Value As An Email Marketing Strategy (The Psychology Of Building Value)


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Providing immediate value as an email strategy determines success or failure in making an impact. Your customers have three considerations when they glance at your email’s headline; their time, talent and treasure.

Value is the very thing that provides readers incentive to open your email immediately.

Our brains are hardwired to react to certain promotions and messages
Our brains are hardwired to react to certain promotions and messages

Your headline must exceed the next best alternative, which is moving on to a topic that is immediately more important to them.

Before creating an email marketing communication, your team must consider what it will need from the customer and what the customer will gain. While it is not always necessary, being prepared to offer an incentive is often the motivation for the reader to act.

Segmentation By Customer Turn-On

What you consider valuable may not be the same for your customers. For example, the Kellogg’s brand cereal I enjoy every morning featured a Family Rewards cruise discount points program on the package. Seeing the potential value of a discounted cruise I went to their website to enroll. When I got to the site I determined that the time it would have taken me to fill out the extensive information requested was not worth my while.

Instill email value based on sales and motivational tools
Instill email value based on sales and motivational tools

I also believed that the discounts offered for a family cruise did not apply to me. Clearly I was not the target market. The Family Rewards theme is indeed a great program for families with children who also benefit from points and discounts across the Kellogg’s family of products.

This example was not email specific, but it illustrates that different segments of consumers may enjoy a product for entirely different reasons. Promotions have to match the targets interests.

I was attracted to the product for the low sugar & sodium and high fiber content. Kids may like it for the brand positioning message and perhaps Mom’s choose it for a combination of my healthy reasons and their kids requesting it.

Potentially I just identified three market segments. Advertising and email marketing strategies would be considerably different for each segment. Copywriting nuances and targeted offers becomes the essence of these varied messages.

Understanding What Customers Value

Value is very different for different products and customer segments. When Apple launches a new product, news of the launch is sent to their exclusive list of fans. The blogosphere lights up across the globe. No discounts or incentives are offered, just an exclusive announcement. Apple values its best customers and that is enough to create a marketing frenzy.

From newsworthy announcements to giving away free samples, here are some common applications to boost email interest, response and social sharing.

Email Marketing Best Practices

Understanding your customer segments, making each customer feel special and personalizing the message is the basis of a successful email marketing strategy.

Sending out the same message merely featuring your product gets stale. Every product or service is different. What works for your audience on a consistent basis may fall flat for a different product. Here are ways to change the nuance of your messages to different segments using information about how we perceive the world.

News Worthy Messages Inspire Us

A few years ago In-N-Out Burger announced they would be opening the popular California based franchise in my western, not-in-California city. Many relocated Californians who grew up with the brand inhabit the area.

On opening day people waited on line for hours to get a taste of a product that brought back fond memories, and has a unique flavor. Although they have been open for years, their mystique keeps customers lined-up day and night.

Neuromarketing indicates our brains are hardwired to be in a group
Neuromarketing indicates our brains are hardwired to be in a group

The same phenomenon holds true when Apple introduces a new product or Star Wars launches a new episode.

The concept called neuromarketing is at play in these examples. Our brains are hardwired to be in one or more groups. In these three examples customers have been conditioned to identify with the product. News of a new location, product or installment is enough to activate the same part of the brain that inspires a religious congregation or a political party.

If your customers are made to feel they are part of an exclusive group, movement or community, a simple announcement email will motivate action.

Generally this type of fan base occurs organically, over time. A long-term strategy involving your customers as part of your team, culture or social circle begins to create the fierce loyalty these examples invoke. A step-by-step email communication strategy may build the same type of fan base if it is done with integrity and the customer’s wants in mind.

Free Stuff Creates A Frenzy

Product sampling to the right audience is a great way to introduce a new or improved product. Dan Ariely, a Duke University scientist, recent study shows how a preference for “free” seems to be another feature hardwired into our brains.

Our hunter-gatherer brains can not resist low-hanging fruit. Even if our cave dwelling ancestors were totally engorged with food and with an additional stockpile of food in their cave, they still  would pick a low hanging apple and figure out what to do with it later.

Grabbing a FREE sample offer is in our DNA, we can not resist!
Grabbing a FREE sample offer is in our DNA, we can not resist!

The lesson in his study is that marketers need to highly segment their giveaway offers to make sure people aren’t latching onto their primitive instinct and grabbing a product they will never use or buy.

The best way to build a relationship is to make you and your customer mutual partners. I participated in a seminar about a psychological profile process I use as a business strategy consultant. The course developer instituted a survey about the best ways to sell the service. Participants were all promised a free copy of the results.

Not only did I participate, I anxiously awaited the results and used them to increase my sales of his product. He also broke down the results into a series of email communications with further clarification that I studied to improve my sales techniques.

When people invest their time and talent into a process, the free reward they receive isn’t really free, and the importance of it is increased.

Can you have prospects invest their time and/or talent into a survey, a taste-test or other process to increase buy-in. When offering a sample through an email, the easier it is to participate and/or receive the free product the more success you will have.

Limited Time, Quantities, Pricing

I remember the time when our kids were young that select Disney movies would be available for a limited time, as they were being put back into the preverbal vault.

We all knew it was all a marketing ploy to create scarcity. However, children only care about the content for a few years, and nobody I knew wanted to be the parent that deprived their child of a Disney classic. Sales soared!

When Nabisco dropped a regional brand they learned that they were eliminating a heritage
When Nabisco dropped a regional brand they learned that they were eliminating a heritage

A famous story of Nabisco’s discontinuance of the Crown Pilot cracker combined a raving fan base with a scarcity element. Sales of the product were decreasing, so Nabisco just stopped producing the product. Little did they understand that the cracker was more than just a food, it was part of New England heritage.

After an uproar by fans across the country the product was re-launched and the hype instituted by raving fans created increased awareness and new segments of consumers, who enjoy the crackers in many different ways. Just imagine the amount of fascinating email topics that this battle cry can produce.

If you are truly phasing out a product, changing it, or only making it available for a limited time, the scarcity mentality that makes us want it more, makes for a great headline.

Create Value Based Tools To Stimulate Customers

Basic human nature makes us want to be part of a social structure that has unique privileges and an abundance of things that we fear we can’t  do without.

Starbucks is masterful at launching limited time seasonal specials
Starbucks is masterful at launching limited time seasonal specials

When creating offers, dig deeper into what stimulates your customers to love how your product or service makes them feel when seeking your emails value based headline. Many email marketing services permit you to create a drip campaign, so that you can incorporate these different techniques.

In your annual strategy sessions introduce some of these email marketing best practices to get into the head of your customer segments and get more share of wallet for your product or service.




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