Humans build trust by building relationships, and it’s no surprise that the same applies when it comes to building trust between brands, and their audience.

In the noisy, busy world of email marketing, most of your target audience are inundated day in and day out with promotional email campaigns which offer no personal value. In order to stick out in the inbox crowd, your email marketing strategy needs to involve long term relationship nurturing.

Your email campaigns are sure to be ignored and overlooked by contacts who don’t recognise your brand, or worse – don’t trust it. That’s why your email campaigns should be high value, relevant, and specifically targeted. When an email is received by the right person at the right time, and delivers on a high value promise, then that builds a relationship between your business and the recipient.

If this all sound good to you, but you’re not sure where to start, let us take the pain out of brainstorming.

Here are our recommendations for 5 email marketing campaigns that companies should be sending to build relationships.

Onboarding email campaign journeys

The best place to start – when it comes to a relationship – is at the beginning. Start off on the right foot, and it’ll be easier to build trust between your brand and a new subscriber.

Make sure that new subscribers aren’t left hanging, and start them off on an onboarding or ‘welcome wagon’ style email campaign journey.

That’s right – ‘journey’ – not just a singular campaign. You’ll want to touch base multiple times before adding new subscribers to the standard programming pipeline.

An onboarding email journey should include a welcome email, with any important information that would be of value to someone new to your subscriber base (such as links to past e-newsletters, or special download links for high value collateral).

Your welcome email should also give your subscriber a chance to tweak their personal details, or subscription preferences – so make sure to include those links as well. Double checking a new subscription in a welcome email, and giving the option to unsubscribe (should the subscription have been a mistake) also shows that your brand is privacy conscious.

Build out the rest of your onboarding campaign journey with emails triggered to send based on engagement with previous emails. Include event digest emails to catch new subscribers up on what events are upcoming – in case they missed the invite blast. Include a couple educational emails to catch your subscriber up on the niche topics your brand provides thought leadership on.

Get creative and put your best foot forward. What valuable content would you like to see from your company if you were a brand new subscriber?

Trigger email campaigns

A big part of nurturing a budding brand-subscriber relationship is being timely, and relevant.

A surefire way to lose the trust and interest of a subscriber is to send them generalised promotional email campaigns; making your contacts feel like part of the crowd, rather than specific individuals.

Trigger email campaigns are emails that are published to individual contacts based on their subscriber data, or their actions. Trigger emails are naturally relevant because they are triggered; it means they’re sent to the right person at the right time.

Some examples of trigger email campaigns are:

  • Birthday email campaigns, including special offers and discounts (this email would be triggered by the subscriber’s birth date)
  • Abandoned cart email campaigns, which might include an extra incentive to check out (this email would be triggered by visits to your online shop’s checkout page)
  • Membership renewal campaigns. Don’t lose members due to ignorance – trigger a reminder to renew email which sends based on subscribers’ renewal dates.
  • Reminder to convert campaigns. When a contact visits a conversion landing page, but does not go through with conversion, why not trigger an email which reminds them of where they left off? (e.g. reminder to register for an event, sent to contacts who clicked to register but failed to complete the process).

Engagement reward campaigns

Relationships take ongoing work and acknowledgment. This means that a big part of strengthening your relationships with contacts is rewarding them for their interaction and engagement.

In order to run an engagement reward campaign, you first need to measure engagement amongst your subscriber base. With a marketing automation platform equipped with an engagement scoring tool, this is as easy as assigning scores to specific behaviours and interactions (e.g. 100 points for opening emails, 500 points for attending events). With an engagement scoring tool you can then get an easy overview of your contacts’ level of engagement, and use their scores to segment them into special ‘highly engaged’ mail groups for running your reward campaign.

An engagement reward campaign should acknowledge highly engaged subscribers as VIP, and offer them rewards accordingly.

How will you show your subscribers you value their level of engagement? Perhaps with standard special offers, or opportunities to claim presents and prizes. Maybe a special treat for your VIP contacts would constitute of free white papers and webinars. Looking at how your highly engaged subscribers have exactly interacted and engaged with your brand in the past will give you some indication of what they would consider to be rewards.

Make sure your engagement reward campaign specifically acknowledges your recipients’ high engagement as the reason they are receiving special treats.

Interactive email campaigns

In 2019, in order to compete with every other brand delivering to your target audience’s inbox, your emails are going to have to be more than just promotional.

Relationships involve two way communication, and as such – your email campaigns shouldn’t feel like your brand promoting itself from on top of its own soapbox at a passive crowd. To build relationships with your subscribers, consider creating and sending interactive email campaigns.

What makes an email interactive? An interactive email campaign should have strong, obvious calls to action to interact with your company. These calls to action shouldn’t be for conversion or sales purposes alone, but should be seen as opportunities to give unique input.

For example, you might run a poll within your email campaign asking subscribers for their take on a topic. You could run fun competitions requiring some sort of entry or response from your subscribers. You could nurture relationships by making your subscribers feel part of your business process; invite them to vote on the types of events they’d like to see you run next year, or ask for their feedback on a recent rebrand.

Educational email campaigns

When it comes to creating valuable content, sharing information for educational purposes is a surefire way to deliver.

Educational email campaigns nurture subscriber relationships by offering valuable thought leadership on your brand’s niche expertise. Subscribers will be more engaged with your content when it’s educational, and they will more likely trust your brand; seeing your company as a knowledgeable industry leader.

Educational email campaigns can be run as one off educational articles, or chances to download free whitepapers. They can be run as part of an entire educational journey, such as an e-course ‘series’ where each email covers a portion of the overall curriculum. Educational email campaigns can be sent as simple tasters to promote webinars or other online courses.

Try to get a clear picture on what kind of topics your audience would most want to learn more about, and go from there.

Before you run a relationship email marketing campaign, consider your voice.

Of course, nurturing relationships takes more than sending out the right campaigns, it also requires a consistent – and human – brand ‘voice’.

If your brand was a person, what would its personality be? How would it talk? Would it speak in a casual or formal tone?

Make sure you have strong documentation outlining brand personality and tone before tackling your email marketing strategy. After all, it’s only possible to build a relationship when there’s clear individuals involved.

In 2019, leveraging the power of email as a marketing channel will take more than just writing and blasting out content. To rise above the inbox noise, brands are going to have to concentrate on building trust, and improving reader engagement.

What will it take? Email marketing campaigns which main focus is to build, nurture, and strengthen brand-subscriber relationships.Want to learn more about improving reader engagement? Talk with the Swift Digital team to find out about our engagement scoring tools, and easy to use marketing automation platform. Call us on 02 9929 7001, or send our team an email.