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What Does It Mean to Treat a Customer’s Email With Respect?

An expert's thoughts and tips about engagement, deliverability, and storytelling vs. hard selling

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A person’s inbox is a personal space. When a customer gives you their email address, you receive something intimate and private of theirs – and so, you must use it appropriately in order to nurture engagement.

You must treat it with respect.

But, what does that mean?

Let’s see.

One thing to bear in mind in email marketing is that engagement equates to inbox delivery. Engagement and deliverability go hand in hand in increasing overall performance in your email marketing program.

And although different ISP’s filter content differently, they all focus primarily on subscriber engagement.

A great strategy to help increase engagement is using email to tell a story instead of just using this channel to drive traffic, convert, sell, or convey a new feature, benefit, or event.

These story-driven emails are what we mean when we say, “treat your customers’ inbox with respect.”

But, there’s more to it. Now, let’s go a little deeper into email engagement-and-deliverability and optimizing-engagement in the inbox using storytelling.

Engagement and Deliverability

For messages to land inside inboxes, you need to have very strong and healthy engagement factors. As we look for healthy engagement, some factors are more important to consider then others – those would be the ones that ISP’s look for when determining how trustworthy a sender you are and how well you know your audience. (yes, how “respectful” are you)

These factors are how they can determine that (a) you know your audience and that (b) you are segmenting subscribers based on factors that show them that you’re aware of how they react to your messages and how likely they are to engage.

These actions can have a very positive lift in engagement, increasing the percentage of your messages landing in your customers’ inboxes.

Here’s a scale for the weight that each of these engagement factors has at the ISPs:

Obviously, clicking an email carries more weight than opening an email – as customers have to open an email first and then click through it.

When a subscriber takes the effort to move a message from their spam folder to their inbox, that takes even more precedence over the first two factors discussed on the scale.

When customers reply to or forward your message – that is considered even more engaging than all factors discussed thus far. So, opening an email is nice, but aim for a subscriber to add your brand as a contact or star your message as a favorite.

Using Email to Tell A Story VS Hard Selling

A good story will connect people. When a story is compelling and well-crafted, it allows your customers to dream and imagine – and more importantly, execute those ideas and make them happen. Research shows that when a person listens to a story, dopamine is released, building memories.

When you think of some of the best, most recognizable, and memorable emails, it’s always the ones that have the most significant emotional impact. Ones that had gathered a crowd around the water cooler on a Monday (when life was normal before COVID-19 – that is.)

For example, an email about a restaurant that’s so powerful – you can actually smell and taste the menu without eating it. One that makes you suddenly feel the need to make an order that very same day. A compelling story in email must do several things to command that type of response:

  • Build trust
  • Be relevant
  • Communicate your goal
  • Be mindful of your goal
  • Utilize an actionable CTA

Additionally, you should always strive to be imaginative. Consider personalized images, animated GIFs, embedded videos, and more to help convey your story. Adding a video to your email can increase engagement as much as 50%!

In Sum

Inbox delivery is imperative for better opens, clicks, and overall better site conversions. So, you must focus on engaging content, engaging your subscribers, and making sure that you’re segmenting customers based on recency and frequency of email engagement (to start with).

Asides from sending concise and targeted messages – look at additional strategies to improve how you can resonate in your subscriber’s inbox. For example, check out the Gmail promo tab and how you can stand out in all the clutter.

Finally, resonate with your subscribers and better influence decision making with powerful storytelling techniques – this really helps to create a relationship with your customers that’s deeply emotional and long-lasting.

Feel free to reach out to Optimove’s Director of Email Marketing, Dana Shirlen, for more information on how to take your email marketing program to the next level.

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