Let’s not fool ourselves. Regardless of how well-worded your intentions are for your business’s presence in the online world, such presence always serves one thing and one thing only: the bottom line.
To be more specific about it, your venture into the online world was meant to induce a chance in the physical world that is favorable to your brand be it an increase in brand awareness, better on-foot traffic to your different store fronts or, better yet, increased sales figures every month. If your email marketing is not geared towards making any of those a reality, then what’s the point of having an online platform for your business in the first place?
But how does one go about making sure that their email marketing efforts do ultimately serve that all-too-important bottom line? Before you go about making money, you must have customers and that would need conversion. And to convert, you must build trust with your audience.
What is Relationship Marketing Exactly?
Before we go about learning how to build trust with our subscribers, it is important to learn one important online strategy which is Relationship Marketing. The concept is quite broad so it’s best to get acquainted with the concept through an example.
Imagine yourself browsing through YouTube watching your favorite YouTuber’s content. And then, suddenly, the browser stops playing to interject an advertisement about fast food or shampoo for 30 seconds or so. The question is this: did you like the experience of having your immersion broken? If the answer is no, then you are one of several millions of web browsers who have just been subjected to what is known as Interruptive Marketing.
This kind of marketing is a holdover from the traditional marketing strategies that one gets to see on TV or on print. It takes your focus from one thing to introduce another thing to focus on. However, interruptive marketing is far worse online than in the TV. At least on the latter, you get a warning. Online, they come unannounced and break whatever line of thought you just had.
With Relationship Marketing, there is a newer focus being introduced. Instead of seeing things from a purely transactional standpoint i.e. “push product to sell”, Relationship Marketing is more about the more interacting aspects of the sale. This is brought about by massive changes in consumer behavior in recent years.
In recent times, people could care less why you think you are the best brand in the market. However, they might just gravitate towards your brand if you have something that they are looking for. By caring for their needs, a business tends to convert its audience more. And with better conversion comes better sales.
Fortunately for you, relationship marketing is a good fit for email marketing. The reason for this is that you are already marketing to a people that have already shown an interest to your brand. In essence, you don’t have to do a lot of work in introducing yourself to these people. What your focus is now should be on maintaining a healthy relationship with these subscribers so they would take the final steps towards converting into a paying customer.
But Interruptive Marketing is at its worst also in emails. Due to the permissive nature of emails, any kind of content a brand sends out to a person who never consented to receiving the same is going to be marked as one of the Internet’s dirtiest words: Spam. No matter how good your email marketing is, if you can’t get that trust through building a relationship with your subscribers, all of your email will get sent to that spam folder that most users will not even bother opening for years.
However, before we proceed, it is important that you understand what the “relationship” part in Relationship Marketing stands for. It is not exactly 100% human interactions akin to the real world as that is still impossible with current Internet technologies.
But what relationship means for email marketing is that it is all about finding out how your subscribers behave. From their purchase histories to their preferences and even the budget that they feel most comfortable spending at, relationship marketing is all about finding crucial consumer information which you can use to make them convert.
If that sounds heartless, it is because it is as a concept. But this is all forgiven depending on your chosen strategies. The worst ones make your brand sound like they are trying way too hard with its approach towards subscribers. The best ones, on the other hand, put your business in a position where it can take customer input and act on it accordingly.
What Trust Building Does for Your Email Marketing
If done right, building trust can allow your email marketing efforts to enjoy a few advantages which will include the following:
- Better Growth and Retention
Maintaining a sizeable population of subscribers is crucial to your sales. In fact, a 1% increase in your subscriber base has the potential to result in a 20% in your business’s annual revenues. Simply put, more people being subscribed to your list is going to result in an increase in sales for your business on a regular basis.
Building trust can make this easier for you out of the simple reason that it is easier to push products towards a loyal customer base that already likes you or have a favorable relationship with you. But to make them like you, your brand has to leave a good impression by showing these people that you have their best interests at heart or, at the very least, can provide for what they need.
- Improved Referrals
Out of all the marketing strategies that you could use, there is nothing more potent than the Word of Mouth. The reason for this is because the words of a living, breathing human being are far more relatable and believable than any line of marketing that your team can come up with which results in a rather compelling message.
