Email is a powerful business tool. We’ve become dependent on it for communicating with customers and coworkers, using it as a marketing tool and a customer service channel, and more.
We can’t live without email, although there are some things we might like to change about it, such as spam messages, unintentional group emails, and so on. The reality is that even with all of its flaws, email makes sense. I did a little research and came up with seven effective ways we can use email to enhance our communication with customers and employees, promote our brand and improve customer relations.
Nate Skinner, Chief Customer Officer of Campaign Monitor, a company that specializes in email marketing, had this to say: “When it comes to sales, marketing and customer service, it’s important to think of email as a channel that can accelerate the customer journey.”
In other words, email provides a fast connection to your customers. Think about the many ways email can be used. Skinner shared a few ideas about the effective use of email, and I’ve added a few more, along with some commentary. Here are seven ways to effectively use email to build your brand and create a better customer experience:
- Create awareness through newsletters and special offers. This is a common use for email. Just be careful you don’t send too frequently. You can ask your customers how often they want to hear from you. Today’s technology will allow you to customize your contact based on their preferences.
- Customers can give you feedback. Email provides a great way to survey your customers. An important consideration, however, is to respect your customer’s time. I stay at the same hotel several times a year. The first time they sent me an email survey, I answered it. It took almost 15 minutes. Three weeks later I stayed at the same hotel and, you guessed it, they sent me the same survey. I didn’t take it. Be smarter than that. Respect your customer’s time. Don’t send repetitive appeals for feedback – or other too-frequent requests.
- Use automated systems to re-engage with customers who haven’t had contact with you or your brand for a certain amount of time. Technology has given us some gifts, and this is one of them. It can track our customers’ buying patterns and frequency … or lack of frequency. When it spots a break in a customer’s buying pattern, it can jump in with are-engagement email.
- Share value-added information, such as tips on how other customers are using your products and services. Customers love to get tips, tricks and helpful hints on how to best use the product they’ve purchased. And, they really love to hear how other customers are using it. It not only validates their purchase, but also gives them ideas on how to gain more use and enjoyment from the product.
- Use email as a tool for onboarding new customers. Amazon.com AMZN -1.06% does an amazing job of this with its Echo, one of the coolest inventions ever. The Echo sits on a table and can best be described as a cylindrical object with a microphone and speakers. You ask it questions and it answers. It can play the music you request, give you a weather report, order a pizza, and much more. Amazon sends weekly emails introducing customers to the amazing things that the Echo can do. I look forward to those weekly emails, as do many other Amazon customers.
- Use email for internal messages to employees and coworkers. This isn’t about individual messages from one employee to another. Similar to the way you use content marketing to deliver value-added ideas to customers, you can communicate with your team. At its most basic level, an employee newsletter can be sent via email. The nice thing about creating and sending email through an internal communication program is that you don’t have to worry about anyone unsubscribing!
- Analyze your customers’ buying habits and use the data to create targeted, personalized email experiences. One of the great opportunities of data collection is tracking an individual customer’s buying patterns. Smart companies are using this information to create a customized, personalized experience. Emailing content that the customer sees as 100 percent relevant to him/her will create a stronger connection that can lead to trust, and ultimately, more business.
Skinner says, “To successfully use email marketing, you need to be aware of what the customer journey looks like for your business and use email strategically to directly impact team or company goals. It’s surprising how many people think ‘email is a good idea’ without stepping back and thinking about how it can work in tandem with other channels, or actually deliver value.”
Yes, email is more powerful than ever, but it must be used the right way. And even with all of the great uses of email, the customer has the ultimate control. If you have been given permission to interact with the customer on this channel, don’t abuse it. All a customer has to do is delete the email, or worse, unsubscribe from being connected to you.
So relish email, but respect it. And most of all, prosper from it!
Source: forbes.com ~ By: Shep Hyken