By now, you know that portals offer utilities another opportunity to communicate with your customers. You’re all in and invested in a customer portal. You know how important it is to reach your customers where they are — and often, you do so via email.
Some may argue that email is ineffective or that marketing on social media platforms offers a better way to reach your audience. Though social media marketing is an essential component of digital marketing, email is unique because it doesn’t compete with an algorithm. Like your website, you own the content.
Still skeptical? Take a look at what quality research shows. According to Digital Agency Network, email marketing is still an effective strategy in 2019. It also tends to be more cost-effective than more traditional marketing approaches.
Lucky for you, your subscribers came to you specifically because they want to stay informed about their water. So, what can you do as a utility to hold your subscribers’ attention and best speak to them through this touchpoint?
It’s about building relationships.
Before you Google the phrase “email marketing best practices” and get millions of results in mere seconds, take a step back. Consider that these best practices adapt to a growing digital landscape and, like water, conform to whatever mold they fill.
Some resources tell you to use captivating images or write a strong subject line. While these elements are essential, there’s more to email marketing than that. It’s about building relationships.
Often when businesses attempt to message to their customers, they think they must remain strictly professional — and in doing so, create a dull, dry email at best or an irrelevant or “salesy” email at worst.
As a water utility, while you may not be trying to sell anything to your customers, you are trying to make a case for behavior change. So, think differently. Don’t “sell” your customers on change. Show them what impact a simple behavior change could have on their lives and the lives of their friends and neighbors. Ultimately, you’re building a relationship with someone — one that you hope to sustain in the long run, so that you can affect real change. So, talk to them, person to person.
Let’s have a conversation.
In the water industry, sometimes we forget that the people we serve are our proverbial neighbors. The next time you sit down to write an email or another piece of messaging for your customer portal, imagine bumping into someone at the coffee shop or the grocery store. Imagine yourself on the other side of the conversation. What tone would keep you engaged? What information would catch your attention? Keep that in mind as you build out your next conversation with your customer.
Don’t let buzzwords confuse or dissuade you. Marketing is about telling stories that relate to people and their emotions. Do that and you’ll not only win over customers but also potentially inspire them to change their habits and behaviors.
Email marketing best practices? Simple. Be yourself. Tell your story. Convey value. Have a conversation.
If, at first you don’t succeed…
You know the rest. Reaching your customers may take a little trial and error. If your first tactic isn’t the most effective, try a new angle. Stay on your toes. Keep your message interesting. Engage your customers in conversations that matter to them.