In recent months, something has been nagging at me. My inbox doesn’t show as much consumer-first content as it should. Rather, I read myopic messages from brands that miss opportunities to delight me, as promised.
What do I mean by this? There are many brands famous for great products/services and customer experience. Often, though, they drop the ball when it comes to customer communications.
Let’s walk through some examples to help you avoid these types of emails:
-- A well-known ride-sharing service sent me an email for a deal in Kansas City when, only 30 minutes earlier, I had taken a very expensive ride in Manhattan. What’s worse is that I’ve given this brand permission to track my location, which is the crux of its business. And it’s also why I love using this company when I travel.
Receiving the Kansas City email shortly after receiving a receipt for a ride I took thousands of miles away, was a jarring and maddening experience. Plus, I only used the service in Kansas City once a few months ago…
-- A sporting-goods chain sent me an email to buy merchandise from a championship-winning team that I could not care less about. The email didn’t contain any other links to buy other items that might interest me. This is a far cry from the in-store experience, where service is top-notch and I seamlessly purchase exactly what I want.
-- A subscription service that sends me products monthly asked me to fill out a profile upon signing up. The service sends me products based on this profile and they’re spot-on in what they send me. My emails, though, don’t serve up information or products based on what I’ve already shared with the company. I love the products I receive, but the emails are simply not helpful at all.
The aforementioned examples are only a sampling of the types of emails I receive on a regular basis from companies with great value propositions, but poor email execution. If you keep the following statement in mind and modify your strategy around it, you will quickly align your brand’s promise to your emails. Are you ready for it?
Identify how your customers most enjoy buying your product or service via its primary channel, and translate that for email.
It’s as simple as that.
Are you a retailer that prides itself on an in-store concierge-like experience to help customers buy? Make sure your emails serve up customized products based on their profile as well. Consider incorporating video to bring that concierge experience to the inbox.
In the case of a ride-sharing service, recognize the user’s location through suppressing campaigns that are irrelevant, or even overtly stating the customer’s known current location. No, that’s not creepy when the premise of the business is to know a customer’s location.
It’s apparent that marketing and merchandising are still controlling what goes into email, instead of what the customer needs. I’d like to see email move to more of a facilitator role, bringing great brand experiences to life.
No, I’m not saying email shouldn’t sell. Of course it should sell, but it should do so in a helpful way that puts the customer first.
Just as an in-store salesperson wouldn’t run up to me to try and sell a shirt for a team that I don’t care about, email shouldn’t either. It’s not helpful and it isn’t getting me any closer to buying anything.
With more than 50% of emails being opened on the go via a mobile device, it’s going to be more critical for brands to quickly answer this question for customers: “What’s in it for me?” Listen and apply what has worked for your business to email marketing. And the sales should speak volumes.
What are some ways that you are bringing your brand’s promise to life in email? Have you received any fantastic emails lately? Please share in the comments.