Your friends aren’t raptly reading through your inbox, marveling at your “email feed.” Nobody Likes your electronic bank statement, utility bill notifications, or that email from your boss. They are not reading the best email newsletters that landed in your inbox either. This is a good thing.
Email isn’t social
When I send you an email, it’s for you. This goes without saying for “regular,” personal emails, but the best email newsletters feel the same way. And this sense of receiving a personal, exclusive email is powerful. Your readers feel like they’re in the know — like they’re part of a private club.
The first element of making your reader feel special is permission — this is the cornerstone. No clever email marketing strategy is going to work unless your reader wants to hear from you and is looking forward to what you have to say.
But permission alone isn’t going to cut it. If you broadcast the same information over Facebook, Twitter, and email, you’re wasting email’s potential. You want your emails to provide added value in the form of exclusive content or exclusive opportunities.
Best email newsletters value exclusivity
Author Chris Guillebeau uses email marketing to stay in touch with fans and readers. He recently sent out an email that had incredibly high open rates — way, way over industry averages. How did he do this?
Simple: The email went out to a list of people who were waiting to hear about Chris’s new book. That’s the permission element. But here comes exclusivity: It was a stealth announcement of Chris’s new book, The Happiness of Pursuit. These subscribers were all people who signed up to get an advance copy of the book, and Chris was letting them know their copy had shipped.
The email actually asks readers to keep it a secret — a fantastic use of exclusivity that drives home the fact this is a special group. Chris also shares his future plans for the book, offering another insight into the inner workings of his promotion campaign.
Another example of this same strategy? One of our customers is a niche hardware maker that recently bucked the crowd-funding trend and announced a future, yet-to-be-built product only to its most hardcore fans — its email subscribers. Readers got the opportunity to pre-order the fabulous new product. This one is so secret that we’re not even allowed to reveal the company name, but suffice to say something like this was done, and it worked incredibly well.
What can YOU make exclusive?
Some companies offer incredible discounts and early-bird sales to their newsletter subscribers. Georgette St. Clair, a romance author featured in a previous blog post, offered her new ebook to newsletter subscribers for just a buck. This is incredible value, especially for people who are already fans of Georgette’s work. Think about it: Not only do they get to hear about it first, but they get to buy the book for 66% off. Email-only coupon codes work for this, too.
Other businesses may be able to offer exclusive knowledge or tips over email. And how about advanced (and perhaps discounted) event registration? Before you start telling everyone on Facebook and Twitter about your event or product, let your subscribers know first so they can reserve seats. This is a great way to build loyalty among your readership.