Win the Inbox: 4 ways to build customer relationships with email

The team at Emma is here to help you send better emails, so we created a video series to equip you with all the knowledge you need to send messages your customers will want to open. In this video, Caroline Matis shares our proven blueprint for strong email strategy. 

4 ways to build customer relationships with email

Whether this is your first send or you’re a seasoned email marketer, this blueprint will help take your customer communication to the next level. 

 

Email marketing is about building relationships. 

With the right tools, emails can help you provide online customers with the same special treatment you’d give them in person — the professionalism of a virtual handshake, the comfort of a familiar living room, the excitement of a surprise delivery, and the hospitality of a thank-you note, all in one. 

But in order to find new customers and keep your existing ones happy, you have to look at the big picture and establish a strong email marketing strategy that will inform every message you send. 

Before we get into the four key areas of your strategy, let’s go through some questions that every marketer should ask before pushing send: 

  • Does this message set your company up to provide lasting lifetime value, or is it a less-meaningful one-time interaction? 
  • Is this email in line with your long-term goals or just the short-term? 
  • Are you measuring success in terms of engagement? 
  • Is your content providing value to your potential customers? 
  • Is your content relevant to the recipient or are you sending the same message to everyone? 

4 steps to building relationships with email

1. Set goals and map your customer journey.

Consider each decision your potential customer will face on their way to the action you want them to take. 

For example, if you work for a university, your target audience, potential students and their parents, will have several questions to ask before choosing which school to enroll in. Think of it as a choose your own adventure that begins with questions like “Do I want to go to college?” and “How much will it cost?”, “What programs does this school offer?” and “What’s the food like?”. The more you can answer these questions on the front end, the easier your customer’s decision will be. 

2. Make the connection. 

Let’s say someone new signs up to receive your emails. Great! But your work here isn’t done — in fact, it’s just getting started. You want to make them feel at home with your brand and explain the value to them as a subscriber. One of the best ways to do that is with an automated welcome email. 

A welcome email tells your brand story and introduces them to who you are and what you do. A welcome email is the best way to start your customer relationship strong. Not only that, it has 4X the open rate and 5X the click rate of other bulk emails. 

3. Nurture and provide value.

Every good relationship needs nurturing. You set up coffee dates to catch up with friends and call those that live far away, so why wouldn’t you do the same for your invested customers? The best way to maintain a strong relationship is to create an ongoing, customized experience for each subscriber. Email service providers give you the customer insight and tools you need to group them by interest, create content they’ll love, and test the messages that resonate most. 

Customized experiences go beyond the “hard sell” of cold calling and focus on the long-term goal of converting subscribers into lifelong brand advocates. Let’s say your customer’s signed up for a newsletter about pets. First, you’d start by addressing your subscriber by name and then you’d continue to “wow” them with selections based on their previous preferences. 

This ensures your email is full of customized content that’ll feel more like a letter from a friend instead of just another business ad. 

4. Listen and learn.

The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” so let’s stay away from that in your email campaign. Instead of ignoring subscribers who opt out of your messages, be willing to find out why they unsubscribed. Take it as a challenge to re-engage inactive subscribers and customers who haven’t opened your emails in a while and spend time learning what type of content they’d like to receive. 

Create effective tests to understand what’s working, and pinpoint the methods and messages that could use improvement. This will help you scale your efforts and success over time. 

Wrap up

Now that you know the best four ways to use email as a relationship-building tool, you’re ready to fill inboxes with the friendliness and professionalism that’s already at the heart of your company. Good luck!

About the Author

Kaitlin Wernet

Kaitlin Wernet is a content specialist on Emma's marketing team. When she's not restraining herself from using too many exclamation points or grabbing one more La Croix from the office kitchen, she can be found working on her first book or planning her next big travel adventure.

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