Properly engaging in conversations with someone is the most important part of developing a relationship. Whether these conversations happen via email, text, or social media, it's imperative to make sure that you say the right thing at the right time to the right person -- otherwise your relationship could take a turn for the worse. When building relationships, content and context are key.
The same thing applies to building relationships with the leads in your database via email marketing. Poorly written emails, mass-produced messaging, and a lack of genuine thought and interest throughout your communication are all sure ways to alienate the recipient. So avoid deal-breakers early in your relationship by abiding by the following email etiquette tips.
1) Remember the Little Things Count
This point is super simple, but will always be inherently important -- and for this reason it cannot be overlooked. Use common sense and make sure that you double and triple check for any mistakes within the email. Mistakes can include incorrect information, spelling errors, and poor grammar.
Want to see an example of what not to do? Look no further than here for an example of a truly shocking email that is the spammiest of all spam.
2) Put Your Best Foot Forward
First impressions are crucial in relationships. When sending emails, you only get one chance to get this impression right -- and best way to make it a good one is to optimize your email subject line.Research shows that "secrets" is the most clicked word in lead nurturing subject lines, so testing to find out what works for your audience is key to getting your email recipients to click through to all the good stuff on your website.
Try to get your audience engaged from the get-go, but don't trick them into it. Naturally, we can sometimes be drawn to scandalous headlines and hyperbolic messaging, but if the contents of the email don't live up to the expectation that’s set in the subject line, you're going to do more damage than good. Positioning your email’s content as something of value and interest is the best way to draw your audience in. Free tools like this Subject Line previewer from Email Tool Tester will help you gauge which email subject lines will be more successful.
Nobody wants to be just another name on a list. Personalizing your emails is a sure way to make the reader feel special. Addressing your email to the recipient’s first name creates a sense of familiarity and makes the reader feel like it's actually meant for them and you're paying attention. And, according to the 2014 Science of Email Report, having that first name personalization increases your clickthrough rate from about 5.8% to about 7%.
Personalization can extend far beyond the use of names, too. Some things that you can pull in to your emails for a more relevant and personal experience include their role or industry, the most recent page on your website they have viewed, and the types of content they have downloaded.
Check out this HubSpot blog post so you can rock email personalization and learn more about all the different ways you can do it.
4) Play the Long Game
Focusing on the end result (the sale) from the beginning sends one message -- you only care about you. Your leads will know that you want one thing, and one thing only -- and once you have it you won’t care about them anymore.
And then they'll find a way to avoid you. With more than 50% of respondents to the 2014 Science of Email Report saying they use a separate 'spam' email address to divert commercial emails, you want to make sure that your emails aren’t ending up in that same black hole.
You have one too, don't you -- an email address you throw down when you have to provide one to gain access to content or a site? However, we all know of those companies from which we enjoy receiving emails because they give us the gift of interesting or helpful content. Follow their lead.
By placing emphasis on creating value for your leads with relevant content and education during early email communication process, you will help foster a mutually beneficial relationship and lay the groundwork for a more successful close.
5) Be Yourself
For the past few months, I have been receiving emails from Uber, all signed off by their Dublin Community Managers Cian and Pete. Recently I happened to meet Cian in real life and had a lovely conversation regarding their most recent ice cream campaign (and how, ironically, they ran it on what was possibly the wettest day in Ireland this year). I mentioned to him how much I loved getting his emails.
The fact that a human had been emailing me made the brand feel more personable and authentic. Deep down I know that this wasn't sent to just me, but upon reading the human sign-offs, I often forgot. It felt like someone had taken the time to email me personally.
It may seem obvious, but signing off automated emails from a real person rather than a company will help develop the relationship further.
6) Know That It’s What’s on the Inside That Counts
When I click into an email on my phone and see that it’s not mobile friendly, that email is being kicked to the curb. Instantaneous delete.
In this day and age, and with 80.8% of users reading email on mobile devices, there is absolutely no excuse for not optimizing your emails for mobile access. Having to twist, pinch, swivel, and zoom in order to awkwardly read the contents of an email is a chore, and a very irritating one at that.
You can learn how to optimize your emails for mobile with this beginners guide so you don’t make any rookie mistakes when trying to woo a lead.
7) Keep It Short and Sweet so They’re Left Wanting More
According to the 2014 Science of Email Report, "Emails that are short and sweet yield better results," as both subject line and content length “have a negative correlation with email clickthrough rate.” In order to further engage your leads, keep your emails informative but concise. Just like this final tip.
What other tips do you have for developing your email marketing relationships?
Originally published Sep 11, 2014 4:00:00 AM, updated August 01 2018