Every week or every month, you sit there in front of your email marketing campaign wondering what you’re going to send out this week. Email, the evolved version of a letter, is a far cry from the letters we would send each other up until about two decades ago. Now it’s all about emails and in the process we’ve become the wizard behind the curtain, pushing buttons and pulling levers to send out campaign communications. We rarely see who we’re even sending these to anymore – and they rarely see us. Add to this the hierarchy of social media, which I’m convinced has more or less made people forget how to talk with each other rather than to each other. Yet, there’s a way to use both these tools to nurture real conversations with your audience so that your email content is original, organic and thoughtful.
Let’s start with consumer expectations and brand loyalty. Consumer expectation is to be able to have a clear looking glass into your company. Your audience wants to know who you are, what you’re about and why your culture resonates with their values. And that’s part of where brand loyalty stems from. Your company probably isn’t a brand like Aston Martin or Gucci, so when people come to you they’re not going for that kind of brand. The brand they’re going for isn’t about labels. Rather, it’s about narratives.
A narrative is the story you tell your audience. It can be a story about shared values or it can be a story that has your company mirroring what matters most to your customers. Ultimately it’s about reciprocation and the ability of the consumer to see themselves in your brand so they can say “I identify with this.”
All that comes down to conversations. You can cultivate brand loyalty, get to know your audience base and stimulate meaningful conversations with them so you have not only a deeper understanding of these people but so that you can also create more meaningful email content.
This happens in two ways. Most enterprise companies move faster through digital media, especially when it comes to their marketing branch of the operation. So in this department, you’re going to want to have a people person that can generate conversations on social media and through email campaigns more so than just automatically posting content. In other words, you want a dialogue coordinator. A dialogue coordinator isn’t widely used in the consumer world, but it needs to be. Instead, we see dialogue coordinators more so with activism and publication outlets. However, everyone should be relying on a skilled dialogue coordinator for the doors they can open and conversations they can initiate.
One group by the name of Clarion Project, which talks about current issues, has a fantastic dialogue coordinator whose job it is to cultivate conversations with the audience. This coordinator even launched a highly successful Facebook group page for interested members. After a year of cultivating conversations, there has recently turned them into a podcast that has generated PR, followers and brand visibility for Clarion.
Clarion also has a brand challenge. They were seen as too conservative in their views, which alienated a large potential audience base that they needed in order to be considered authentic and impactful. Having a dialogue coordinator build bridges and work with new communities and bring them into the fold, giving them a voice that they also wanted, has pretty much completely rebranded Clarion as inclusive and balanced. They’ve gone from being just a publication about news to being seen as a humanitarian group – all in about the time span of one year. And now their email campaigns are more about humanitarian stories and they’re able to pivot themselves on that position based on nurtured conversations over the last year. For Clarion, this means increased market relevance, increased social shares/email forwards, and increased visibility as a thought leader.