A good first impression is the foundation of all healthy interpersonal relationships, and this notion surely extends to marketing. A relationship between a brand and a consumer is subject to several variables, though the whole experience starts with the first impression. In the case of email marketing, the first message that a new subscriber receives will set the tone for the business relationship to come. If a positive chord is struck in the customer right from the onset, future exchanges are set on the proper course — obviously, the opposite also applies. For marketers looking to make the best first impression possible, here are four productive ways to start a new customer relationship.

Mention Your Referral Source

A good way to start off a relationship with a new customer is to make mention of the referral source. “If a customer opted in to your newsletter from visiting your website, simply include basic information about your company,” writes Huffington Post contributor Seamas Egan. “If your customer made a purchase, use your first message as an opportunity to reference this and extend relevant offers based on the product purchased. If the opt-in channel was social media, make your first message image-based and light on text content to mimic the experience on social platforms.”

Set a Proper Foundation

It’s important for marketers to maintain their attention on offering consumers precisely what they’re after. This increases the chances of lifelong brand loyalty being generated, which is something that all marketers pine for. The best way to ensure that an email marketing campaign gives consumers the exact content and special deals they’re interested in is to simply ask them what they’re looking for in your brand. “Set expectations early by letting new subscribers know what type of content they will receive and how frequently they will hear from you,” offers Egan. “Ask what type of content they are interested in receiving, how often they want to receive your emails, and whether they would like to opt out. Even if your subscribers choose to reduce the number or frequency of emails they receive, this step will help ensure the content they receive is relevant and most likely to garner future engagement.”

Use an Onboarding Series

A good way to follow a customer’s engagement commitment is to use an onboarding series meant to lead them down the path of a healthy, long relationship with your company. “Send a trail of messages that highlight products and offers that are most relevant based on their interests and purchases. Tailor your welcome series to reflect the referral source – whether it’s website browsing, a purchase, or social media,” says Egan. “If you’ve used an intelligent workflow tool in the past, use this to power your onboarding series and target your customers with more or fewer emails based on their actions or inactions.”

Personalize Your Emails

Marketers should use compiled customer data wisely. In this case, that means personalizing emails (while not making them too personal). Targeted product offers can be produced by leveraging customer information from your POS system or e-commerce site. Egan writes: “For example, if a customer purchased a dress, send an offer highlighting the matching handbag or pair of shoes to entice another purchase. Include as much data as you can to increase your message’s relevance and drive high open, read and click-through rates.”

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