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Are You Habit-Forming?

  |  September 21, 2011   |  Comments

Five tactics to create a habit-forming newsletter.

Is the goal of your email newsletter to boost customer satisfaction with your company? Do your email subscribers read each issue intently? Are they satisfied with the content? Do they rave, blog, or tweet about it?

In his book, "Habit: The 95% of Behavior Marketers Ignore," Neale Martin says, "Customer satisfaction is essentially meaningless and a waste of time to measure, pursue and achieve." In fact, he says, customer satisfaction explains only about 8 percent of repurchase behavior.

Instead, marketers need to focus on becoming their customers' habit, causing customers to use their products automatically, Martin asserts.

How to Become a Habit With Subscribers

This same concept applies to your newsletter. When your subscribers find value in your newsletter and become satisfied with your newsletter, they will form a habit of reading it each time you send it out.

Selecting your newsletter as a source of authority is only the first step toward becoming a habit. Providing content that is easy to digest and solves the subscriber's business problems is the next essential goal.

The final step is letting the unconscious mind become comfortable in relying on your newsletter as a key source of information.

5 Tactics to Create a Habit-Forming Newsletter

You must take great care to avoid any negative experience that could interrupt the habit-forming process. Here are five ways to help you create a valuable newsletter that becomes a habit for your subscribers:

1. Create a positive experience. Subscribers will judge your newsletter quickly and determine whether they'd like to give you the opportunity to earn their time and engagement.

When you start providing valuable industry information, such as hot trends, case studies, new product reviews, and other points of interest, you increase your newsletter's value and give people a reason to come back and tell others about it.

2. Think from the customer's point of view. Consumers will generally select a vendor whom they feel will best take care of their needs. Show that you are on their side, listen to their requirements and preferences, and use your newsletter to respond in a way that demonstrates or conveys that you consider them a valued partner.

By thinking from the customer's perspective, you are proving that you care about them as a client and will take care of their needs.

This simple rule applies to any marketing initiative. Seeing things from the customer's perspective will help keep their experience a positive one.

3. Educate your clients. An essential goal of your newsletter is to educate clients and to better manage expectations of the customers.

Regularly feature white papers or articles that address and solve their common business problems. Providing facts, documentation, news, blogs, etc. that answer your clients' questions will help them understand where you are coming from and validate your points.

Being an expert in your market is paramount to building trust and, in turn, clients. It's your responsibility to understand and be able to convey the difference to help educate them.

4. Personalize and customize. Once you connect with a subscriber, everything you do should come across customized for clients.

Once they reach out for information, they expect high-quality customer service. Utilize past purchase behavior and email click behavior to change up your newsletter content. This makes your newsletter even more relevant to a particular subscriber.

5. Don't hard sell your subscribers. One of the worst things you can do with your newsletter is to hard sell your subscribers. Hard selling will interrupt the habit-forming process and cause your subscriber to think twice about your motives.

Instead of assuming your newsletter is a source of authority in your industry, they will begin to evaluate your motives to determine if you are truly looking to solve their problems or just looking to pad your bottom line.

The Last Word

Is it obvious to you that your newsletter is looking to provide value and be a partner to your subscribers rather than just selling your products?

Your newsletter doesn't necessarily need to have the highest customer satisfaction to be successful. Your goal should be to have the newsletter that is the habit or go-to source for people in your target industry.

This means your newsletter is providing value and a solution to common business problems without requiring your subscriber to think too hard about it.

When your newsletter becomes the mainstay of the industry, and you are considered the source of authority, opens and clicks go up, unsubscribes go down, and complaints are non-existent.

It naturally follows that subscribers will come knocking on your door when they need to purchase that solution to their current business issue.


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Mike Hotz

Mike Hotz is a senior strategic consultant for Responsys, working with clients to design, develop, and execute cross-channel digital marketing strategies that contribute to their cross-channel digital marketing success. As an industry veteran, Mike has worked in e-mail marketing since 1998, designing, building, and executing e-mail and multichannel direct marketing strategies focusing on increasing customer engagement, nurturing leads, supporting sales organizations, and driving revenue for companies such as CDW, OfficeMax, Grant Thornton, and Digitalwork.com.

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