Thinking like your subscriber

Andrew Kordek

3 minute read

My kids are finally old enough so that I could take them to one of my favorite lunch places (Panera) instead of having to be stuck somewhere with a play area. When I got to the register, the cashier asked me if I wanted to join their just-launched loyalty club – MyPanera – where I could earn points for each purchase and get rewards automatically.

Two hungry kids were not going to like standing there while I filled out forms. But before I could even say that, the cashier said “I see you are anxious to eat with your kids – you can fill this out at home on your computer. Here are the member cards including one that you can put right on your keychain. I’ve already swiped this so you will get your first reward when you login.”

What a great customer service moment! She correctly read my situation and anticipated what would be the best thing for me. When I got home, I logged onto the site and signed up and found out I would get a free bakery item the next time I visited. It was that easy.

So, that got me thinking – wouldn’t it be nice if we, as email marketers, interpreted our subscribers’ actions the right way and anticipated what they wanted? Sometimes we do. But most of the time we don’t. Here are three segments where we can do better:

  • Inactives – we continue to send and send and send to people who have been on our lists for years and haven’t opened. Why do we think we know them better than they know themselves? Their inactivity tells us they aren’t interested, but we continue to delude ourselves that we will get them to open that next email.
  • Highly Engaged – what about the subscribers who open up every one of our emails and click? What do we do for them? Do we give them any special recognition? Thank them for their continued loyalty and patronage? Usually not. We get so busy just sending the normal emails or trying to re-activate the dead, that we forget to acknowledge our most highly valued subscribers.
  • New Subscribers – we don’t always think about the newbies on our list. Did we set ourselves up for success? Did we let them know how often they would be hearing from us? Did we properly welcome them? Do they need to be educated about our business or brand? There is a huge opportunity to start things off right that frequently gets missed.

We will get more from our subscribers if we do a better job anticipating and catering to their needs. It sounds obvious … but how many of us actively think this way? We need to provide communications and offers that make sense for each segment – from the inactive to the new to the highly engaged. Each company needs its own tailored approach, but the general guidelines are:

  • Inactives – although you might test a re-activation program first, be prepared to remove people from your list who have gone years without any activity. Seriously, it is time.
  • Highly Engaged – at a minimum, send them a thank you note for all of their past purchases and continued loyalty. Better yet, give them something as a token for helping to grow and sustain your business. It can be a gift, a calendar, a discount, or really anything that lets them know they are important to you.
  • New Subscribers – acknowledge them with a welcome email to thank them for joining. Educate them about your brand. Tell them how often you are going to email them so the appropriate expectations get set. Put time into creating the foundation of the relationship that you hope will last for a long, long time.

We need to listen to our subscribers for what they are saying – and for what they aren’t. We won’t always like it, but the better we can anticipate their situation and act appropriately, the stronger our relationship will be with our subscribers.


Trendline Interactive

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About the Author(s)

Andrew Kordek

Andrew Kordek is a Co-Founder of Trendline Interactive.

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