4 Ways to Make Customers Crave Your Emails

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treat cupcake bar case study ft image

Imagine creating emails as satisfying as freshly-baked cupcakes.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Your readers would bite hungrily into your content. And wait impatiently until the next time you hit send.

Could an email ever be that good?

For Sarah Waters, brand director of Treat Cupcake Bar, email marketing is one of the most effective ways to pique her customers’ appetite and get them to shop with her.

“We’re the kind of store where people may only come in every other month, so we really need to be able to reach people through email,” says Sarah. “Email has definitely helped increase our online orders. People being able to click-through and shop online has been huge.”

How does Sarah do it? Here are the four ingredients of crave-worthy emails:

1. Start with an enticing sign-up experience

Since signing up for email marketing five years ago, Sarah has grown her email list to over 1,800 contacts. She collects contact information both online and in-store to reach her audience at multiple touchpoints.

Her mailing list sign-up form is visible on every page of her website — not just the homepage. She also uses the Join My Mailing List app to make sign-up easy for anyone who visits her Facebook Page.

Here’s how the Join My Mailing List feature appears on her Facebook Page:

treat cupcake join my mailing list

In-store, Sarah offers a small incentive to entice people to sign up.

Recommended for YouWebcast: Sales and Marketing Alignment: 7 Steps To Implement Effective Sales Enablement

“We have bowls in both our stores that ask people to ‘Sign up for the Friends of Treat Mailing List’,” she says. “When they sign up, they’re also entered into a monthly raffle to win a dozen cupcakes. “

Tip: Are you doing everything you can to grow your email list? Here are 50 ideas you can try out!

2. Only send valuable information

With a growing list of subscribers, Sarah is sure to make every email count. Her emails include information on upcoming sales, details of store events, and creative solutions.

“We never want to put together a newsletter that feels like there’s no reason for it,” she says. “We always want to feel like we’re informing them of something new. We don’t want anyone to ever feel like we’re sending them junk or something they already know.”

Sarah emphasizes that her emails aren’t always promotional. Her advice for stand-out marketing is to simply understand your customers and what interests to them.

“You don’t have to always send out sales,” Sarah explains. “If you send out a creative recommendation (like a cupcake centerpiece) or unique gift idea that can be a breath of fresh air among all the special offers. We try to solve a problem for them or offer some inspiration.”

Here’s an email Sarah sent out to remind customers about Treat’s gluten free options:

constant contact customer treat cupcakes 1

Tip: Use these 30 email ideas when you’re not sure what to send.

3. Be timely

Timing is a huge part of Sarah’s email marketing strategy. When deciding what to send, she thinks about what holidays are coming up, and how Treat Cupcake Bar can fit in with her customers’ plans.

“I try to allot one day a month where I can think about what my game plan is going to be,” Sarah explains. “I plan things around the holidays — for example, I know around October and November I’ll need to send emails about Halloween and Thanksgiving.”

Working around holidays means Sarah’s messages are always timely and she is able to plan things out ahead of time.

“My advice is to write down your game plan ahead of time,” she says. “It saves me a lot of time to have a schedule with what kind of content I want to send out. And then it’s just sticking to that schedule the best you can.”

Sarah sent this email to promote custom orders for Thanksgiving:

constant contact customer treat cupcakes 2

4. Keep emails short and sweet

A recent Constant Contact survey found that emails with approximately 20 lines of text and three or fewer images resulted in the highest click-through rate.

For Sarah, using a mobile-friendly email template allows her to create short and focused messages that are fast to create and easy to read.

“I want my emails to be clean. And I want, from the moment that someone opens it, for them to be able to see the purpose without scrolling down,” Sarah says. “I’ll add a cute, whimsical header, a big picture of something that makes them hungry, and just a line or two about what the email is about.”

Sarah makes sure the main picture links back to her website and she always includes contact information and buttons to her social media channels.

The example below includes an engaging header, an image and short description, and a call to action to order online:

constant contact customer treat cupcakes 3

Make your readers hungry for your next email!

Using Sarah’s tips you can create emails your subscribers are excited to consume.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew — choose one of these four tips where you think you can make the biggest improvement. Even small improvements can make a big difference and go a long way in building loyalty with new and existing customers.

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Beyond Friday beer pong: What perks do employees crave?

