How to use timing and news in your e-mail
If you have seen one of our breakfast seminars live or online from the spring of 2011 in Sweden, you may remember that I was talking about time, place and relevance in an e-mail context. This two-part article series is based on parts of my lecture, and is meant to refresh your memory and give you new ideas for your email program.
To begin with, I would like you to imagine the following situation: you are part of a sales team and listens when one of your colleagues answers the phone.
Seller: Hello, welcome to us. How can I help you?
Potential customer: Hi, I’m calling from Company X and we are curious about your company and the product that you offer.
Seller: Ok. Thanks for calling, it is registered with us. Goodbye.
Does this sound like an absurd situation? Of course it is! But many companies and organizations do this exact mistake. Maybe not over the phone – but they do it over and over in the welcome message they send when they get a new subscriber. Usually, the welcome letter looks like the picture below.
Missing the obvious
Now I would like you to make a guess. Imagine two different email massages from a company. The first has an open rate of 67 % and the other 22 %. Can you guess what kind of letters they sent? The one with the low open rate is a regular newsletter. The letter with an open rate of 67 % is a welcome letter to new subscribers. According to eMarketeer.com and bazaarvoice.com, a welcome letter has three times as good a response as a newsletter. Considering these numbers, it is easy to see that it is bad for business to have a welcome letter like the one pictured above.
What can we use our welcome letter for?
We have determined that we miss the chance to make a positive impression if we completely exclude our welcome letter or if we simply confirm a new subscription by sending a plain text message.
But we may use a welcome letter to add value for the subscriber. In addition to thanking the subscriber, we build our brand, show products and add value to the letter. We may even create an email program that consists of more than one letter. It could look like this:
1. Welcome Letter
2. Letter that focuses on brand building
3. Letter that focuses on selling
Of course, any email program is situation dependent. If you try to sell through your email program it is important not to be too obtrusive and do not let the sales pitch be too obvious.
In today’s media climate, with social media, it is not possible to avoid the concept of dialogue. What you should consider in connection with your email program is this: are you trying to start a dialogue, or are you advertising? They may both have increased sales as the ultimate goal.
If you try to start a dialogue with your subscribers, you increase the chance to give them relevant information and thus you will make them understand why they should buy from you.
Apart from a welcome letter, these e-mail situations open up for dialogue: