A common problem many email marketers have is being able to activate their audience—to fully get them engaged in what they are doing. Yes, the final goal might be to land a sale, but having an active readership can do wonders for your bottom line.
The question might, therefore, be how to activate your audience. Obviously incentives work, but which incentives are better than others? In this article we will take a look at a few different alternatives and show you the pros and cons of each. You might want to experiment with a few of them as part of your email marketing strategy.
This might sound like an obvious suggestion—put something up for grabs, and you will get your audience activated. What you need to do is find creative ways for users to enter and win your contest that will also go viral. For instance, a photo competition that gets your readers to submit something unique or different. Part of the offer is for your audience to get exposure and can be a great way to get a lot of audience participation with little effort.
Now the major benefit with this is that you can get a lot of activity out of very little initial input. However, there are two major downfalls that are worth considering when you are preparing your competition. First, could the competition lead to any unwelcome exposure? Secondly, how much time and effort will it take to manage the competition? If you spend some time thinking about these issue, you might be able to mitigate the downsides.
Ask them to contribute
In niche markets where there are a lot of hobbyists, you might find people that are so passionately involved in what they do that they are more than willing to write about their experience and share it with others. For a list owner, this can be a great way to save yourself writing time and provide a lot of valuable market research with little or no effort. For instance, in your marketing emails, you can offer the possibility of having people write about their own experiences or horror stories in your blog.
So what could be the downside to inviting your audience to contribute? Well, you do not always know what you’ll get, and you might have to politely turn down articles that do not fit the tone and audience of your website. In other words, you need to moderate—and writers can be a sensitive bunch. It can, therefore, be helpful to be clear and specific about what contributions you are interested in.
Get them offline
An often-forgotten strategy is to take your prospects offline. For instance, by hosting an event so that you can meet people in person. This might not even be an event you are hosting but could be an event that has your name and logo on it. For instance, if you run a wine website then inviting your audience to a free wine tasting can be an inviting offer.
Is there any downside to this? Well, you need to make sure you are continuing and extending the original experience from your email list, and that it is truly an added value. As a list owner, you might even take on the responsibility of ensuring everyone is enjoying themselves. For many, it can be hard to be the focal point of attention and to be judged on more than their content. However, that being said, this is still another great way to engage with your audience.
What all these ideas have in common is that they get the audience doing something and transcends the experience from whatever you are doing to something your audience is a part of. This can make many email marketers feel uncomfortable because it means a switch from one-sided communication to full-on discussion and interaction. By trying to interact with your audience, you can get ideas which can help you innovate your business and grow with your customers.
About the author: Bjarne Viken
Bjarne is a conversion optimisation strategist, who works with marketing managers and business owners to scale up their businesses by analysing how they can improve their online conversion rates.
He has worked extensively with many growing companies, helping them drive customer acquisition, push conversions and increase sales.”
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