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 on the way to the sale 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 are better than others? In this article we will have a look at a few different alternatives and show you the pros and cons of each. It might be worth for you 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 might be forgotten in competitions is finding creative ways for users to submit and win that can also make you go a little viral. For instance a photo competitions that get your readers to submit something unique or different, where a part of the offer is to get exposure 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 it might be worth considering while you are preparing your competition. First, could the competitions 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 the two you might be able to mitigate the downsides.
Ask them to contribute
Particularly in niche markets where there are a lot of hobby activity 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 do a lot of really valuable market research with no effort. For instance you can offer in your marketing emails the possibility of writing in your blog their own experiences or horror stories.
So what could the downsides be to inviting your audience to contribute? Well, you do not always know what you 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 very 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 and meeting 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 inviting your audience to free wine tasting can be an inviting offer.
Any downside? Well, you need to make sure that that you are continuing and extending the original experience from your email list, and that it is truly a value add. As a list owner you might even take on the responsibility of getting everyone to enjoy themselves. For many it can also be hard to the focal point of attention and be judged on more than their content. However, that being said, this is yet another great way to engage with your audience.
What all these ideas have in common is that they get the audience to do something, and transcend the experience of 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 side communication to full on discussion and interaction. By trying to interact with your audience you can however get ideas which can greatly help you innovate your business and grow with your customers.