The email marketing business is big business. MailChimp, Contstant Contact, AWeber, and iContact are among the most popular options but there are hundreds of competitors in this space. The list of providers at Email Vendor Selection is more than 150 companies long!
Despite the popularity of “social marketing” most email newsletters could be described as “anti-social”. In a typical scenario, a company sends the same email blast to thousands of subscribers and hopes that people read the email before pressing the delete button.
Maybe the company decided to include a link to their Facebook and Twitter pages in the footer of the email, but beyond that there’s nothing “social” about most email newsletters.
Newsletters are a one-way “1-to-many” communication. In other words, there is generally little opportunity for feedback and there is no user-to-user interaction. It’s like throwing a party with no food or drink and where the guests are not allowed to see or speak with one another. Not exactly the recipe for a “social” time!
Therefore, the best way to make your email newsletter more interactive is to (1) create a forum and invite your subscribers to join; and then (2) highlight user contributions to your forum in subsequent newsletters.
We urge site owners to think of their forum as a way to connect their tribe. The newsletter is a “trigger” for user engagement. Load the trigger with examples of interactivity and invite users to continue the conversation on the forum. This activity loads the next trigger. The end result is a more engaged audience.