I am a big believer in email. It was the first piece of the interwebs I became a part of, way back in 1997. It was amazing to me that I could instantly communicate with friends who were in a completely different country than I was. I started joining email lists and newsletters quickly there after and while some have been great and I’ve kept up with them over the years, others were dropped like a bad date after just a few days.
While talking to friends the other day, I was trying to explain exactly why I think offering a newsletter for their business was a good idea, “It’s like building a relationship, the way you did with your husband. What did he do the day after your first date?” The thought instantly bloomed from there into a whole post about how a relationship one builds with a customer is kind of like the rules of dating.
(It’s important to note here that I am not a professional email marketer person. I’m someone who enjoys and reads a lot of newsletters everyday and have done for years. These points come from that perspective. /disclaimer)
1. Know my name. I’m not babe, sweetie, honey or even “Insert First Name”. If you want me to feel valued, then know my name. Most email systems have a way to personalize your mass emails and newsletters. My impression of you will rise the more I think you actually know me and treat me like someone you really want to get to know better.
2. Too soon? I get it, the morning after the first date and you’re still on that high. The possibilities of the relationship are swimming in your head but you – in a moment of pure insecurity – think that maybe it was just all you? So you email and email again and again and before you can stop yourself, you’ve emailed and called 6 times in the span of two days. Wow. Not cool buddy. Now I think you’re desperate and am going to question why I ever gave you my contact information. If I wasn’t interested in what you had to say on our first date, I wouldn’t have given it to you. I’m what they call a “Sure Thing.” so take your time in getting to know me. Sure, an email the morning after to touch base and remind me what you’re offering is great. It makes me feel special, but let me digest that for a few days before you hit me up again. I promise I’ll look forward to our once-a-month date with excitement and interest!
3. It’s not you, it’s me. When I think it’s time to break up, don’t beg me to stay. It’s tacky and I will end up resenting ever thinking you were cool in the first place. Be a gentleman. Have a little dignity in our parting. Who knows, after a few days apart, I might realize you really were the one and come back for another chance.
4. I thought we had something special? You spent a long time and – let’s be honest – more than a few dollars woo’ing me into this relationship. Now that we’re going steady, pay attention to me. Don’t abandon me for the next shiny thing that walks down the street. Offering new-customer-only discounts and never any long-term customer value is kind of tacky and we’ll break up with a long drawn out fight in the middle of my favorite restaurant and I will leave you with the bill. Not to mention the story about the breakup I’ll tell my girlfriends as soon as I get home.
5. You don’t bring me flowers, you don’t sing me love songs. Following closely with point 4, (and to continue the trip down old music lane…) Don’t you, forget about me! One of the easiest ways to show me you still care is to offer me a flower. Or a coupon/discount. You know that catch phrase, “Membership has its privileges”? Yeah, it is actually like that. Giving me a slightly higher discount or news of a sale before it goes on sale shows you understand what that catch phrase means. The more you show how you value me, the more attention (and money) I’ll likely spend on you.
I’m not saying these points are perfect and they probably aren’t the same for anyone, but generally if you narrow it all down to one very important key point it’s this. Treat your customers with care and respect. Succeed at this and you’ll have a strong bond that will last through good times and bad.
And surprise boxes of chocolate are never a bad thing. I’m just sayin…