Creating consumer trust is more important than ever

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As marketers, we reach our customers and clients in many ways, but in the current economic environment companies have struggled to cut costs and stay connected with customers. E-mail, however, is getting more visibility — not only as a viable way to interact with a customer, but as the desired marketing channel due to its cost-effectiveness and timeliness.

Growing or creating an e-mail communications program requires that your efforts include building trust with your e-mail recipient. Trust isn't simply making sure that your customer can complete a secure transaction online.  Providing customers with answers, education or insights, as well as a product or service solution, will keep you top of mind  when they are ready to make a purchase.  Simply put, you will become a trusted resource.

Trust is built not only with the message and content that you send, but how and when you send it. Actions speak louder than words (and your e-mail program.) If you still fall into the category of a “batch and blast” marketer, take heed: Your customers may have already started to put their trust in your competition. Ask yourself three questions that will help you learn where you stand.

First, how do you address your customers? 
Dialog with an e-mail recipient cannot happen if you do not speak to them as an individual. The more you are able to apply relevant content within your recipients' message, the more likely you are able to address their specific needs and prove value in your messages and offers to them. Collecting information about your e-mail recipients at all points of interaction is critical, starting at the registration process.

Next, what do you know about your e-mail recipients? 
Don't miss the great opportunity with a new e-mail registrant to learn the basics. If someone wants to give you their e-mail address, the chances are pretty high that they will not mind answering a few questions so that you can provide them the most appropriate communications, news and offers. Just make sure that the information they provided is not ignored. E-mail click-though activity and purchase history are also other valuable sources of information that you can use to further segment and add relevance to future messages.  You might not know exactly what is of interest to your e-mail recipients, but you can use historical information regarding what they click on in past messages. If your Web site requires a customer to log in to complete a purchase, you have information on what might be of future interest to them.

Finally, are you fulfilling the promise of value? 
Many marketers make the common mistake of offering an e-mail newsletter that doesn't really contain much news at all. If you promised insight to your products, services or industry, you will have to deliver on that expectation. Otherwise, price alone will differentiate you and your competition.  

As e-mail marketers, we may be a little biased, but e-mail programs and strategy executed correctly, dollar-for dollar, are one of the best tools that a marketer can leverage in their marketing toolbox.  Earlier this year, Premiere Global Services created a blog series to address marketing in the down economy. You can review the helpful insights and hands-on recommendations for the best application of e-mail to specific vertical needs. Each promises to provide little nuggets of wisdom for any marketer looking to get more from their e-mail program.


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