Strengthen Customer Relationship With Email.
I was 15 when I was introduced to Orkut. “What is Orkut? Some kind of a food joint?” you must be thinking. You are not to be blamed. It’s the first ever social networking site designed by Google for us teens those days. Then came Facebook and Orkut became ancient past. Why are we talking about Orkut then?
Since Facebook, it’s been a fast track advent of all things internet and social. Now you have a plethora of options like Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn and so many more that are yet to come. There were also a few like Xing, About.Me, hi5, Xing and a few more which came and left the social media scene.
Why are we talking about all these things? We are setting a context to understand a very important point. The important point being, all these came and went but one thing stayed constant. Wondering what it is!? It’s the email!
In a way, email is the proverbial cockroach that survived dinosaurs, meteors, earthquakes, natural calamities, and alien invasions! Just kidding on the last one. LoL!
Fact is, EMAIL has been there FOREVER.
Well, I just said it. You can’t ignore it. It’s the truth. It’s beside the point whether you accept it or not.
Come to think of it, something as ancient as email has survived all fads, fashions, trends and quick changes in the internet purely because of its RELIABILITY.
If you send out an email, there is no way it will go to somebody else! Unless of course, you typed in the wrong email address or for some strange reason the servers identify you as a spamster.
So something as powerful as an email, if used well, can do wonders for your business. It can build you new clients, bond you with the existing ones and weed out the ones who don’t want to do business with you. Wow, it is like the magic box of all things related customers! Well, my naïve friend, it’s not that simple. For, everything worth having also needs efforts to retain.
Let’s look at what you need to do to build strong relationships with your customers using emails as a channel.
Before we start, let’s assume (for the sake of mental peace) that your customer who gave his/her email ID to be part of your business email list, is genuinely interested in the product/service you have to offer. Now that the basic premise of interest is established, let’s proceed to further use this email list for better bonding.
Consistency builds comfort
Your user comes to your website. Sort of gets used to the colors, layout, text, and font. There is a sense of slightly knowing your website. You follow up your customer’s visit with an email. There could be two possibilities now.
One possibility is, you send a brilliantly designed email with a fantastic design, aesthetic fonts, and content that’s the best in class. But, it doesn’t flow logically with your website.
Another possibility is, you send an email that follows the design of your website, uses the same set of fonts, sticks to the content style of your website.
Which of the two options would you be more comfortable with? The second one, isn’t it?
Your user is no exception too.
Your emails should be designed keeping only your customer in mind, obviously in relation with your business/website. Emails that flow in the same style as the website are bound to attract and retain the attention of your customer. This consistency builds a sense of comfort which eventually builds to a long-lasting relationship with your business/website.
Amazon.com does this beautifully. If you observe, their emails feel just like their website. They offer the same level of comfort, to the point that you hardly notice whether you logged in from the email or not after some time.
Personalize up to perfection
Nobody responds to a general greeting! Except, well, maybe in kindergarten.
You are given a name and you would love to be addressed by it. Same holds true for emails too. If it’s an email designed for you, it better be addressed to you, isn’t it? It’s the same case for your customer too.
Take the pain to personalize all your email communication to your customers. There is no end to personalization in this era of technological advancements. There are umpteen ways to do it. Three of the most popular personalization techniques beyond name and gender are listed below.
Your customers are not from the same age group, city, hobby club, financially same or geographically in the same time zone. This is a good thing and does wonder for your email personalization.
Based on the data you have, create buyer personas that are radically different from one another. Study these carefully to understand critical details about them.
Design and style an email that will suit the tastes and needs of each buyer persona. It is important to test these emails before you send them out in bulk.
Location and Time
Use the information about the location and time zone your customers are from. Shooting out an email at the same time for everyone doesn’t bode well for you. For all, you know your customer may have 100 more emails sitting on top of yours if its’ sent in the middle of their night time.
Make use of the geographic location information and send out your emails at a time that is reasonable.
From one person to another
Personalize your emails from one person to another. What does that mean? Instead of your business, SOMEONE from your business sends the email. It is still automated but with a touch of personalization.
For instance, instead of an email from xyz.com, the email goes from Greg, the Sales Manager for XYZ.com.
People relate to people. It holds true even on emails.
When you personalize, you are building a relationship with your customer as a person. That is branding more powerful than anything else.
Loft, a clothing company for women does it meticulously. They even give options in emails to change preferences of information to be received.
The baseline to building strong relationships with your customers via emails is sensitivity to their needs and time. Rest of the tools help make it easier.