What Do Subscribers Expect from You?

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By Justin Premick Consistency is something that we all lean on, from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep. When my alarm clo...

By Justin Premick


Consistency is something that we all lean on, from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep. When my alarm clock goes off, I hit the snooze button and it consistently reminds me to get up exactly 10 minutes later. I turn the left-hand knob on my shower, and hot water comes out of the faucet.

If my alarm doesn’t go off again after I hit the snooze button or if my faucet won’t give me hot water, it throws me off. It doesn’t necessarily ruin my day, of course, but it does remind me how reliant we are on routine and how disruptions in that routine aren’t usually welcome.
And just what does this have to do with your email marketing campaigns?
You’ve done a great job getting subscribers to your site, generating signups to your list and putting great content in your newsletters, but maybe your open rates aren’t where you’d like, or you’re seeing an increase in your unsubscribe rate.
You’ve looked at your messages, and you’re still providing the great content in the messages that you always have. So why isn’t the response where it should be?
Maybe you’re not making yourself part of your subscribers’ routine.
There are several things you can do to build consistency into your newsletters, and in doing so, build your subscribers’ expectations and get them into the habit of anticipating, opening and reading your newsletter:

Format Your From Line and Subject Lines Consistently

Once subscribers have gotten your initial message and the first issue or two of your newsletter, they form an expectation of what your messages look like in their inbox. Future messages that follow this format are more likely to stand out when they scan the dozens or hundreds of messages in their inbox.
The best way to build in consistency is by sending each message with the same from line. This, along with the subject line, is the first thing subscribers see.
You can build consistency into the subject line itself, too, but don’t make it boring… after all, you want people to get excited about what’s in the email!
Many email marketers develop a “voice” that shines through in their subject lines and makes them different and compelling, yet unmistakably “theirs.” Others use tags such as [Justin’s Totally Sweet Newsletter] and place those at the end of their subject lines.

Brand Your Messages, At The Top

Whether you use a logo, your company name, your website URL, or your own name as your brand, get it in front of your subscribers, at the beginning of your message!
Example:


Justin’s Totally Sweet Marketing Newsletter:
What Do Your Subscribers Expect From You?
http://www.example.com/issue15.html
August 1st, 2006

You’ll notice that I put a URL in the headline. As Marc noted in an earlier post, you can put online versions of your newsletter issues on your site, and give links to those online versions in your messages.
This is a great idea because it can drive subscribers back to your site, where they may sign up for another one of your newsletters, purchase one of your products, or click on an AdSense ad on your site – and there’s certainly nothing bad about them doing any of that!

Format Your Message Body Consistently

Now that you’ve gotten your subscribers to open your messages through consistent subjects and message beginnings, you’ll want to provide readers with a consistent format.
Readers scan email for the information they deem relevant. When your subscribers are familiar with the format of your messages, they’re better able to scan your mailings and find the information they want.
If they’re not able to find the information they want easily, they’re less likely to read future issues and more likely to unsubscribe.

Stick To Your Schedule

Build expectations for when your messages will arrive. If you’re offering subscribers a weekly newsletter, send it weekly.
By doing this you will be building anticipation that will foster relationships and lifetime readers.
Consistency with your newsletter can make you as much a part of your subscribers’ routine as my snooze button is a part of mine.

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