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Email is becoming an increasingly powerful business and marketing tool. The secret to making it work for you? It pays to build a strong relationship with your subscribers. If you’re not sure how, read along to learn a few tactics you’re probably not using to your advantage.
Every part of business is about relationships. The ability to connect is something that professionals in every industry strive to strengthen. If you think about the best sales or customer service representatives, their ability to build camaraderie is a large part of their success. Competency and proficiency in rapport building will grow loyalty and increase sales.
With email being the marketing channel with the greatest promise of ROI ($36 for every dollar spent), you should do what you can to grow the relationship you have with your readers.
Here are five simple ways you can build rapport with your email list.
Build rapport with your email subscribers through casual, personal writing
There’s no shortage of legal jargon and highly technical writing. If you send marketing emails, leave the robotic language to the people who write instructional manuals. Think about the email newsletters you enjoy – they’re probably not written in the most formal language.
Also think about it like this: who understands plain language? Just about everyone. This means the simpler your writing, the more people you can connect with. It also means your emails will be a greater pleasure to read. Forty-three percent of adults have basic or below basic literacy levels. So, strive for clear writing. Ask a couple of people to read your emails before they go out to be sure everything is understandable.
Build rapport with your email list by not disappearing
Sending email newsletters takes work, and that’s why some people send their promotional emails irregularly. They wait until they’ve got something to sell or that they’re excited about.
The problem with this? The adage “out of sight, out of mind” applies. Your readers will forget about you and when you do pop up, they may hit the spam button. Don’t be mistaken that everyone who subscribes will remember who you are if you’ve been absent.
“When a subscriber marks you as spam, this will cause your sender reputation score to go down,” said Emily Ryan, Mailchimp Pro partner and co-founder of Westfield Creative. “You don’t want to do anything to jeopardize your sender score. If that suffers, your emails start landing in the spam folder.”
Once your emails start going to spam, you’re dead in the water. The good thing is that you can avoid this by having a steady sending schedule.
Build rapport with your email subscribers by not annoying them
Think about that annoying salesman who pestered you endlessly or someone who repeatedly called you to try and change your mind. It’s more likely that it irritated you than made you eager to engage. One of the top peeves of email subscribers is being bombarded with emails. Just don’t do it.
This is where common sense is your friend. How often should you send emails? “It has to make sense for your industry. If you have a restaurant, obviously every single day is too much,” said Olga Zamiatina, Deliverability Manager at Reply.io. “However, there are businesses where it would make sense to send multiple emails in a week.” Come up with a schedule that suits your audience and business.
The more advanced email marketers take it a step further and put the decision in the hands of your subscribers. You can segment your list and give those who sign up the option of choosing how often they will hear from you. The great advantage is that you’re giving your subscribers a customized experience, and you’re not alienating those who have less time or patience. Remember: don’t send emails just because. Have something to say or offer.
You can’t build rapport with fake or invalid email addresses
People with successful email lists are those who realize that an email list must be maintained if you want it to perform to its utmost potential. You can only build a relationship with real people. That’s why you must clean your list to identify the invalid or harmful addresses – and then remove them without delay.
Every list, no matter how good it begins, will always suffer from data decay. Why? Many people change email addresses. Maybe they use a school or workplace email and then changes in their life lead them to get a new email address. If you keep those abandoned email addresses on your list, you’re going to get bounces. Those bounces send a message to the email service providers (ESPs) that you are a spammer. Your future email campaigns will suffer. Deliverability problems can spiral downward quickly and your efforts and expenses are wasted while your ROI potential dwindles.
You want to build rapport with real people and by necessity this means you should remove fake and toxic email addresses. Some surprisingly prevalent email addresses don’t belong on an effective list:
- Spam traps. These are designed to trap spammers and block them from sending more spam.
- Abuse addresses. They are known complainers who tend to mark emails as spam.
- Role-based emails. Those addresses like info@, admin@ or office@ are checked by a whole team and not an individual. You never know who may not recognize your email and mark it as spam. There’s little marketing potential for role-based email addresses.
- Disposable emails. Also called temporary or burner emails, they are generated by websites for short-term use. People sign up for lists using disposables so they don’t have to share their real email addresses.
There’s also preventative email hygiene that keeps these useless email addresses from finding their way on your list. A quality email verification service can provide you with a real-time email validation API to connect with all your email signup forms. If someone were to try to use a bad email, the email checker would immediately ask for another address. The same would apply if they mistyped it. An API goes a long way to keeping your email list hygiene optimal.
Build rapport by involving your email subscribers
You’ve probably seen more than a few email newsletters that ramble on about things that are of little interest to anyone but themselves. This can be humbling, but before you write about something, you should always ask if your readers will really care. If you’re not sure, that means it’s not exciting enough.
Your emails should feel conversational, and whenever possible should involve the recipients. “Humanize your communication. Ask for your readers to respond, lean into zero-click content, and most importantly – sending from a ‘do not reply’ is an insult,” said Michelle Michaels, Associate Marketing Director at Versium.
“If you don’t want to hear from them, why should they want to hear from you? Craft content that feels like your recipients are communicating with a real person – because you are!” In this way, you can see that email is a two-way communication, not unlike talking on the phone or in person.
Building rapport means listening and putting the focus on your email list. The more you can involve people in what you do, the better rapport you’ll have. Rapport is a cornerstone of engagement, so don’t forget your audience. They are why you exist.