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Lots of companies are proud of their culture.

They talk about perks like “beer Fridays” and company events that get everyone together for fun and camaraderie. From the outside, these perks can seem like great ways to keep team members happy and make your company a fun place to work.

In many cases, this does have the desired effect. There are plenty of companies that use food, events and other structured perks to create a great company culture.

Too often, however, I see these things overshadow the perks that team members actually want, and, in some cases, such imposed happenings can damage your company culture.

Structured events and pressure to conform to cultural expectations can undermine the intended effect. Too often organizations take a “top down” cultural approach rather than a “grass roots” approach. I can’t really blame them. After all, how many times have we been told that we have to overtly create a company culture? (Hint: a lot.)

To a lot of employees a top-down cultural approach seems forced. Not everyone loves to go to baseball games or drink beer on Fridays or play pingpong. Some people love those things, of course. However, when they are rammed into the company culture in a way that pressures people into participating it can be detrimental to their happiness.

Too many organizations make employees work long hours and then try to make up for it with mandatory “fun” events and outings or happy hours. That doesn’t make up for the overwork. All it does is keep employees away from their families and friends for that much longer.

So, what do employees actually want? What truly makes them happy with their jobs?

Sincere respect

One hugely important “perk” you can give team members is respect. Respect means conducting regular performance reviews, asking them what they think and listening to their ideas.

It seems super basic, but many CEOs (including me sometimes) fall short in this area. They charge full steam ahead with their ideas and plans, forgetting to involve their team members in decisions.

Though I’m not perfect, I try to think about how every decision I make will affect my team. I ask them for opinions. I listen to what they think. Team members value feeling respected a lot more than they value free beer.

Freedom

This one makes most CEOs’ heads explode. The best perk you can offer your team is freedom. That means opting not to impose a work schedule on them, letting them work wherever they want and throwing PTO limits out the window in favor of letting them use their own judgment about time off.

Most companies require people to work in the office during business hours, and they track time off against a bank of PTO hours.

Just recently I heard that someone had asked his boss whether he could leave at 4:30 p.m. one day a week to attend a church-related function; his boss said “no.”

Unfortunately, that is the norm, and it makes my heart sink.

If your team members are getting their work done and meeting their goals, it doesn’t matter when they work, nor where. If they are keeping your customers happy, it doesn’t matter how much time off they take.

Many people have a hard time wrapping their heads around how this can work, but we’ve been doing it at SpinWeb for years. If you tell your team members when and where to work, you are failing to acknowledge that they are responsible adults with common sense.

Learn the dos and don’ts of reaching millennial employees face to face and via email, video, your intranet and chat/text in this free guide.

If you trust your employees to make good decisions that keep the company’s best interests in mind, you won’t have to worry about schedules and PTO. Your team members will manage themselves. And if you don’t trust them with this kind of responsibility, then they probably should not be working for you.

Employees value freedom, trust and being treated like adults more than just about any other cultural perk you can think of.

Supporting their priorities

Your team members need to know that you understand and share their priorities. Most people want more time with their families.

If your culture relies on happy hours and outside work events, you may be in conflict with what your team members really want. They want to go to their kids’ basketball games. They want to run personal errands during the day (see previous section: “Freedom”). They want to take their kids to the doctor without having to ask permission and feel guilty about it. They want to take a reasonable amount of time off when a baby arrives.

It’s OK to expect that team members are loyal, work hard and make the company’s success a priority, but it’s also important to know where to draw the line.

Your employees have priorities just as you do, and their families come first—as it should be. One primo “perk” you can give them is demonstrating that you support their priorities. Asking them to put the company first (even inadvertently) is unrealistic and disrespectful.

Empowering a grassroots culture

If you focus on the things that team members truly value, you won’t have to worry about “creating” a great culture from the top down. Your team will cultivate your company culture.

When team members feel respected, have complete freedom to work the way they want to work and feel that the company shares their personal priorities, they will flourish in ways you never would have thought possible. They will innovate and produce like never before.

Let go of the top-down culture mentality, and focus instead on creating an environment in which your team feels safe developing their own culture together. That is the path to true employee happiness and loyalty.

Michael Reynolds is president and CEO of SpinWeb. This article originally appeared on the Michael Reynolds blog.
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