The Value of Customer-Approved Emails
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There are people in life that we feel we know and trust, and when they tell us they think the food over at Restaurant X is the best they've ever tasted, or the service at their local garage is second to none, we're inclined to believe them. If it doesn't make us switch allegiances to existing companies straightaway, we do tend to remember these recommendations and save them for later.
According to a recent Nielson Global Online Consumer Survey of 25,000 people in over 50 countries, 90% of online consumers trust 'somewhat' or 'completely' recommendations from people they know. Think of the effect this kind of endorsement could potentially have on your sales figures.
The ability to forward email enables you to turn existing subscribers into independent, third-party advocates. Provided the content is both relevant and 'shareworthy', recipients are more likely to forward the email on directly to their friends. Soon, trusted sources (your subscribers) will be telling people not currently on your list that your latest offer is great value for money / highly relevant / exclusive etc, which will lead to an increase in sales conversions and incoming enquiries.
The concept itself is very simple; the difficulty is in actually motivating people to share. For people to consider sending the email to their address book or share with their social network, it has to be useful, valuable or entertaining. You could adopt a more creative approach, such as linking to a humorous video or go down the avenue of promotional offers and discount codes that aren't available elsewhere. Either way, the email has to be something out of the ordinary for people to want to share.
If you're stuck for ideas, why not try setting up a special email account and subscribing to your favourite companies' mailing lists? Try to pick companies you suspect will have a strong creative element, and ask friends and colleagues about mailing lists they subscribe to and forward regularly. This will help you build a pool of ideas that you can apply to your own situation - then you can start inspiring your contact list to share them with their friends.
Photo credit: Joel Telling