As the old saying goes, you only get what you give. When you consider Seth Godin’s principle of permission marketing you can see how this adage applies to business, as well as life in general. It is comforting for digital marketers crunched for time and resources to know that they may see big returns on their email marketing efforts when they use Godin’s simple principles: make customers feel respected and valued. According to Godin, if you value your valuable customers, potential or otherwise, you’ll see them deliver a good ROI for you time and again.
But how do you make customers feel respected and valued? Isn’t that too pie in the sky for a marketer to achieve?
Consider email interaction as the technological version of a physical shopping experience. Online, you must find a way to be as attentive and engaging with your customer as a physical salesperson might be. Only by assuring quality and providing personalised service will you gain permission to learn more about what they truly want.
To extend the analogy, if the customer entered the shop, they need to perceive that you have what they need. In ‘real life’, this comes down to a trusted sales assistant listening to what they want and guiding them towards the products or services it sounds like they need. It is the job of the sales assistant to listen, understand and entice, not force, so that the customer concludes their product is right for them. In an email, it’s the data you have on your user combined with the focus of the messaging and design of the email that is of greatest importance.
It is the job of the sales assistant to listen, understand and entice, not force, so that the customer concludes their product is right for them.
The principle is to use the data you have to guide someone from the distant fringes of their email inbox onto your website (or wherever else you want them to go). So dig out the browsing data, heatmaps, calls to action that spurred a click, and layer the demographic data you have to send the most personalised, compelling emails you can. These can act as a salesperson and guide customers right to your checkout.
But the overarching message here is clear: hark back to the principles outlined by Godin when creating your email funnel by having permission to reach out, even if it isn’t explicit (often like that salesperson knowing to come up and speak to you based on your body language). How do you get permission?
Emails should be anticipated by users.
They should want to hear from you. In a world full of garbage in your inbox everyone understands that you won’t respond if you feel hassled or harassed. Email frequency is often a hot topic, but a conversation well worth having. Regardless of the cadence of your emails, messages should be personalised and content should be tailored to suit the individual. Finally all correspondence should be relevant to that particular person. Any good salesperson is aware of the effects relevant suggestions have on the customer, as should anyone creating an email marketing strategy. You wouldn’t offer people services you know they don’t want.
Companies such as eBay have this strategy down well. eBay follows up searches or involvement in correspondence with queries for feedback and suggestions for similar products. Though you need to be careful to avoid becoming an irritant, the gentle but constant reminder that you are refining the online experience makes customers feel valued, even if they are engaging with an online business and faceless salesperson.
…the gentle but constant reminder that you are refining the online experience makes customers feel valued, even if they are engaging with an online business and faceless salesperson.
Godin’s words ring true in both the physical and digital world, but it’s the digital world that most of us live, and shop, in. So align your email marketing efforts with Godin’s principles and watch as your email becomes as trusted a source as a favourite salesperson or local business.