Attraction. Courtship. Engagement. An event that signifies the beginning of a new union. And then: a long, mutually satisfying relationship.
We’re talking about a happy marriage, right?
Exactly. And about a successful email marketing campaign.
At first blush, they don’t seem to have much in common. But the similarities become clearer the more you compare them. “Like a marriage, email marketing is based on a relationship between two interested parties: a brand and a consumer,” writes Jason Warnock at Marketing Land. And, as in marriage, to be successful, an email marketing relationship must be built on a foundation of respect and be carefully nurtured.
Here are four additional attributes they share:
You need permission to get things started
Navigating the early stages of a relationship is tricky. Accurately assessing your intended’s receptivity to taking things to the next level requires patience, and sensitivity to verbal and non-verbal cues. If you try to rush things, you are sure to be shut down.
In this regard, email marketing is much less complicated. You either have the OK to send your messages, or you don’t. If you rush things without permission your message will be ignored or caught up in a spam trap, and your reputation might suffer.
Permission is “implied” or “expressed.”
“You have implied permission to email somebody if you have an existing business relationship with them,” writes Campaign Monitor. “This could mean they are a current customer, donate to your charity, or are an active member of your website, club or community.”
Without that implied permission, you will need a specific OK to send campaigns: “Express permission is granted when somebody specifically gives you permission to send them email campaigns, likely by entering their email address in a subscribe form on your website or entering their details into your in-store newsletter subscribe form.”
Engagement is a critical step
The next milestone on the road to marriage is engagement, which, according to Priceonomics, these days usually happens after about three years of dating. Email marketers are also looking eagerly to engagement – in a different sense of the word – but hope it can happen more quickly.
While engagement in its matrimonial meaning is usually signified by a shiny bauble on the bride-to-be’s left hand, email marketers must look to their metrics for visible signifiers of email marketing engagement.
“A subscriber who is positively engaged is someone who opens and clicks your campaigns or interacts with your brand online,” reports Mailchimp. “Engaged subscribers are likely to open your emails, and continue to purchase, donate, or support your organization or brand.”
In email marketing there is also a phenomenon called negative engagement, which is signaled by unsubscribes, getting flagged as spam and direct complaints. There have been instances of negative engagement on the road to marriage, too, although they are rare.
A special moment seals the deal
During a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom must state their intention – usually in response to a call to action from the officiant.
The email marketing equivalent of the bride and groom saying “I do” and slipping rings on each other is when a recipient clicks on a call to action. Both signify that a commitment has been made.
Crafting a successful call to action for an email marketing message, like crafting wedding vows, requires an investment in time and effort. And both tasks can be challenging to do well.
“Thirty-five percent of marketers say creating a meaningful CTA is one of the most challenging aspects of email marketing, according to a recent study,” reports Andrea Robbins at Business2Community. “To create a meaningful CTA, it should contain short, specific directions that guide the subscriber to make a purchase, download an eBook, or RSVP for an event. Buttons are visually appealing and draw the eye of subscribers, especially those reading your email on a smartphone. Make the button size noticeable and use a color that makes the button pop.”
And then it’s on to ‘happily ever after’ (hopefully)
Unlike weddings, in which vows are just exchanged once, that initial click on a CTA is, ideally, only the first of many. But, like a marriage needs nurturing to succeed, it’s important that email marketers not lose focus on the customer after that first sale takes place. The honeymoon period begins with the crafting of transactional messages that keep the customer informed once the order is placed.
“Transactional emails (like order confirmation and shipping confirmation emails) are often neglected by eCommerce marketers in favor of newsletters and promotional campaigns, however, they actually present a significant opportunity,” writes Aaron Beashel at Campaign Monitor. “In fact, 64% of consumers actually consider these the most valuable emails in their inbox, and they typically have 8x higher open and click-through rates than promotional emails.”