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Send an email questionnaire
Send an email questionnaire to your customers asking what you can do to better serve them.

Creating Emails Customers Want To Read

Dec 30, 2018
by Elizabeth Slater


Since the broad acceptance of email as the most efficient way to communicate, the medium has grown exponentially.  According to an article written by Sharon Hurley Hall, more than 74 Trillion emails are sent every year. The numbers of emails being sent continues to go up year after year.

I remember as far back in the early 2000s, asking people at conferences at which I was speaking, “How many of you don't receive enough emails?”  No one ever raised his/her hand and emails have become much more pervasive since then.

While emails make it easy to send information to your customers, these same customers are also receiving emails from many of your competitors. Which is why I am going to talk about many of the ways you can make your stand out from the crowd.

Create individual emails for different groups of customers

Segmentation of your email list is one of the most important things that you can do. The top 10 to 20% of your customers who buy or used your services the most from you and buy or use you more frequently should receive more emails from you than those who purchase once each year. Sending too many emails to infrequent buyers could cause them to buy less rather than more.

Sort your customers by their buying patterns:

  • How often they buy
  • What products they buy
  • When they buy
  • The process (buy through email, in person, over the phone, at events) 
  • Subscribe To Your Competitors Emails

How many emails for businesses that you in some way compete with do you subscribe to and read?  Take your 10 closest competitors and make sure that you are on their email list. I subscribe to many emails and most of the emails I receive are very much alike.  Create your emails to incorporate subjects that others are not.

Personal Stories Connect

Make the lead story one that will further connect your customers to your brand. Many of your customers may feel connected with your business and with the people who own or work for the business. Feature a different employee once per quarter or solicit stories from your customers about your products. Use those topics as the opening story though keep the stories short. You can add information about the products in the next paragraph or two in the email

People connect with people more quickly than they connect with technical or product information usually. Once you have secured the connection, then move onto product information, keeping in mind the response you would like them to have.

Subject line

“47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone.” That being the case, create a subject line that will connect with recipients and make them want to read more. Open up to your customers in your subject line.  Give customers (especially your most loyal customers) information about your lead story. For example, the headline might read: 

  • “Four things you don’t know about our business” 
  • “Why we opted to build our business in…” (insert name of town)
  • “Our staff, a great group of people”
  • “Meet our dog, the most popular person (??) in our business.”  

When you have customers, who are loyal to your business, they want to get to know you and the employees. There are lots of places they can find information on your products, but on most websites personal information about owners and employees is woefully absent. Let your customers take a peek “behind the curtain.” Don’t be afraid to let them know when you have made a small mistake or that something unexpected has happened. Picture yourself talking to an individual customer, one that you like and has been buying from you for a long time. What would you tell them in a one-on-one conversation?  

Email Questionnaires

In addition to sending out emails with offers or upcoming sales/events/etc. Send an email questionnaire to your customers asking what you can do to better serve them.

Consider sending out these questionnaire emails once every three months to different groups of customers, asking questions that are relevant to the type of customer they are (those who visit regularly, those who purchase at events or those who purchase online.

You may also sort them by how much money they spend annual, and, of course, whether they are rewards members.

Keep the questionnaire short 3 questions at most. Think about what would be helpful to know about these groups

Call To Action

Finally, every email should include a call to action that will keep customers clicking to the next part of the process. Make it easy for them to buy and remember that most people who purchase online discard their cart when they realize they have to pay for shipping.

Let me know how your emails are working for you.

Elizabeth Slater
In Short Direct Marketing
Specializing in Customer Service & Sales Training That Works

T: 707.836.8730
C: 707.953.1289





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