation page gives people the chance to re-subscribe if they’ve clicked your link in error. (The daily coupon newsletter Groupon does this in an amusing way.)

Suggest other ways to stay in touch. Your unsubscribers may not have time to read your email, but may want to follow you on Twitter or become your fan on Facebook. Offer links to your social media accounts on your unsubscribe page.

Another factor to consider is that a subscriber simply may not remember signing up for your email campaign. To avoid subscriber amnesia, use autoresponders to automatically fire off a welcome email at a predetermined time from which the subscriber joined the list. This will ensure that you’ve established contact and may also encourage the subscriber to add your email address to his address book.

When someone asks to unsubscribe from your list, you must respect the request. But an effective unsubscribe process can ensure that you retain the customer, even if you lose the subscriber.


Developing Your Email Marketing Strategy

09/08/2010 Leave a comment

An effective email marketing campaign requires some serious thought, planning, and tweaking. Whether you’re just beginning or already have a campaign underway, take some time to look ahead and develop an email marketing plan to keep you focused and on track to meet your goals. Below are 5 things to consider when developing a strategy.

Goals. Are your goals new customer acquisition, customer retention, or producing repeat sales? Is your intention to provide helpful information to your customers, or are you trying to prompt a particular response? If your answer is all of the above, you should have separate plans to help you reach each goal, simply because your audience and your message will be different for each one.

Audience. Define who are your most important customers or clients. What motivates them and what do they want or expect from your business? Who are your most important prospects, and why? What is important to them? Make sure you know and understand each audience.

Message. What are you trying to say to your audience and how do you want them to perceive you? Defining your message will help you determine what type of campaign will be most effective, such as e-newsletters, holiday or seasonal promotions, preferred customer coupons, new product or service announcements, press releases, general business communications and more.

Define success. How will you know that your campaign is successful? Perhaps it’s a specific number of sales or leads, or maybe an increase in visits to your retail store, phone calls to your office, or new subscribers to your newsletter. Define the percentage increase you would like to achieve within a certain time period.

Resources. Evaluate your resources to determine who will be managing the campaign and developing content. Will you be able to give your campaign a unique design that’s customized to your audience’s tastes? You may need to hire a graphic designer or someone to develop content for your campaign. Hiring professional email marketers who are current on trends and tools can save you time and give your campaign a competitive edge.

Develop a strategy and stick to it for a few months. If you find that it’s not achieving your desired results, perhaps your plan needs a little tweaking. Examine the results of the emails you’ve delivered so far to see whether you notice a pattern or trend. What you learn about the interests of your audience may alter your strategy.