This is also brought about by current customer behaviors. As of the late 2010s, 84% of consumers make their purchasing decisions as to what their friends recommend to them. By building trust with your subscribers, you have an easier time making them customers. And if these customers continue to build a relationship with you, they are more likely to tell other people to subscribe to your list. Better yet, they’d skip all of that and convert into customers.
Of course, that works the other way too. If the kind of experiences that customers have with your business is poor, lacking, or downright terrible, they will tell others to stay away from your business. And no amount of effective marketing strategy can remove a blemish on your reputation online.
- Instant Feedback
One key element about relationships is that transparency increases the closer people get. If there is something that you did that not a lot of people liked, your closest of friends will be the first to tell you so.
The same thing applies in email marketing. The concept of an email is that it already provides a direct line of communication between you and every single person subscribed to your email list. If you provide a product or start a campaign that is not resonating with these people, they will not hesitate to tell you so.
Of course, this is only possible if you give the impression that their opinions do matter. And to do that, you need to address problems as they are brought to your attention.
Along with your trust building strategies, your ability to handle customer feedback will make or break your marketing efforts. You can address the issues point by point or explain things that might confuse your subscribers. The point is that you give the impression that whatever they are trying to convey to you has reached your team and that your business is doing its best to address the situation.
The worst that you can do, on other hand, is to be dismissive about customer feedback and shift the blame back to your subscribers. If you do that, you can expect for the subscriber count on your email list to drop by the hundreds or thousands.
- Knowing and Applying Changes
One great thing about feedback is that it gives you an idea on what to change on your strategies for absolutely free. Supposed that your strategies right now are not yielding optimum results for your business. Perhaps you can launch a “Tell us What you Think” campaign to garner some opinions on why your business is not reaching out to a lot of potential subscribers.
And if you doubt the power of user-generated ideas, just remember that the always on Wi-Fi feature that Starbucks implemented in the 2010s was not technically an idea that their marketing team or board of directors imagined. It came from everyday people who felt that they should at least be doing something else while waiting for their coffee like complete transactions or browse the Internet. And from that simple idea came one of Starbucks’ more defining store features to date.
Of course, it is still up to your discretion as to what changes should be applied into your strategies. You just can’t give your customers and subscribers full rein as to what should be included in your email marketing strategies. Rather, you should know what people are looking for, determine if this is something that you can offer on your budget, and then find a way to implement the changes.
- Standing Out from the Competition
Finding a unique take on an existing product or an approach towards customer service is getting harder these days. In fact, you could say that originality is getting harder to achieve as the years pass.
However, you don’t exactly have to find something new in order to build trust with your subscribers. Instead, you just have to find that unique approach that will resonate with them the most.
For example, you can tie your automated email program to a panel on your website where people can ask things, or even a chatbot! Try https://SmartChatbotDeveloper.com and have them set you up the same. This automatically makes them subscribe to your email list while also giving them notifications on when and how your team answered such a query.
It is a rather simple addition to your website and email but it gives site visitors and would-be customers the impression that you allow people to interact with your business. And with interaction comes humanity which means that people would hesitate less in converting as a customer for your brand.
The point is that you don’t have to be elaborate in order to stand out from the competition. By knowing what needs to be fixed, you can add simple tweaks to your email marketing system which increases brand interaction to an even higher degree.
Building Trust in your Email Marketing
So how does one go about building trust with their subscribers? There are a few ways that you can go about doing this but there are strategies out there that have yielded the best results for different brands.
However, don’t get fooled. None of these strategies are about making people trust you more as that is something that you must figure out on your own. What these strategies do, on the other hand, is to put your brand in a position where it can engage with people in a more human manner. With that out of the way, here are some of the easier yet effective strategies that you can implement on your email marketing efforts.
- Get Permission First
First things first: You have to remember that sending out communication to people that have not consented to receiving the same is always bad for business. You are going to be marked as a spammer and whatever message you will send, no matter how good, gets ignored.
And being ignored is just the first of your problems. Without consent, you can expect for lower engagement with your content, a massive decrease in conversions from your subscribers, and an increase in your unsubscribe rates. As such, you have to give your subscribers the option to “opt in” with regards to the communications they get from your business.
