It's easy to bore your customers to death with email. Just send them the same type of message repeatedly, and you'll succeed.

We email marketers are often guilty of sending e-newsletters—and little (or nothing) else. And though a newsletter absolutely has a place as a staple in your email marketing program, it should be far from the only type of message you send your customers on a regular basis.

After your email newsletter (which can be issued weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on how much content and activity you have), I recommend weaving these message types into your email marketing stream at regular intervals throughout the year:

  • Announcement, alerts, and reminders
  • Helpful educational content
  • Triggered up-sell and down-sell offers

1. Announcements, Alerts, and Reminders

Every event, product launch, sale, or new venture you conduct should have email associated with it. Anything with a looming date—especially an event—deserves registration or deadline reminders. Don't be shy about frequency. Most marketers are actually not sending enough of these types of messages.

Enlightened e-marketing tip: The perennial wisdom, "Tell them it's coming, tell them what it is, then tell them again," applies here. So, for each significant launch, event, or offer, plan a three-part series that (a) gives your audience a heads-up as to when your initiative will "go live," (b) tells them when it's official, and (c) reminds them before it's over or expires.

2. Helpful, Educational Content

This type of email message is probably the most underused by all marketers, save independent professionals (e.g., accountants, attorneys, doctors, consultants, authors, and speakers). Don't be the friend who calls only when he needs something—that is, the company that sends email only when it needs sales.

Though sales and buy messages might dominate the email program calendar for retailers, you'll develop greater customer loyalty and engagement when you weave content emails in between them.

Remember, selling by way of serving first is "in" and it's paying big dividends because it builds trust—trust you want in place before you make an offer.

Enlightened e-marketing tip: Email messages that promote your content will direct customers to new blog posts, articles, whitepapers, videos, presentations, free webinars, or all of the above. Those messages are an intentional traffic-driver under your control.

Plus, content email gives you opportunities to educate customers about your products before and after the sale, increasing customer satisfaction and repeat sales.

3. Triggered Up-sell and Down-sell Offers

This type of marketing message is a bit more sophisticated, but it's easy to automate in most email systems.

You'll need to first develop a progression path for customers after they make a purchase. Remember, people are most receptive to buying from you when they've already done so. So don't miss the chance to use triggered email to make up-sell offers after purchase (or free trial).

For those who don't convert on the up-sell offer, especially after a free trial, proceed to a down-sell offer (usually a lower-priced, lower commitment than the up-sell or original purchase).

Enlightened e-marketing tip: Every product or service should have a natural follow-on product or service you offer next. For a quick refresher and examples of automated messages that fit this category, visit this post on triggered email.

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Integrating these message types into your email marketing will give your program depth, diversity, frequency, and a refreshing, unpredictable cadence that emphasizes relevancy, service, and trust. And don't your customers deserve that?

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Three Email Message Types You Can't Afford to Ignore

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image of Karen Talavera

Karen Talavera is the founder of Synchronicity Marketing, a company specializing in digital marketing training, coaching, and education.