After surviving the competitive holiday season, many marketers could use a break. Unfortunately, new challenges come with the turn of the calendar page.
Many people feel compelled to clean hypothetical house at the start of each new year—purging clutter, conquering unhealthy habits, and opting out of emails from the brands that crammed their inboxes in December.
So, how can modern marketers deal with this detox mode—and make sure their messages aren't lost in the New Year's clean sweep?
Here are three simple steps to connect with post-holiday email fatigued subscribers.
1. Show subscribers you've got more to offer than deals and discounts
If I'm paring down my subscription list after a major purchase or buying season, the brands that offer me valuable content along with their offers are much more likely to make the cut.
In the wake of the holiday crunch, most consumers are less interested in "save big, limited time, act now" messages. They may not need anything from you right now—but they're still looking for content that offers relevant and sharable industry insight, inspires positive change, and builds continued trust in your relationship.
That kind of content shows subscribers you value them even when they're not in active purchase mode—and goes a long way toward encouraging retention.
The beginning of the year is the time to show your brand's worth as a long-term investment. Share evergreen tips and advice that are related to—but not all about—your product or service. Offer a free e-book or whitepaper sharing projections or trends to watch during the year.
It's a great time of year to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry or mindspace, and the best way to accomplish that goal is to regularly share relevant content that makes your subscribers click—and then makes them think.
2. Offer a steady stream of customized content through an automated series
Yes, I know: It seems counterintuitive to create a series targeted to email-fatigued subscribers. But hear me out.
When strategically planned and properly timed, an automated series establishes your depth of expertise and shows consumers you have valuable information to share—and that you know how to break that content down into bite-sized nuggets that won't tax their attention, their schedule, or their inbox storage capacity.
First, select an umbrella topic relevant to your recipients' business objectives. You can probably look to your own first quarter plan for great ideas on content that will resonate with your audiences: Think "organization" and "optimization" to start. Those concepts are practically universal this time of year.
Once you know what you want to say, create a schedule and a mini-messaging plan for this push. For example, you might send 4-6 messages every few days. Or, consider offering subscribers a weekly "Top Five Tips for the Year" countdown.
The goal is to create meaningful, periodic touchpoints over the course of a few weeks to remind your subscribers that you're a valuable resource year-round—not just during the holidays.
3. Give customers the option to connect a little less frequently (You know, if that's what they really want)
We get it. Seasons change. After the holidays, many subscribers don't want to sever the relationship with your brand, but they definitely want to hear from you a little less often. The customer who wanted your sales emails twice a day in December may feel harassed by that level of contact now.
However, with some savvy handling, you can maintain the contact by simply scaling back your contact strategy.
Consider offering a way for readers to manage their subscription preferences. An "all or nothing" model can alienate consumers who want to hear from you only on their schedule. Instead, build some flexibility into your subscriber services and allow customers to deal with their email fatigue by reducing contact rather than eliminating it completely.
Make it easy to "turn down" the conversation volume—but continue to share valuable content on a schedule that appeals to each user.
With that said, remember: The average email list churns by about 30% every year. If a few subscribers decide to opt out of your list, it's OK—because new subscribers are everywhere!
Put equal emphasis on finding new contacts and retaining the ones you already have, and you'll be well positioned for success in 2015.
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