This option acts like a filter of sorts so that the subscriber can get the messages that they feel are the most relevant to them. There are some programs out there that also allow email marketers to “ask for permission” from their subscribers before they can send out specific types of email. This way, subscribers can get only the type of messages that they want which should keep engagement with your email campaigns at a stable, if not high, rate.
Technically, your subscribers will know who they are getting messages from (it’s in the header, after all) but you still have to personalise elements in your message. This way, the reader exactly knows who is sending them a message and what they can expect from the content just by reading the headline.
This is not an elaborate strategy that you can apply. What you will have to do is to not make things generic with your heading. Instead of sending something like “Notice of Termination” for your customers who have their subscriptions ending soon, say something like “Hey, (Insert Name Here), would you like to Remain Subscribed?” The latter sounds more inviting than the former to any reader and it gives the impression of humanity on your messages.
As for the name that pops up on their inbox, you can opt for non-generic options like your brand name or any other name related to their subscription. For instance, if that subscriber was subscribed because you have a weekly newsletter, then you can use the name of that newsletter for the heading. Just make sure that you don’t choose generic options like “No Reply” or “Sender”.
- KISS: Keep it Short and Simple
Simplicity is always important when engaging with customers. You have to understand that not a lot of people have the time to go through your messages. They’d rather have it delivered in one go and, preferably, with a low word count.
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to how short and simple your messages should be. Just remember to use common, everyday words while still keeping things creative. It also goes without saying that your heading should give readers an idea as to what is contained in the message in one glance. Misleading or vague headers can lead to your messages being ignored or marked as spam.
As for the structure of the message, you can always use the one that a lot of effective bloggers employ which goes like this:
- Introduce the Problem – 2. Offer the Solution – 3. Challenge the Reader
The first few sentences should establish the necessity of this message. The middle part should be an explanation on how this premise is going to be settled. And for the last part of the message, it should focus on making the reader perform something that will benefit both of you.
If done right, you could craft a message that gets to the point and is not so long that it takes multiple scroll-throughs just to finish. The less you waste your subscriber’s time telling something important, the more likely it is that they are going to follow through the conversion process.
- The Initial Sequence
Right after signing up for your email list, what would be the first messages or content that your subscribers will receive? That would be different from brand to brand but the point is that your email should offer what is called an “Initial Sequence”.
This sequence is a series of emails and content designed to keep interest for the subscription at a high and give the impression to the subscriber that they are in for something valuable. Perhaps, you could start with a welcome email which will introduce readers to your email list and give them the assurance of more valuable content.
Then what would follow are what marketers would call as Deal Sweeteners. Most businesses with an online shop offer exclusive deals to subscribers such as first-peeks at yet to be published content, discounts, coupons, and other tangible rewards.
What is important here is that you give your subscribers a reward of sorts for making the effort of signing up. It does not have to be something expensive or elaborate. A little boost here and there in their experience with you given on their first few interactions with your brand is enough to make most people to remain engaged with your emails.
- Segmenting your Email List
One other trick you could do to make your emails more relevant to subscribers is to categorise your email list into several sub-groups. You should know that not everyone in your email list signed up for the same reasons. Some just want to buy your stuff, others want in-depth information that you can provide, and some would want to do a bit of both. And so on.
You can do this with the help of an automated email marketing system that can group subscribers according to their preferences and activity. This will be advantageous on two fronts. First, grouping your subscribers will make sure that whatever content you make will be relevant to each particular group which increases engagement.
Second, it helps you optimise your email list. During the course of your grouping efforts, you will discover which subscribers have been active the most and which have stopped engaging with you whilst still remaining subscribed. From this you can find a new opportunity to re-engage with inactive subscribers, sending them a unique email and offering something that is unique to that group.
Granted, the topic of building trust when it comes to email marketing has always been a rather confusing subject. Trust, after all, is a concept that is hard to quantify. Even the things that you think would tell you that a person trusts your brand would not exactly give you the assurance of the same.
In essence, a subscriber might constantly engage with your brand or even make the final step to conversion but you could not really tell if they truly trust your business or not.
But what you can be certain is that trust can be built through constant favourable interactions, no matter the format and the method. Your goal with your email marketing strategies right now is to let your subscribers feel the humanity behind the brand.
If they see that there are people behind your business that are in the position to provide for what they are looking for, chances are that conversion will be easier for these people. And the rest, as they say, would follow.