4 Types of Emails to Boost Your Customer Engagement

Photo credit: Dell Photos

With increased email volume all around and holiday email volume reaching an all-time high, it’s even more challenging to get people to open your latest email that screams 30% OFF TODAY ONLY!

The modern consumer often wants a reason to connect with you brand that goes beyond new product announcements and promotional emails. Engaging customers via email means providing customers with useful information, giving customers a voice, and making your approach a two-way conversation.

Here are a few types of emails that you can use to boost your customer engagement.

Review Requests

Every time I buy something at Amazon, Sephora, or App Sumo, I get an email encouraging me to review my purchase a few days later.

Reviews are especially important to e-commerce sites because they provide user generated content that is product-specific and can be a valuable element of e-commerce SEO.

User reviews also provide important social proof. According to Google’s Zero Moment of Truth, 70% of American consumers say they look at reviews before taking the next step to conversion.

Make it easy for customers to leave a quick review with stars (or tacos if you’re App Sumo) and prompt them to add longer comments with original text.

Check out one of the App Sumo review emails
App Sumo Review Email
Trending Content

I absolutely love getting the Quora Weekly Digest emails. Their emails are a perfect study of how to target user interests and deliver engaging content via email.

My weekly Quora emails usually highlight topics around marketing, startups, entrepreneurship. Someone with other interests would get a whole different set of content. But the brilliance of the Quora emails is that they don’t regurgitate topics I’ve already read on the site. Most of the recommendations in those weekly emails are topics that I’ve missed, so I’m getting fresh stuff that is within my interest graph.

Check out one of my Quora Weekly Digest Emails
Click to see the full page Quora Weekly Digest email

Birthday Emails

When a person signs up to your email list, there is a lot of demographic information you could be collecting, but one of the most effective for consumer businesses is a customer’s birth date.

When a customer’s birthday rolls around, send them a special birthday email. Pairing that birthday email with an exclusive discount makes your customer feel appreciated and draws them back to your business to purchase.

If you have brick-and-mortar locations, birthday emails are a great way to get more foot traffic into your physical stores.

Benefit Brow Bar gives customers a free eyebrow wax on your birthday. Every year, I try to remember it, but I often forget. If they did a more aggressive push in-store to get my name on a mailing list with a promise to remind me that my free eyebrow wax was approaching I would absolutely sign up for that list and then they could sell me products and services all year long.

Check out Macy’s birthday email with a free shipping offer
Macy's Birthday Email
Beta Invites

I’m a huge proponent of testing new products and feature improvements on actual customers. For those of us who embrace the lean startup movement, that seems like a given, but there are still many businesses who roll out new products without any pre-launch customer feedback at all. These companies are losing out on the opportunity to not only test their product, but to create a set of users who are personally invested in the success of your business.

Early adopters love being the first to try something new. Using your email list to create a special beta team that you give early product access in exchange for feedback makes these customers feel even more special and creates advocates for your brand.

Bonus: Notifications

Notification emails aren’t so prevalent in e-commerce, but for social sites, they’re a major driver of user engagement.

I get a myriad of notification types on Pinterest. Of course there are notifications when someone follows me or re-pins one of my pins. But there are also notifications that someone that I follow on Twitter has joined Pinterest or when someone I follow creates a new Pinterest board.

These types of notifications are the key to keeping users engaged and enticing them back to your site. But it’s also easy for developers to set so many notifications that it snowballs and gets overwhelmingly spammy. The key to creating an email notification strategy that doesn’t make people want to Hulksmash your product is to be mindful of the types of notifications that are truly useful and to allow people to customize their notification experience.

Pinterest new board notification

Pinterest  new board notification

Pinterest re-pin notification

Pinterest re-pin notification

Lately, notifications have gone beyond social media to new media sites that are trying to increase their social factor. Spotify sends notifications when friends update their playlists and I’ve even started getting follow notifications from the Huffington Post. Email notifications and mobile app notifications have become another important way to keep users engaged and increase the viral potential of your product.

What steps have you taken to start engaging your customers via email?

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