Does your inbox scream at you? How do you respond to the screaming? Hiding behind my computer screen, I delete all of the screamers. But I actually listen to those who bring delight to my inbox and my life. Do your marketing emails bring delight, or are they just screaming and begging to be deleted?
After returning from a week of vacation I grudgingly opened my email boxes to clean out the clutter that amassed over the last week. Yes, probably like you, I’ve got multiple email addresses. Like you, I decide which address to provide based on how much I trust the company I’m giving it to.
In my “low trust” inbox comes all the companies trying to sell me things. Companies like Dell, Lands End, Priceline, Sam’s Club and Wayfair. All of these are reputable companies, but look at my inbox and see if you agree that they aren’t trustworthy.
Here are some of the subject lines [with my thoughts in brackets]:
Priceline.com: “Tonight Only! Huge Savings on Hotels!” [Don’t you know I just got off vacation?? You should, because I booked my hotel through you and told you it was vacation. Furthermore, I don’t believe you – in another few days you’ll send me another email saying “Tonight Only!”]
Wayfair: “Thank you Craig. Just Because” [Just because you send me 3 emails in a row . . . and gobs more, I am going to delete you quickly!]
Land’s End: “Happy Anniversary!” [My anniversary was 4 months ago and my birthday was 5 months ago. This must be an anniversary that is meaningful to Land’s End and not me. Funny, I thought I unsubscribed from Land’s End for sending me 10 emails in a 7-day week.]
Priceline.com: “These Rental Car Deals Won’t Last! Book NOW!” [Ouch! Stop yelling at me. And don’t you know I just got back from a trip and don’t need a car now??]
Blindster.com: “Buy More SAVE MORE!! 10% – 15% – 20% OFF” [Oh great. Another screamer. Worse yet, it looks like the same email you sent me 3 times last week. DELETE!!]
Netflix: “Craig, we just added a movie you might like.” [Really? I should check this out. They are usually good at knowing what movies I like and I want to see this. Thank you Netflix for thinking of me. Email opened.]
Why these companies (and you) behave this way
You get the picture and I’m guessing you do the same thing as you scan through your inbox. So, why do you go into work and make the mistake of sending some of these same types of email campaigns for your company? The answer is clear. Your company offers a valuable and unique service that your customers want to hear about. (Of course!) But, Priceline, Land’s End and Wayfair all believe the same thing about their businesses. Let’s be honest. Your customer really doesn’t care about you. They care about themselves. Do your emails address your needs or your customer’s needs? Do they delight your customers?
Building trust through delight
Your emails are an opportunity to establish a relationship of trust with your customers. Most importantly, you want this to be a relationship of respect and delight. Respect means you don’t yell at customers using all caps and exclamation marks in your subject lines. Delight means when they open one of your emails they find a delightful surprise that lets them know you were thinking about them more than you were trying to hit your quarterly sales goals.
Expedia delights me and they got promoted to the personal email account I use to communicate with friends. Look at the following email and see if you can spot what makes it delightful.
Oh, I should have probably given you some context. That was emailed during my flight to Austin. So, when I landed, I turned on my phone and discovered Expedia wants to know how my flight was. How delightful! The email has virtually no text – even more delightful! I did have a good flight, so I clicked “Yes” and it took me to a quick survey that I could leave anytime. But, I didn’t leave the survey because they only asked 3 more questions and all I had to do was click the smiley-face or the frowny-face. The delightfulness continues.
Earn the keys to the inner circle
Here is the question for you. If you were marketing to me, which inbox would you want access to?
- The inbox that gets mass-deleted because it is full of other marketing emails from companies I don’t trust
- The inbox that I use to communicate with my friends
Expedia earned its way into the cherished “friends” inbox that doesn’t get mass deletes. Priceline, well, I’m sorry, but I’m just not ready to trust you. Delete-delete-delete (DELETE!!!)
Resolve to change
If this article resonates with you, and you are still reading, then you have the right mindset to dynamically improve your email marketing campaigns. Try the following steps:
- Take a survey of the last several email campaigns you sent out. Identify & list the delightful elements of your campaign. Of course, I mean delightful from the customer’s perspective. Also identify & list the overly self-serving components of the campaign.
- Make a list of at least 5 things you can do for your customer to make their life better that doesn’t involve you selling them something. (Make this an ongoing habit.)
- Put together a new email campaign and give it the internal name “Delight 1.0”. Why? To help keep focus on delighting the customer. Make sure every email is at least 90% delight and less than 10% sales. Send some emails that are 100% delight.
- Run this campaign long enough to measure change. Remember, you are probably in a position of rebuilding trust with your customer list.
- Measure everything and use this intelligence to drive future email campaigns.
Perhaps you are reading this and saying “I could NEVER get this approved!” Here is a strategy to counter that. At some point, every boss gets measured for performance. Put the principles of delight to work with your boss and consider what will delight him (better metrics). Suggest to run this campaign on a small segment of your customer list initially as a trial (make sure you exclude this list from the normal campaigns). Suggest to your boss that it is a low-risk way worth trying. If it works, then he has something good to report. If it doesn’t, then it only impacted a small segment of the list.
Perhaps you are reading this and saying “I get it, but I’m having trouble picturing what delight looks like.” Well, we run email campaigns for clients and hope this blog article compels you to consider using allies4me for one of your campaigns. But, this is the first time the article talks about it – and only for the point of illustration. We assume you know we offer that service and hope the article delights you to the point where you would consider allies4me when you have a need. You are in control – not us. This is about you – not us. I hope you are delighted and that we’ve made your life better.