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Benchmark Email Bulletin - Volume 22
Complaint corner: 6 ways to cut back on customer gripes
If you've been in business for any span of time, you know quite well that you can't please every single customer. But that doesn't mean you're helpless to head off complaints at the pass, especially when they're tied in to your email marketing campaigns. Here are six tried-and-true ways to cut back on gripes from your email marketing subscribers:
Even though you provide your customers with an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email, there will still be ones that don't follow protocol. Some people may just reply with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line or body of the email, but it's not entirely uncommon for a customer to write a paragraph or two on how they adore your business, burying their request to be taken off your list. Staying on top of your unbsubcribes is one of the best ways to head off abuse complaints. Each time you send out an email marketing campaign to your customers and a customer responds, make it a priority to read each one and see if your customer wants off your list.
The most successful email marketing campaigns rely on Opt-In, which means only emailing customers who have asked to receive your newsletters. However, there's an even better method than Opt-in: Closed Loop Opt-In. With Closed Loop Opt-In, you not only get permission via a Website sign up or other method, but you send an additional email asking customers to click on an embedded subscriber link to confirm their interest. Closed Loop Opt-In may not eliminate all complaints, but it serves as a great reminder to customers who aren't sure whether they subscribed to your email list or not. Not only that, it gives you solid evidence that the person who signed up for your email is exactly who they say they are.
It's certainly tempting to send multiple emails under the assumption that your customers won't notice, but while most of them may not, it only takes one or two to catch on, file an abuse complaint and ruin your email marketing reputation. That's why we recommend that you stand firm and keep your promise on how often you'll email your recipients. Even if you remain vague about how many times you'll email your customers when they subscribe, we recommend emailing them no more than once every four days. Anything else is considered overkill.
It's a great strategy to put a note at the top of every email telling your customers why you're emailing them. This short message may say something like "you're receiving this email because you signed up at the Website www.benchmarkemail.com". This little reminder lets customers know - time and again - where they signed up and why they're on your list. This is especially helpful with customers who tend to forget which email lists they've signed up for: it erases all ambiguity and stops complaints before they happen.
The ongoing controversy with email marketing today is customers can't always tell the difference between spam emails and totally legitimate ones. There's a reason for this: spammers have tried - and sometimes succeeded - in mimicking legitimate emails. Although the vast majority of spam emails tend to look a little less than professional, the line can be blurred even more if your email template is not the best it can be. Take the time and effort to craft a clean, professional-looking layout. Benchmark has almost 200 email templates at your disposal, but if you'd like something more personalized, we can also create a professional, customized template for just $299.
Adding links to your emails is a great way to show that your campaigns are Opt-In. The reason? If customers click on those links, it validates your campaign as one that is only sent to customers that gave you permission. Email blasts, for instance, often feature links, but the recipients do not click on them. With Benchmark, we can track clickthroughs of the links in your campaigns. The end result is that if customers click on the links in your email, you're establishing that you follow good email practices, which will improve your delivery to the next campaign you send to that email list. We recommend adding at least 10 links to your email marketing campaigns to maximize this result.
When it comes to sending out email marketing campaigns, it's a numbers game. The more you send, the bigger chance you'll get a complaint. But if you follow the suggestions above, there's a good chance that -- at the very least -- your customers will simply unsubscribe rather than hit the oh-so-devastating spam button.
For more info, please contact Jennifer Perez, Benchmark's PR and marketing director, at jennifer@bmesrv.com.
Take care of every unsubscribe - even ones that don't follow format
Always ask for permission to email customers - preferably twice
Don't over-email your recipients
Let customers know how they ended up on your email list
Make sure your layout looks professional
Add more links to your emails