As I was standing in line this morning at Starbucks, I realized that my daily ritual had all the elements of a well-executed email marketing campaign.
As I walked in the door, I was greeted with “Hello, Alyssa. How are you today?” They know who I am. As a regular customer, this personal service makes me feel good. Brands should also offer their customers an individualized experience through email personalization.
PURLs (personalized URLs) are a growing trend that can bring a conversational feel to marketing emails. They also help extend the personalized experience to the web with landing pages or microsites that are tailored based on each customer’s information.
Because my server knows my drink order, she didn’t have to ask for it and called it to the barista as I walked in the door. She did, however, ask if I wanted breakfast because sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Again, by knowing what I like and presenting me with preferred items, she delivered a good customer experience.With email marketing, allow your customers to define their preferences. Ask them when they opt-in what types of offers they want to receive. Fab.com offers the best preference center I’ve seen, allowing subscribers to define not only which departments they’re interested in but what days of the week they prefer to receive emails.
I also recommend including a preference center link in your welcome emails, and also as an option on your unsubscribe page. You may save an email subscriber by allowing them to opt-down the frequency instead of unsubscribing altogether.
Whether I go to a Starbucks in NYC or Texas, the products are the same. I know what to expect and they deliver, regardless of location. Be consistent with your emails. Don’t go from sending a weekly newsletter to daily deals, unless your customer has redefined their preference. If your customer opted in to receive flower emails, don’t assume that they also want offers for candles. If you consistently meet the expectations and wants of your customers, they will continue to be loyal shoppers.
Starbucks offers quality coffee and breakfast goods. They may cost more than other delis in my neighborhood, but I like their products and friendly service. I don’t require a coupon to be a regular shopper. With email, it’s not always necessary to include a coupon or discount to entice your customers to transact.
I end with the most important: permission. When I walk into a Starbucks and place my order, I am making a transaction. Nothing more. Nothing less. With email, marketers sometimes make broad assumptions by applying loose definitions of permission. Just because someone browses your website or makes a purchase, you can’t assume that they want to receive your marketing emails. You must obtain explicit permission before engaging in an email dialogue. Don’t add people to your marketing list unless they have opted in. Otherwise, you could send to people who may not want to receive your emails. In addition to generating complaints, that can lead to delivery issues such as blocklistings. Remember that your customers can’t engage with your emails if they don’t land in the inbox.