We are inundated daily with email. Some is spam, some are newsletters, some are from our friends, family, LinkedIn and alumni groups, some are store specials, yada yada. We tend to tune email marketing out and just scan message subject lines to see if it’s worth the 2.5 seconds to open an email. We have seen this phenomenon across the board – email open rates have declined dramatically over the years. For example, in 2004, the average open rate was 40% for a single campaign, whereas Mailer Mailer estimated the open rate for 2nd half 2010 was 11.4%. So your subject line really really matters, otherwise it won’t even get opened.
A month ago, my hair stylist left the salon a couple days before my appointment. I couldn’t get in to see the trusted owner, so I just made do elsewhere. Something in their system was triggered when I didn’t return within 10 weeks that prompted an email to me with the subject line “We miss you!” and included a coupon to return. I was so impressed that they realized it that quickly and offered an incentive to return, to prevent loyalty from building with another salon. I didn’t really mind that it was automated; it was smart and efficient.
Yesterday was my birthday and I was very surprised to get a few emails from local businesses wishing me happy birthday. Well of COURSE I’m going to open those! Some offered a free giveaway, some didn’t, but I was impressed that the small local businesses like dance and yoga studios put an effort towards making their customers feel special. I have also received “anniversary” emails as well related to join dates.
It’s even nice when businesses send messages via Facebook (aka birthday central) or even better, Twitter (an almost anonymous community where no one knows your birthday). Of course, to be able to do that, you need to collect that data upon registration or email opt-in. So go on, connect with your customers. Even if it is automated email campaigns.