No business can thrive without a community of loyal and happy customers.
Your customers are the people who deliver the critical revenue you need to keep your business running. They’re also there to help your brand grow, by referring you to friends and signing up for repeat subscriptions.
Unfortunately, gaining and keeping customers isn’t always as simple as it seems.
In today’s digital world, it’s hard to create the same meaningful face-to-face interactions that sales teams and business leaders used to have with brick-and-mortar stores. Gaining the trust and loyalty of potential leads you’ve never met is quite the challenge. After all, no-one can physically visit your office or see your products in person.
The good news? There are still ways to develop relationships without in-person contact.
All you need is the right email marketing strategy.
The Power of Email for Nurturing Relationships
So, what is it that makes email so fantastic for building customer relationships?
The first clear advantage that email has is that it gets you into the pocket and home of virtually every customer. According to Statista, there were 3.9 billion email users in 2019, and that number will reach 4.48 billion by 2024.
With access to email accounts on their smartphones, tablets, and computers, people can check their inbox wherever they are. In 2018 alone, around 281 billion emails were sent and received around the world daily. What’s more, 43% of those email opens were via mobile.
The reach of email marketing isn’t the only thing that sets it apart. This tool also has the best average ROI of every digital marketing channel, delivering an average of $38 for dollar spent.
On top of that, brands are six times more likely to get a click-through for an offer sent via email than they are from social platforms like Twitter. With email, you reach more customers who are more likely to engage with your business than through any other platform.
The question is, how do you start this email love affair on the right foot?
What does it take to take an email sequence, and transform it into a tool for effective customer relationships?
Step 1: Begin by Welcoming New Subscribers
Perhaps the best-known type of email in the modern marketing sequence, the welcome email tells your customer exactly what to expect from a relationship with you. Think of it like the first impression that your brand makes on your consumers.
Customers today expect to have regular communication with the brands that they subscribe to. If someone agrees to receive your messages and doesn’t get a welcome message, they’ll wonder what’s going on. Since the average open rate for welcome emails is 60%, this is your chance to show your customers that they made the right choice in connecting with you. Make sure you:
- Keep it short and simple: Don’t overwhelm your audience with too much information in the first message.
- Show off your unique personality: Make sure that your brand really shines through.
- Deliver value immediately: Let your customers know what to expect from this relationship by instantly providing value.
Check out this example from ancestry.com, for instance, it lets readers know how to get started with their account, and encourages action with a handy CTA:
Step 2: Work on Your Email Copy
Before you jump into an entire email sequence with your new subscriber, make sure you know how to speak their language. Understanding how to craft compelling emails with great copy will increase your open rates and boost your chances of loyal customers.
Remember, your email copy doesn’t just include the content in the body of your email. You also need to ensure that your subject line is making the right impact too. Think about:
- Your tone of voice: Are you going to be playful and engaging, or serious and professional? What do your customers expect after seeing your website?
- What’s in it for them: Convey the value of opening your emails as quickly as possible. Highlight the benefits that you have to offer both in your subject line, and the first few lines of copy too. Remember, 47% of email recipients use subject lines to decide if they should open an email or not.
- The CTA: What do you want your audience to do after they’ve read the email? Make sure that you’re guiding your readers to the next action.
Another point to keep in mind is that pre-header text can be useful too. This is the text that shows alongside your subject line in the email inbox. MarketingSherpa says that preheader text can increase your open rates by 30%. Look at this email from Apple for instance, it came out at the time of COVD-19, so it prioritizes safety:
Step 3: Personalize Every Message
Personalization has always been a critical part of building customer relationships, particularly when you’re sending emails. The important thing to remember when you’re optimizing emails is that every bit of customization counts. Personalized email subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened, but you need to go beyond saying “Hey [Name]” in the inbox.
A good way to boost your chances of delivering the kind of messages your audience actually wants to read, is by creating an email preference center. This is a page on your website that your customer can use to tell you about themselves.
Once you have information about a customer’s gender, age, location, and even their purchase history, you can go much more in depth with your messaging. For instance, rather than just sending out any old promo email, you can deliver messages that highlight some of the latest products in your portfolio that are most likely to appeal to your customers.
Step 4: Create a Customer Loyalty Program
If you want to continue building bigger and better relationships with your customers over time, then a loyalty program or VIP program could be just the thing. Essentially, this is your chance to reward the people in your community that buy the most products from you.
Customers love any opportunity to feel special. A loyalty program is your opportunity to cater to that need, while also strengthening your brand. For instance, you might start by using your CRM tools to find out who your most loyal customers are. Once you know who’s buying from you regularly, send out a message giving them a discount off their next purchase.
Loyalty programs are an excellent way to nurture your customer’s relationship with your brand, because they make your customer feel good, and they encourage further interaction with your company. For instance, check out this email from Beardbrand:
The message delivers a special reward code to the customer, while maintaining BeardBrand’s unique personality. Immediately, the customer gets a reminder of why they signed up for this company’s newsletter in the first place.
Step 5: Use the Right Email Address
Just like your subject line and preheader text play a part in convincing customers to open your emails, your email address makes a difference too. A lot of companies try to avoid getting responses to marketing emails by sending them from do-not-reply email addresses.
While these kinds of emails do have their purpose, they can also make it difficult to build better connections with your target audience. Nearly 25% of consumers say that they’d choose to opt out of a brand’s mailing list because of a lack of personal touch.
When you’re trying to build a genuine relationship with your audience, stick with an email that suggests two-way communication is available. For instance, something simple like firstname.lastname@example.org could be enough:
Remember that your audience wants to feel as though you’re there for them.
Step 6: Be Consistently Human
Finally, the most important thing you can remember when you’re building a brand for your business through email, is that your customers want a human connection. No client or consumer today wants to buy from a big-name brand with no soul.
You need to create a personality for your business that shines through in everything you do, whether you’re publishing blogs, or sending emails. It’s up to you to choose whether you want a professional tone or a friendlier one. However, once you find a voice that works for your brand, make sure you stick with it.
Remember, polices and brand guidelines will help the rest of your team stick to your personality too. It might even be helpful to create email templates that your team can use to maintain the same kind of image whenever you’re sending a message. Check out the informative but friendly voice that charity: water uses in its emails:
Make the Most of Your Relationships
Ultimately, the most important thing that any business can do is drive sales. Only a small portion of your customers will ever be ready to buy at any given point in time, however. That’s why it’s so important to focus on building relationships that you can nurture over time.
If you can give your customers a reason to fall in love with your brand, you’ll also give them a reason to come back and keep buying from you time and time again.
Good luck mastering your relationships.