Monday, 21 November 2011

Keeping the Flame Alive

So how do we keep email subscribers engaged?

My view is that we can't really focus on the business as usual aspects of our email programmes, but look at the whole subscriber experience.

So we are talking about

Lighting that Flame
Keeping the Flame Alive
Last Minute Relighting

Lighting the Flame - The Sign Up

It always pays to start as you mean to go on. The sign up provides the launch pad for the rest of the programmes. It's important to manage customers expectations from here on on.

Key tips include
 1.Make It Easy to find and do 
2.Provide one newsletter subscription page including information about all  newsletters
3.Clearly state when users have navigated to the newsletter sign-up process
4.Don’t pre-select any newsletters for users
5.In multi-step processes, let users know how many steps remain
6.Explain the ‘value proposition’ – what’s in it for me?
7.Manage expectations – what will I get when and how often?
8.Have a clear privacy policy
9.Use incentives - but  be transparent
10.Send a confirmation email, or maybe even the last newsletter

I think this is also a real opportunity to get some information from subscribers as to what other channels they might like to receive information through. And don't just stop at Social channels. I've been working recently with clients where mobile and direct mail are still playing a strong part in the mix for certain segments

Keeping the Flame Alive - Relevance

When we talk about 'inactives'. We need to be careful as to what the definition is we are using. This definition will vary from Client to ESP to ISP. Reminding me of the old adage

''there are lies, damned lies , and email metrics''

Some of the key take outs included

 - They were never ever going to be active. Beware email addresses that were acquired as a result of a competition or a prize draw.

 -  They never got your emails in the first place. Data hygiene is an issue. Use of double entry of email addresses and some data tidying behind the scenes can pay high dividends. As can looking at Inbox Delivery. Return Path believe that only 81% of permissionable actually hit the inbox.

- Nothing lasts forever. There will always be subscribers who out grow what you have to offer. People move on and in true old school marketing speak you will need to pour more subscribers in the top end to cope with the leaky bucket. Of course you can minimize those losses by keeping relevance up by understanding the value of delivering

a - the right content
b - at the right time
c - optimised messages for the relevant device
d - context specific messages

 Last Minute Re-lighting - The Unsubscribe

The time to say goodbye will come - but that doesn't mean giving up without something up your sleeve

Some tips include

1.Provide a way to unsubscribe directly via the website
2.On the un-subscribe page, list the user’s email address and current newsletters, 
3.And a simple way to unsubscribe from any or all newsletters.
4.Provide a separate process for unsubscribing.
5.Offer users an option to change frequency as an alternative to unsubscribing
6.Provide a confirmation screen verifying unsubscription
7.On the confirmation page, list other ways to receive updates eg: through social or a blog
8.Ask for feedback about why they are unsubscribing
9.Send only one email confirmation to users after they unsubscribe
10.Unsubscribe users immediately.

But a good point to bear in mind is that if deliverability isn't an issue with you and neither is CPM - do you really need to take these subscribers off the list?
In the words of someone famous
“  we didn’t improve one thing by one hundred percent 
we improved one hundred things by one per cent.”

There is no magic bullet. As with most eCRM, it's all about improving step by step.

Content is a summary of my presentation at the DMA Email Event on Winback in November 2011

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