Email Communication Between Brand and Customer: It’s Personal
Remember these famous words from an equally famous movie? “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” Aside from the fact this quote is from “The Godfather,” think of the two operative words: “personal” and “business.” The reality is that business is personal, and there must be a connection between a brand and customer. And today, a lot of the communication between business and customer begins and is supplemented through digital; particularly email.
The connection between a brand and customer is a relationship
Obvious as it may sound, the connection (no, relationship is more like it) between a brand and its customer base is one of – if not the most – important marketing trends; particularly this year, considering the lack of transparency from 2018. And customer demand – or rather, disappointment – is proof. An example of this disappointment is in poorly executed or non-user friendly email performance. Narrowing this down further: billing statements. (Yes, you read that right.)
Customers will leave, and fast
Hard to believe, but items as cut-and-dried as billing statements could use a personal touch with their customers. Ray Schulz, writing for Media Post, reported that one-quarter of customers will drop and distance themselves from a brand because of poor personalization for this very reason. A cross-section of customers receive their billing statements, via print, digital, or both, and many are leaning toward going exclusively digital. And while digital requires great demand, there is also great opportunity.
Are opportunities hiding in plain sight?
Mr. Schulz deferred to an observation by Matt Swain, managing director and practice lead for communications consulting services company Broadridge. Those plain and dry bills and statements can be an exciting, untapped possibility to make a positive impression on customers. Imagine if these were designed to be integrated and interactive, or at least more engaging. Customers will be happy and won’t leave, which means brands earn points (and business). How to make this happen?
A checklist for successful email design and deployment
Freelance web designer Paula Borowska listed some principals in Designmodo on creating emails that will have reach and make a good impression on the customer. Where personalization is concerned, Ms. Borowska also emphasizes the importance of sequencing and drip emails for sending to specific groups of targeted customers, essentially “speaking” to them and their specific needs and wants. (New customers, for instance, would receive a different follow-up email than a returning customer.)
Paula Borowska included these other tips which, in one way or the other, tie in with personalization.
- Readability and scalability: Emails must be to-the-point, easy to read, and carefully designed.
- Sticking to the promise: Deliver only the message of the email without extra offers, promotions, or other content the customer did not ask for.
- Careful usage of subjects and previews: Carefully customize this introductory information to the right audience.
- Following up with replies: Avoid the “noreply@” route. Either reply directly to the customer or set up a page where questions and comments can be answered within a reasonable time period.
- Optimizing for mobile: As more customers and prospects rely more on smartphones or tablets, all emails must be responsive or be designed from programs that are mobile-friendly
- Perform test emails: Just think of the adage: “You never get a second chance at making a good first impression.” This applies to emails as well.
A brand’s personalization via email serves as everything from a first-time calling card to the next closest thing to in-person conversation with customers. Find out more about email and other digital marketing services EGC can provide to your business.