Getting Customers to Open Your Emails

I’m always reading about marketing. Recently, this article from Entrepreneur came across my Twitter feed and I thought it provided the perfect framework to discuss email marketing for bike shops. So please excuse the fact that I’m blatantly hanging my thoughts on an existing framework, but hopefully you’ll find it more relevant to your business to have my commentary added.

The basic message behind the article is that if you want to be a successful email marketer, you have to find a way to get people to open your emails. Otherwise nobody is visiting your website, learning about your sales or attending your clinics.

So how do you not only get people to open your messages, but also keep opening them on a regular basis? This article shares four primary ways, as follows.

1. Solve a problem.

Let’s face it. We live in a very “what’s in it for me” society. People everywhere are being bombarded with information – so much so that they’re becoming less and less likely to bite. What you need to do is find a way to scratch their back – to solve a specific problem or pain point that they’re dealing with. When our audience feels that there’s something of value to them in your emails, they’re more likely to open them.

Let’s take a stab at a few potential email marketing ideas that would specifically address the pain points of your target audience:

  • Are you tired of having a sore back? Get a bike fit or buy a Trek Domane.
  • Are your worried about how safe your helmet is? Buy a new one.
  • Do you keep getting flat tires? Slime your inner tubes.
  • Don’t know what to get your wife for Mother’s Day? How about a bike shop gift card?

Look at the products and services you offer and ask yourself what problems they solve for your customers. Then craft your messaging to deliver those solutions.

2. Save them money.

Money saving offers, such as those provided through Groupon and other local deal sites, dominate the email marketing landscape today. Are you subscribed to the Performance Bike or Competitive Cyclist lists? How about Backcountry? You should be, because your customers are.

You probably can’t compete with the purchasing power of these larger companies but if you are smart in how you craft your offers, you can appeal to the same desire for savings that drive your customers in that direction.

Play around with different types of discounts and offers to see what works best. For instance, sometimes a percentage discount is more attractive than one that offers a specified dollar amount, and vice versa. Try splitting up your campaign to see which tactic nets the better results within your audience.

3. Make them smarter.

Most people long to be the very best they can be. That’s why the concepts of continuing education and enhanced learning opportunities are so popular today. As a marketer, you can leverage this thought process in your own email campaigns by offering to help your audience learn more and become more empowered.

Do you offer clinics in your store? Did Trek share a helpful instructional video on a new product? Did one of your employees write a blog post about how to get the most out of their new Garmin? Whatever you might have to offer, use it. Remember - you are the bike resource in your customers’ lives. Fulfill their needs by providing quality opportunities for them to learn.

4. Entertain them.

If you are anything like most of my customers, you probably have a wicked sense of humor. Have some fun with your emails and let your personality shine through. You can come up with your own ideas or share amusing content that is already being passed around.

For instance, have you seen this video? More importantly, have your customers seen it? Why not share it in your emails? Will it help you sell a bike? Probably not on its own, but does it mean your customer is more likely to open your next email, and a more engaged customer is more likely to bring you repeat business.

Take a good, hard look at how you’ve been approaching email marketing to this point. Are your messages delivering these 4 key benefits to your audience? If not, it’s probably time to rethink your plan and try something new.