At the recent Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Conference, the group's CEO, Andy Sernovitz, discussed this simple phrase that says so much. It made me consider how subscribers perceive their experience with a company's e-mail program: does it feel like a disjointed barrage of marketing messages, or is it a positive experience? Here are a few ways to move from the former to the latter.
Identity--Can you create a name for your subscribers to help them feel recognized and valued? Let's face it, being an E-mail Subscriber sounds about as appealing as being a Taxpayer. Make your subscribers feel they're part of something special by developing an identity like Brand X VIPs, Brand X Insiders, Digital X Fans - a name that describes their importance to your organization.
Exclusivity--Providing a name for your opt-ins is just the beginning. Consider providing sneak previews, a behind-the-scenes story or a VIP discount that is not available to non-subscribers. Consumers enjoy feeling like insiders who get special treatment.
Personality--Most e-mail has a safe, generic tone and seems to come from a faceless corporation. Give your organization a human face and an interesting voice by following direct marketing guidelines: make letters sound as if they were written from one person to another, and when possible, tell a personal story.
Gratitude--In a country where "here you go" has replaced "thank you" as the phrase most often uttered at the close of a retail transaction, aren't we all starving for a little recognition? Tell your VIPs that you appreciate them or--better yet, show them--with wallpaper, a screensaver, game, ringtone, e-card or other downloadable digital freebie. As Sernovitz says, "Do something frivolous that makes people happy."
Provide your subscribers with an identity, inside information, goodies and gratitude, and deliver the package with personality and style. You'll improve their User Experience--and, along with it, your subscription rate, pass-along rate and e-mail return on investment.