Getting the balance right with e-marketing
It’s December already … and in a year that has been pretty tough, you’re probably thinking about ways to entice customers to celebrate the holiday season by purchasing from you. This is, of course, the perfect time to excite old customers and attract new ones. However, an opportunity to build new relationships can quickly turn sour if you end up annoying people with your e-marketing—you risk losing their loyalty and potentially provoking negative word-of-mouth. Remember our tagline: successful e-marketing…it’s about reputation!
So how do you find the right balance between informing your customers of the great holiday specials you have on offer and losing them because they’ve had enough of your emails or SMS messages?
The answer is to consider the needs of your customers, both old and new. What do busy people need from you in this hectic time of year? It’s unlikely to be an inbox full of daily specials, no matter how fantastic they are. And what about those people that send you an enquiry and end up receiving multiple messages—how likely are they to buy from you in the future? Remember, it’s not a successful campaign if they don’t stick around—your customers are after quality, not quantity. To help avoid irritated customers and potential damage to your reputation, make sure that your sign-up process is clear and any new customer using it knows:
- that they are signing up to receive e-marketing messages from you
- exactly what types of messages they will receive
- the frequency of messages they will receive (and if this is likely to change over Christmas)
- who you are and how they can contact you
- how to stop receiving messages from you (this process should also be clearly described in every message you send).
And, if a customer does ask to unsubscribe, make sure you do it quickly and get it right the first time.
The 12 (e-marketing!) tips of Christmas
As our gift to you this holiday season, the ACMA has come up with 12 simple tips to help you get your e-marketing right, and to protect your reputation!
- Express consent is best consent
Gaining express consent from a subscriber will save you hassle in the long run … LOTS of hassle! Giving a person the information they need to make an informed decision and letting them exercise that decision themselves (that means NO pre-ticked boxes) is a powerful thing.
- Identify yourself
Make sure it’s clear in the message who you are and how you can be contacted—failing to do this is a good way to guarantee that your potential customer’s cash will be going elsewhere.
- Make sure your unsubscribe works
Test your unsubscribe process. It’s simple … get this right and you substantially reduce the chance that an unsubscribing customer turns into a complaining customer. And be ready for the possibility of an increase in unsubscribe requests post-Christmas putting strain on your system.
- It’s about quality not quantity
Just like when selecting presents, quality trumps quantity every day of the week. A well presented message sent twice a week can be far more effective than a hastily drafted message sent every day, and your recipients are much less likely to suffer reader fatigue.
- Not all Christmas surprises are appreciated
If you are relying on anything other than express consent, you need to be prepared for the fact that some people will be surprised to get your messages. This has the real potential to turn possible customers off future purchases from your business. To protect your reputation, make sure your subscription policy is clear and that people have an opportunity to say no before you put them on your list.
- It’s all in the details
If you expect to gain a large number of new subscribers to your e-marketing services, consider giving a bit of extra information in your messages to make sure your customers understand what they have received, why they have received it, and what they’ll receive in the future.
- Make your list and check it twice
Look at how you keep records of consent and think about whether your system can cope with a flood of new subscribers. Also, consider whether you have enough information in those records to satisfy those potentially grumpy people that don’t remember visiting your business in the lead-up to Christmas.
- Who the heck are you?
If the last time you contacted a customer was last Christmas, or a customer hasn’t bought one of your products since 2006, take them off your list. Now is not the time for high school reunions—focus on those customers you are currently engaged with and stop living in the past!
- Listen to your customers
Your customers often provide you with the best chance of fixing a problem before it gets out of hand. Of course, for that to work you have to listen to them and respond, but what could be better for your reputation than fixing a problem and satisfying a customer in one go!
- Dealing with customers overseas
If your business sees you dealing with international customers, take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with any anti-spam laws in relevant countries—there are differences from country to country and identifying these might save you a headache.
- If it looks like spam …
If a potential customer looks at your message and thinks it might be ‘junk’ or a ‘spam scam’, it doesn’t matter how great your prices are. Take the time to check the spelling, grammar and formatting of your message and ask your friends whether they would give you their credit card details!
- Subscribe to the ACMA’s e-marketing blog
Give yourself a gift these holidays and subscribe (or join the RSS feed) to our e-marketing blog. It’s a great way to gain an understanding of the Spam Act, hear the thoughts of complainants and get the latest tips to help you protect your reputation.
So take time this festive season to really think about your customer’s needs, but also consider how you can use your e-marketing presence to build a positive relationship between them and your business into the New Year. By doing that you’re bound to get through the holidays with a great reputation and set yourself up for a successful 2012. From all of us here at the ACMA, we wish you a safe—and prosperous—holiday season!