7 ways to put the spark back in your emails

“We are doing everything right and yet our open rates are dipping. What went wrong?” asked the Marketing Head of a well-known brand. The question got me thinking and I found the answer I was seeking from one of my recent experiences as a customer, which gave me a first-hand insight on customer behaviour. Read this blog to understand your customer better and take your email opens sky high.

I recently visited my friendly neighbourhood restaurant, one which my family patronized. The place holds special memories for all of us – birthday parties, cosy family dinners and yes, my first pay-check party as well. While we kept coming back, the speciality slowly started to fade way. I realized that over time, the restaurant turned out to be just another average joint dishing out the same menu for years together. It was no longer special and we decided it’s time to switch & try out some other restaurant.

Study says people do not like monotonous repetition, but prefer ‘structured variation’, patterns that have some degree of symmetry and hierarchy, but which also contain variation on multiple scales.

Had the restaurant’s offering not been so monotonous, I wouldn’t have been bored with the place.

The same hold good for email subscribers as well. 72% read emails when they are bored* and repetitive emails only to contribute to their boredom.

Brands today are working relentlessly to perfect their email marketing – the right subject line, enticing offers, amazing email design that renders across all devices, content that flows seamlessly, the list is endless. But what they seem to overlook is that customers tend to get habituated to repetitive email behaviour and stop reacting to their emails or worse still, unsubscribe as they feel annoyed.

So coming to the most important part of this discussion,

How do you check if your campaigns are getting boring and repetitive?

  • Has there been an unchanged response (Open rates/ Click rates) since the past 6 months?
  • Has there been a steady rise in complaint rate (Unsubscribe/ Report as Spam)?

If your answer is yes to both or either, it’s time you revamped your email program. Because very soon this static response is going to change to dipping open rates.

Listing down some ways you can put the spark back in your emails:

1. Get a new look, change your existing email template – Visual effects play a crucial role in users engaging with your mailer. Edit styles, mix and match and create a completely unique look for your email.

2. Birthday/Anniversary campaigns – We see 3X increase in response for Birthday/Anniversary email campaigns. If you do not collect birth dates, plan an ‘update preference’ campaign asking users for the details with small gratification.

3. Gamify your emails – Cure the boredom blues by spicing up your email offering. Plan a different, never-heard-before kind of gamification based email campaign. We tried it with some of our clients and it did wonders – like playing a prank on subscribers on April fool’s day or letting them do the guessing during the FIFA world cup.

4. Tell them your story – What’s your story? Let your customers know who you are, how you make the product and how you package it. Plan a short video in email and harp on the power of storytelling to engage them. Because neuroscience says stories make people love brands.

5. Add an element of surprise – Think of some out-of-the-box ways to keep your subscriber tuned to you. Today all the brands send vertical scrolling emails. How about changing it? Try designing horizontal scrolling email.

6. Trigger emails your customer will love – Remember how good it feels when you are looking for something and someone helps you find it? Give the same wow experience to your customers by addressing their needs. Let me give an example – Nikita purchased a skincare product online, let’s say everyday moisturising solution. How about sending her an email to reorder just at a time when she needs it?

7. Get real – Capitalize on the buzz everyone’s talking about and get instant connect with your customer. Real time or ‘right-time’ marketing, if done right is very powerful in creating a top-of-the-mind awareness and keeping the customer interest levels high.

Rather than fretting over dipping open rates, get a holistic view on what’s causing the dip in interest levels and add attack that problem head on.

And as for me, my new hangout offers not just an interesting menu but some great offers too!

*Acxiom’s Survey of Consumer Habits and Perceptions

Nov, 05, 2014

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