How likely are you trust the advice or recommendation of a complete stranger?

What about the advice of one of your best friends?

Okay, now think about that when your customer gets an email in her inbox.

If the email is a stiff block of business jargon or just a colorful burst of “BUY NOW!” then she may decide to instinctively respond by deleting it.

On the other hand, if your email feels personal, friendly, and unique, then she may pay more attention to it.

That’s why effective email marketing is just like making new friends. Over time, your emails help you build a relationship based on trust. Then, when they’re in the market for what you offer, you’re the first person they think of.

So next time you’re thinking about your email marketing strategy, ask yourself these three questions:

How do you meet new friends?

There are many places you can meet potential new friends. But you need to be there in order for the relationship to begin.

Essentially, you want to make sure your audience can find out that you have an email list in the first place.

To introduce customers to your email list:

  • Put a sign-up list on the counter
  • Add a sign-up box on your website
  • Add a sign-up box on your Facebook Page
  • Share existing emails through social media
  • Use the Scan-to-Join feature on menus, brochures, and posters
  • Encourage employees to talk about the emails

Once customers do sign up, have an Auto-Responder welcome message ready to go, so you can reaffirm that your new subscribers have made a great decision.

How do you keep your new friends?

Our research reveals that 64% of people surveyed said the top reason they open an email is because of the organization that sent it. This relationship between you and your audience is most important.

To keep them opening, your emails should deliver great content that either entertains, educates, or offers some type of value.

The better your emails are, the more people will want to read, share, and act on them.

To create valuable content some businesses and organizations have:

  • Offered free samples of coffee

By offering free samples, Gourmet Coffee Service made $100,000 in revenue from email alone.

  • Offered discounts

Catch Can’s Susanne McLean says that business has grown by 10% since she started using emails to offer big discounts.

  • Shared industry news

Financial adviser Paula Harris finds news stories and shares them with her readers – she says she gets a few calls after every email.

  • Kept donors up to date with new initiatives

Fairy DogParents routinely raises $10,000 or more from each email, and donors know that they’ll see where their money is going.

How do you make a friendship last?

The last step is to make sure that you continue to nurture the growing connection between you and your audience with your emails.

Once your customers start to value the emails, you need to make sure that you keep delivering the content that they come to expect … that will help keep your business top of mind.

People will value and recognize your brand so, when they are ready to make that next step, they’ll trust your emails to guide them in the right direction.

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