Fresh Ink

May 17, 2015
Author: Christina Hagopian

How is Responsive Email Like NYC Dating?

Responsive Email builds strong retail/customer relationships

Hagopian Ink office view, West New York

Just like New York City dating, your customers have countless options and few reasons to commit. With their inboxes flooded with prospects, you have to be a Don Juan of marketing to break through and keep their attention. Responsive design is the Tinder of email. You must be ever present in front of your customers on any device, at any hour, or they are on to the next hot thing. So focus on building lasting relationships with your retail customer base, who are glued to their mobile devices, via responsive email and you’ll never lose them to another suitor.

No Second Chances for a First Impression
Welcome emails have some of the highest open rates of any a marketer will send simply because it marks the beginning of a relationship. It’s your first date cocktail and you better look and sound attractive enough to continue on to dinner. Introduce your subscriber to your company newsletter as a complete branded experience.

Don’t wait to thank them for their interest. Send a welcome email quickly after signup, create excitement, invoke your core values and immediately remind them of the benefits of continuing your connection. Design responsively to scale on any device so your message is received within minutes, no matter where they are.

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Example: Sesame Street Go sends welcome emails for desktop, tablet and mobile scales for each device and reminds parents that they made a great choice by investing in the education of their child. Calls to action prompt use of their mobile application, thus promoting key features.

Charm and Woo
Nothing is worse than having a great first date and then sitting through an exhausting second encounter with a companion who talks endlessly, never asking a single question about you or your interests. A marketing email conversation is similar. You must create relevant content and segment your list to engage your audience and inspire clicks with what THEY are interested in. Ask and listen. Invite your customers to complete an account profile and preferences to deepen and personalize your communications. Email design is like a mirror of your brand so use it to present your best possible self and show that you recognize each customer is a unique individual.

For instance, Williams Sonoma does a good job. When I click on a product from their email newsletters, they track my interest. My click to a Vitamix prompted follow-up emails with additional savings rebates for the product a week later. I also received email reminders if I left an item in my shopping cart without purchasing. Some might find this invasive, but the numbers are clear – abandoned cart emails increase conversions and you are foolish not to at least attempt reaching an interested customer.

Entry into an Exclusive Club
Is your date waiting outside for you on line or are they on the special guest list jumping the velvet rope to meet you in the VIP lounge? A key element in designing email for retail is creating a sense of exclusivity and ensuring your audience is certain they are the FIRST to know about all important announcements, sales and new products. You must add value and provide a reason to continue to subscribe.

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Example: Quench PepsiCo newsletter for desktop, tablet and mobile devices offers exclusive contests, chances to win, news and deals, but only to subscribers. Even when you forward an email to a friend, they must be a subscriber to be eligible to win and access content.

The Whole Package
You are more than just a pretty face – you are interesting, smart and have aspirations. You are a brand with a story that once shared, will create an enduring connection, build trust and inspire loyalty forever. Like the adoring husband, your subscribers will continue to hang onto your every word and look forward to each new message. It is your job to unveil your real identity, so be true to yourself and create a lasting bond. Create an email content calendar that paces, educates and attracts subscribers into your world. Share relevant press, best-selling products, tips and secrets. Invite fans into your social circle. Contact frequently, but do not bombard – just enough to keep them wanting more.

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Example: Responsive designs for celebrity jeweler Melissa Kaye. Their content calendar includes best-selling products, celebrity followers, designer interviews, press features and more. Each email is carefully crafted to unveil a brand story, sure to inspire intrigue and product interest.

Your email marketing program is an ongoing dialogue and a mutual relationship. To ensure immediate attention and lasting value, connect on every platform and device with responsive design. Never take your audience for granted and provide personalized, relevant content. Without a genuine interest in THEM, they will unsubscribe faster than you can hail a taxi home.

Cover Story originally published 5/15/15 on HR.com