This is a guest post by Jesse Langley from TechNected.com.
Along with other social tools, every blog in existence has an email sign-up. Signing up for an email is a sign of faith in the blog from the visitor. They’re putting their faith in you to give them interesting, relevant content.
Like any social contract, though, there are consequences if you break that trust: the dreaded unsubscribe button.
If readers unsubscribe, you can pretty much guarantee they won’t be coming back to your blog. Most people passively cut through their email content. Once they’re annoyed enough with you to actually go through the process of unsubscribing, they’re annoyed enough to stop visiting your site. Email marketing is only as valuable as its content.
The worst thing you can do is tell your readers every single time a post goes up. The truth is, they may love your site, but no one but your mother cares that much about your site. The trick, then, is to find a balance between overwhelming your readers and not communicating with them at all.
If you’re using email in a way that engages and draws your readers in, though, you’re going to see a sharp uptick in readers and in your traffic statistics.
For marketers, this principle is simple. If they have a coupon or a sale notification, most readers will appreciate an email from them. If they don’t, consumers don’t want to hear from them. Blog owners have a different line to walk, though.
Instead of notifying readers every time a great post goes up, notify them at the beginning of a series so they can catch the whole thing. You shouldn’t send more than two emails a week as a blog owner, unless you’re advertising giveaways and promotions.
Another great place to notify your blog readers is around the holidays. If you feature crafts, obviously you can get pretty good mileage out of telling people they can learn how to do Halloween makeup or Christmas cards. If your blog is more business oriented, you can talk about holiday sales and tell readers how to leverage them either from the business or the personal side.
Receiving an email with a holiday notification gives the reader the sense that they’re getting information that’s relevant to them because of the timing. They’ll be able to use your post quickly, and it should ideally prepare them for something coming up.
Ask for a birthday when people sign up for your email newsletters, and reach out to them to tell them how much you appreciate them throughout the year. Larger sites should consider having a designer create an embeddable JPG or PDF that can be personalized and sent along for birthdays. Of course, a personal note from a site owner to a faithful reader can go a long way as well.
If someone spends a long time commenting on your blog, consider both answering them on the blog and sending a note thanking them for their interaction via email. The time spent creating relationships won’t be wasted.
Seth Godin’s book about permission-based marketing came out more than 10 years ago, but it’s still incredibly relevant today, as marketers find new ways to reach consumers. A company may think that sending out SMS text alerts would be helpful to consumers who provided their phone number on an email form, but chances are good that’s not what the consumer wanted at all.
Consumers are naturally a little sensitive when it comes to businesses reaching out to them. They want it to be on their terms, the ones they agreed to when they originally subscribed. Take that out of its context, and you’re going to be left with a lot of unhappy customers.
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