How to Lose Email Subscribers in 10 Days or Less
Email marketing in the retail industry is a lot like dating. Getting new leads is always exciting, but too often, retailers can become a bit overzealous and end up making some basic, yet fatal, mistakes.
Your new email leads need and deserve nurturing from you, the retailer, in order to feel loved and wanted. Once they feel like you're holding up your end of the bargain, only then do they become purchasers and loyal brand advocates. It's a courtship, if you will.
Inspired by one of our favorite romantic comedies, here are the mistakes retailers make when attempting to woo a new email subscriber.
Message Without Permission
This is a major no-no in both the email marketing and dating worlds. In fact, if you do send an email to someone who hasn't specifically chosen to join your list, you're probably ending your relationship before it even begins.
Many retailers assume they can cut corners by purchasing lists or sending emails to customers who aren't subscribed. When you do that, you're spamming them, and giving them a good reason to ignore you forever. Ensure your customers love you back by practicing a double opt-in method. This ensures your customers want your emails in their inboxes and increases the strength of your leads.
Ignore the Power of a Good Wingman
And in this case, that wingman is an email service provider (ESP). In order for your relationship with any potential customer to flourish, you need an ESP to help you along the way. An ESP will help you enhance delivery, provide detailed reporting and allow you to personalize your emails in mass, just to name a few of the benefits. An ESP can also eliminate headaches associated with spam regulations and marketing automation.
Show Up Looking Like a Hot Mess
You wouldn't show up for a first date wearing dirty sneakers and an old T-shirt, would you? No, of course not! So don't send an email that isn't optimized for mobile or looks terrible through an email client.
In order to prevent an embarrassing first impression with your customers, you need to rigorously test your emails. Consider a reliable, effective testing service to ensure your emails look flawless on every device.
Pass On the Tab for a First Date
Easy there. Just because someone gave you their email address doesn't mean you need to go in for the hard sell right off the bat. Instead, you need to court and nurture your new leads by showing them the value of your products and proving to them that what you're offering is worth their time and money.
The best way retailers can nurture their prospects is through drip campaigns — i.e., automated emails that are triggered by specific customer actions. These campaigns are proven to work extremely well, and are strengthened even more when you couple them with quality, informative content your customers will love to digest.
Stay Top of Mind … ALL the Time
Are you a stage-five clinger? If so, it's time to chill out and stop flooding your prospects’ inboxes the moment you receive their email address. It's unwise to send your customers emails every single day; that will only scare them away.
While no one really knows the exact formula on email frequency, many companies send out only four emails to five emails per month with excellent results. The smartest retailers, however, will allow their customers to them the frequency with which they want to receive emails. This puts the relationship in the customer's hands and can only mean good things for the future.
Call Your Date by Someone Else's Name
Personalizing emails with merge tags can lead to big wins for many retailers. However, when done wrong, it can quickly lead to the end of a relationship. Make sure you test your personalization tactics before you send an email. That way, you won't end up with the wrong name or, worse, an empty, unpopulated merge tag in your emails.
Go BIG Every Time You Contact Them
How about playing a little bit hard to get instead? You don't have to make a big scene every time you send an email to your subscribers. It's obvious, anyway, when brands and retailers overhype and overpromote a product, sale or campaign.
Instead, keep things classy and avoid clickbait-like words, phrases and graphics in your emails. Clickbait subject lines have the potential to destroy your relationship with your customers. While it might seem like a quick way to get clicks, it could just as easily result in an unsubscribe from one of your most loyal customers.
Make it Impossible to Dump You
If an email subscriber wants out of the relationship, you need to let them go. Always give your subscribers a clear path for opting out of your emails. If you camouflage your unsubscribe button, it will just make your subscriber more likely to mark you as spam.
Remember, at the end of the day, you don't want subscribers on your list who don't want to be hearing from you anyway. Allow people to unsubscribe easily and quickly, and you'll have a more engaged, profitable email list in the long run.
Above all, remember to take things slowly with your email subscribers. If you court them and nurture them through your marketing process, they're much more likely to stick around for the long haul.
John Thies is the CEO and co-founder of Email on Acid, an email testing solution.