Think of your email list like a group of people you’ve invited over to your house for dinner. They’ve RSVP’d “yes” because they’re interested in what you’ll serve them and what they’ll learn from being there.
Now, do you stand at the head of the table with a megaphone and tell them all about you and your business? Holler about all the amazing promotions you’re running? Do you let anyone else at the table speak?
Or do you engage your guests in a lively conversation and discussion? Do you ask them what they need or want from you, or the best ways you can serve them?
“You can use email like a megaphone—where you’re just speaking loudly and not actually listening—or you can use it to create a conversation,” said AWeber’s Content Marketing Manager Jill Fanslau on the small business sales and marketing podcast Stay Paid.
One of the easiest ways to create conversation in your emails is by asking a question, said Fanslau. Ask your audience a question at least once a quarter to better understand what content they need and want from you.
The best part about engaging your audience in a conversation? “You could get your next 10 email ideas by sending one question in an email,” said Fanslau. Your subscribers’ answers could spark an idea for your next blog post, your next product, or your next lead magnet.
There are a number of ways to ask a question in your emails:
- Include a sentiment widget at the bottom of every email. (You can easily do this inside AWeber.) This gives you a quick and easy way to gauge whether your audience liked your content. Think of it like a “temperature check.”
- Send a survey. Asking your audience to complete a short survey can give you rich insights into what you’re doing right and what you can do better. (You may need to provide an incentive to get your subscribers to fill it out.)
- Reach out to individuals directly if you want to have a more personal, one-on-one conversation. If you receive great feedback, you can even ask that subscriber for a testimonial, to leave a review, or for a case study.
- Ask a simple question and encourage all of your subscribers to reply with their thoughts or feedback (good and bad). Let them know that you’ll read every single response. Reply to as many as you can so your subscribers know there’s a real person there.
For more email copywriting tips and insights on engaging your audience with email marketing, check out Fanslau’s interview on Stay Paid. Or, listen on your favorite podcasting apps like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or Google Play.
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