Email is far from dead, according to Rebekah Miel, founder and creative director of Miel Design Studio, a North Carolina-based full-service marketing and design agency. In fact, she says it’s one of the only digital places where you can still own your list and have control of the content. Unlike social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok which can shut down your account and effectively cut access to your audience, an email newsletter allows independent retailers and wholesalers to connect with their customers on their terms.
“I know people feel overwhelmed by email, but if you are offering a benefit to the reader, something that they want to learn about and not just selling them a product, then [email] has proven to be really successful,” Miel says.
Feeding the Content Beast
As in social media, sharing content that is of value to your customers is key to a successful email marketing campaign. That doesn’t mean it needs to be all new all the time. In fact, content can and should be repurposed. If you’re going to invest the time and energy to shoot a video for YouTube, for example, can you take a small slice of that video and post it to Instagram or Facebook? Create a thumbnail to include on your email newsletter directing readers to the full video on YouTube. This way you’re repurposing content that is of value to your audience while providing them with different ways to access it.
Unlike social media where you’re constantly trying to figure out what the algorithm is asking for at that point and you’re spinning your wheels trying to figure out what is going to be promoted, email is simple.
“Create content that people want to read and it’ll get opened,” Miel says.
Finding Content That Engages
If creating an email is easy, finding content that engages with your audience is slightly harder since you need to be attuned to their needs, not yours. Once you crack the code, though, Miel says her clients are shocked at not only how quickly their list grows, but that they’re actually engaging with their customers.
The key is to test and remember email marketing is a long-term strategy. Instead of sending one email to your entire list, split your list in two, create a different subject line for each and see which subject line performs better. Miel has created a series of blog posts and pays attention to which ones users engage with as another approach. Surprisingly, she adds, people love to fill out surveys so use those to get feedback. To get an even better response, she recommends pairing the survey with either a discount or a product for completing the survey. This is a great way for customers to feel like you value their feedback and thoughts while giving you more information about the type of content they want to see more of.
Miel also uses other channels to get information about what content people want in the newsletter. She does AMAs (Ask Me Anything) on Instagram stories for one of her clients. Her client’s customers get information they’re seeking while Miel can spot patterns and trends she can then use to develop content specifically of interest to customers right now.
Meet them Where They’re At
When trying to build your email list, it’s important to remember to meet your customers where they are instead of wasting your time in places they’re not hanging out. Also, don’t overlook daily opportunities.
“I think there are moments of missed opportunity,” Miel says. Think of things like orders and you send an email receipt. You’re already communicating with them using a platform they’re comfortable with, so why not use that opportunity to engage and ask them to subscribe to your newsletter?
You can use the opportunity to recommend other products your customer might be interested in based on their buying habits.
Your social media platforms should include a link to subscribe to your e-newsletter. Print receipts from your shop could include a reminder that you offer a newsletter. Those subtle hints are a great way to connect with customers that feel more natural and authentic and not like a sales ploy.
As the holiday season approaches, take these next couple of months to consider the type of content you want to offer your customers and jot those ideas down. In the next issue, we’ll discuss email newsletter services, what to consider when designing a newsletter and how to make stronger connections with your customers to help increase sales.