Email subscriptions can be a lot like Facebook friends. By now, it’s pretty standard to have close to a thousand friends, but how many of those people could you call for support after a bad breakup or to help you with a big move? I hate to break it to you if your subscriptions have been a source of pride, but the numbers often don’t turn into profit on your end.
The Problem with Email Subscriptions
Just think about how much time you spend sifting through your email every day. You might come up with a ballpark figure, something like 20 or 30 minutes. According to the McKinsey Global Institute and International Data Corp., the average time spent sorting through email is 2 hours and 14 minutes. That’s every single day.
Sure, email is one of the greatest inventions of all time and it has likely benefited your work and personal life a great deal. But now, it’s like a party you should have left a long time ago. The room is crowded and noisy and you can’t even hear yourself think, let alone talk to that special someone in the corner. It’s time to leave. The party is over.
This doesn’t mean you should give up partying with email marketing for good, but maybe you should work on making the campaign a little more productive. By now, your subscribers can recognize any automated, robot messages and trash them immediately. You need a campaign that distinguishes itself from the white noise they receive on a daily basis and provides some substance on what your business can do for them.
Taking Steps Toward Standing Out
Even though your small business is probably on a budget, you need to ditch the free email service. This tends to send up a spam red flag and your messages might not even make it to your subscribers’ inboxes. Consider contacting an email hosting service and getting your own business email address, so that your employees can communicate with clients on a more personal and professional level. For example, a restaurateur can send out a special email form her account, email@example.com, thanking customers for their patience with a long wait while she managed her Italian restaurant the night before.
She can even offer incentives for customers to keep coming back, such as discounts and free appetizers. If your email marketing campaign frequently includes incentives, they’re less likely to get discarded immediately by your Groupon-obsessed audience.
As a small business, you may also have the ability to respond to customer emails, who might reply to your campaign messages with questions or comments. Make this another part of your marketing efforts that makes you different from the flood of spam crowding their inboxes.
Just because the email subscription party is over doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun. It just means some new strategies have to be taken to keep your business moving forward. Technology is evolving so rapidly that sometimes it’s hard to keep up, but try to think of these changes as opportunities to make your business better.