Email marketing serves a number of purposes, integrating multiple separate marketing channels and funneling your audience into one place. However, most email marketers end up narrowing their focus to only one email marketing goal: click-throughs. It’s certainly important to optimize your emails for click-throughs, as more traffic to your site usually translates directly to more revenue.
However, there’s another dimension of email marketing strategy that could lead to an even longer-term return on your investment: brand loyalty. This is how you can generate repeat business on a consistent basis. If you can facilitate greater brand loyalty through your content marketing campaign, you’ll generate customers who are willing to buy from you over and over again—and not from your competitors.
Using Email Marketing to Create Brand Loyalty
Here are seven strategies to help you do it:
1. Important updates and reminders. Your first job is to use your email strategy as a way to keep your customers informed, with important updates and reminders. For example, if your company is planning to have a major sale in the coming months, you can announce it to your email subscribers first, giving them a sense of exclusivity, and then send them periodic reminders as the date gets closer so they can adequately prepare. This helps your brand stay top-of-mind with your subscribers, and demonstrates value to them. Just make sure what you’re announcing has some real value to your subscribers or you’ll end up annoying them.
2. Free gifts. Offering a free gift is a common tactic used to attract people to subscribe to your email newsletter in the first place; it’s an exchange of value that prompts them to hand over their personal information. This is good for attracting initial subscribers, but it won’t prevent them from unsubscribing if their only interest was getting the free gift. If you want to show them recurring value, and keep them subscribing for the long term, consider offering them free gifts periodically, reminding them why they’re subscribed to you in the first place. These don’t have to be expensive; in fact, you could even stage a free gift as a giveaway for similar results.
3. Discounts and special offers. It’s also a good idea to offer discounts and special, email-exclusive offers to your subscribers. For example, you might give your email subscribers early access to one of your upcoming sales, or you might distribute a coupon code to only your email subscribers; this gives them a feeling of value and of exclusivity, bonding them more deeply to your brand. You could even encourage them to share these special offers; the feeling of exclusivity will remain, they’ll get to show off their rewards, and you’ll probably get some new subscribers out of the deal, too.
4. Circulated content. One of your greatest tools for encouraging brand loyalty is your ongoing content marketing campaign; By providing value and answers to real questions, anyone familiar with your brand will be more likely to stick around in the future. Email is a perfect tool to enhance the effectiveness of this campaign; for example, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your most recent content, pick out some top performers, and promote them via email blast to get even more recognition for them. Your subscribers will enjoy having the top-tier content delivered straight to their inboxes.
5. Email-exclusive content. You can go another route in the content marketing frame by offering email-exclusive content. This content is only distributed to your email subscribers—at least at first. For example, you might give them early access to download an eBook you’ve written, several weeks before it’s available to the general public. You could also distribute smaller pieces of content, such as fact sheets or digestible “quick guides” that have some kind of practical value for your readers. The key is to give them something valuable that nobody else is getting.
6. Participation bonuses. You can also give your users opportunities to engage with your brand—and rewards for doing so. For example, you could host a competition that encourage your users to write testimonials for your products or your brand in general, and enter participants in a giveaway for a hot item. Alternatively, you could ask for feedback in the form of a survey or user comments, and personally thank or reward anyone who participates. When users engage with your brand, in any way, they’ll feel closer to it, and they’ll be less likely to go to a competitor in the future.
7. Social integrations. Though somewhat simple, you can also encourage more brand loyalty by integrating your social media platforms with your email marketing strategy. This mode of cross-pollination encourage some of your already-loyal social media followers to subscribe to your email list, and encourages some of your interested email subscribers to get more involved on the social media front. Either way, you’ll be encouraging more user participation with and exposure to your brand, which will foster a stronger sense of cumulative loyalty over time.
Note that the effectiveness of these seven strategies will depend on the nature of your business and the type of users you’re trying to target; they won’t work equally well for every business. Take some time to develop your other marketing strategies in unison with your email campaign, and sort out the tactics you think are most effective. If you’re in doubt, simply try them and see what happens; your results will indicate whether your chosen tactic was a success.
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