email marketing

Email Marketing in the Age of the Critical Consumer

As the expansive world of social media continues to grow, more and more digital marketers and entrepreneurs are focusing their efforts on social media marketing. While it makes sense to go where your customer goes, social media is certainly not the only online tool your customers are using. In fact, it might not even be the one they use the most. If you have abandoned your email marketing strategy, do so at your own peril. Email is still a heavily used tool that can be a very effective marketing channel when you know how to use it.

Email marketing is an important part of a holistic marketing strategy, but the average email user is becoming more savvy and critical every year. As the consumer evolves, so do marketing techniques. If you want to maintain a solid open and conversion rate despite more suspicious users, follow these tips.

Frequency is key

One of the most common complaints from consumers is that brands send too many emails. And with tools like and Gmail’s Automated Unsubscribe feature, it’s easier than ever to clean up unwanted subscriptions from your inbox. Not only is barraging someone’s inbox a huge offense in email marketing, it’s also very ineffective.

This has always been the case, but users have become much less patient with inbox flooding and much quicker to click the unsubscribe button. That said, your engagement rate can decrease if you don’t send emails often enough. You want consumers to recognize emails from you and feel a sense of warmth and familiarity when your address appears in their inbox. Finding this sweet spot is a little bit art and a little bit science.

Engagement rates can help you decide on an ideal email frequency. If a user is opening and clicking on your emails, they might enjoy increased content from you. On the other hand, if a user hasn’t engaged with your recent messages at all, it probably won’t be effective to send them more emails. Instead, you need to send them different emails.

Extensive A/B testing should be completed to find out what frequency works best for your audience. Keep in mind that the best email frequency might be different for various categories of customer. For example, repeat customers might be more receptive to increased messages than leads who have yet to purchase from you.

Related: The Power of Personalization and Automation in Email Marketing

Give power to the consumer

Your subscriber is the central component of your email marketing campaign, so it makes sense to provide that subscriber with options. Consumers will appreciate the option to control how they communicate and engage with your company.

While you don’t want to encourage people to unsubscribe from your emails, it should be very simple and easy for them to do so. Provide an easy, safe unsubscribe button at the bottom of your emails that isn’t difficult to find and doesn’t require more than one or two clicks. If someone unsubscribes with ease, it’s possible they will return at some point. If someone tries to unsubscribe and it’s a hassle for them, they will leave with a bad impression of your company and are far less likely to come back.

You can also offer a “down-subscribe” option, for when customers just need a break. They might not be in the market for your product or service at present, or maybe they’re downsizing on subscriptions for the time being. By offering a down-subscribe option that essentially silences your emails for a certain length of time (or lessens the frequency), you provide a personalized and comfortable way for them to interact with your business, which in turn generates a feeling of satisfaction for that potential customer.

Likewise, an email preferences portal can be useful in a number of ways. Not only does it allow your subscribers to control the type of emails they receive from you and dictate their desired frequency, but it also provides you with invaluable data about each person on your list. When they tell you what they want—and what they don’t want—you can provide more personalized, directed marketing in your emails.

Provide ever-increasing value

Most of your email subscribers know that your goal is, ideally, to make them a customer in some way or another. But that goal isn’t at odds with your ability to provide valuable content to your subscribers.

Your relationships with the people on your email list should always, first and foremost, be focused on providing them with value. If the messages that land in their inbox are highly promotional or focused on the hard sell, you’ve already lost them.

A quick, one-click survey can provide a lot of insight into what your customers are seeking. Your customers subscribed to your email list because you have something they want—whether that be your knowledge, your product, or even just coupons and discounts. Hone in on the why for your customers and you will have a deep well of content resources for your email marketing efforts.

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Transparency and purpose

Email marketing can still be successful if it’s transparent and purposeful. Gone are the days of trying to manipulate a subscriber into opening an email or clicking on a link. Instead, regard your subscribers as savvy consumers and treat them accordingly.

All of the messages in your email marketing strategy should have a clear, distinct purpose. The reason for your email should be obvious from the subject line to the signature. Don’t ever send an email just for the sake of sending it.

By finding the proper message frequency, giving your customers control, and providing incredible value in each of your emails, you can still implement a successful and effective email marketing campaign that can achieve your startup’s goals of converting customers.

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