Anyone who has worked in marketing knows firsthand that running email marketing campaigns can be both brutal and discouraging. Consumers have more control than ever over what shows up in their inbox. If they don’t appreciate your efforts to reach out to them, they won’t hesitate to let you know with an unsubscribe — or worse, a spam complaint. Yet emails are also an incredibly powerful inbound marketing tool when done correctly. One of the best ways to ensure success and build a list of loyal followers is to create a preference center that gives readers the power to create their own email experience.
Here are just a few ideas that can help improve your email subscription rates — and send open and clickthrough rates sky-high as well.
1. Allow readers to choose the type of content they receive.
Hopefully, you are already aware of the fact that continuing to push one type of content will yield only one-dimensional results. Videos, infographics and other types of visual content traditionally perform better than written articles, but that doesn’t mean that you should make a drastic switch and alienate those who do enjoy a well-written article or an informative eBook. Instead of taking educated guesses about what types of content readers want on any particular day, why not give them the power to choose? You may find that most readers prefer to receive a variety of content, but for those with more exacting tastes, you won’t be wasting time sending emails that they simply won’t read or even open.
An email preference center should also allow readers to choose which topics are addressed by the content that arrives in their inbox. The more you can cater emails to each individual user, the more likely you are to earn a higher return on investment. Creating engaging content is the best way to connect with potential customers. If you can take that concept one step further and offer information and news on topics that are important and relevant to that particular subscriber, you will build trust, nurture relationships and hopefully improve conversion rates.
Of course, providing a variety of content that covers a range of topics does require a concentrated content creation effort. This means staying on top of industry trends, capitalizing on popular topics before they become old news and being proactive about developing valuable content that will ultimately engage readers. A preference center won’t be much good if you don’t have a supply of varied content to offer readers.
2. Allow readers to control the frequency of emails.
One sure-fire way to make your unsubscribe numbers and spam complaints skyrocket is by bombarding people with emails. For those who are already constantly checking their inboxes and responding to countless emails throughout the day just to keep their work and personal life running, there is nothing more annoying that having to create filters for or delete promotional emails. The first few times they see your name pop up, they might just delete the email and move on, but it won’t take long before your subject lines become a source of irritation. Suddenly, all the work you put into formulating valuable emails has backfired and your email subscriber is now a former email subscriber.
The solution is simple: Provide readers with the option of choosing how frequently they receive emails. There is plenty of data out there that shows which days and times have better yield better open rates, but what if you could go beyond this general information and target each individual subscriber? Automating this preference is simple and the results are well worth the effort. This particular preference can be further customized by allowing readers to opt to get emails when special offers are available, certain topics are covered or simply on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
3. Make it easy for readers to update their preferences.
If your website includes a well-maintained blog that provides valuable posts and works to help acquire email subscribers, you can use your RSS feed to offer readers additional email preferences. They can either sign up to receive an email every time you publish a new post, get a weekly summary of your posts or opt to be notified only when certain topics are discussed. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting to offer specific preferences to this valuable group of subscribers.
The placement of your preference center can also greatly influence its effectiveness. Not only should readers be presented with these options as soon as they subscribe, you also want to make sure that they are reminded of the preference center if they happen to click on the unsubscribe button. Use this opportunity to gently remind readers that they can opt to receive fewer emails or to further customize their email experience. This final reminder can be enough to keep readers on board.
You’ve sifted through enough data to know that not every customer behaves the same way, so why waste time continuing to execute email campaigns that use a one-size-fits-all approach? A simple email preference center can help you run more targeted and successful campaigns.
By providing readers with options, not only will you increase your open and clickthrough rates, you will also build trust and create solid relationships with readers and potential customers. The more readers see you as a source for information, the more likely they are to turn to you for their specific needs. When it comes to email marketing campaigns, new standards for best practices have been set that benefit both consumers and businesses. If you are still take the “shot in the dark” approach to email campaigns, it is time to create a custom preference center.
Ready to learn even more techniques to optimize your email results? Take a look at this eBook, The Amazingly Effective Email Guide, and learn five tips for more successful – and more profitable email campaigns.