It’s time to give thanks. Year-end finds many of us reflecting on the past year, both from a personal as well as a professional perspective. We look forward to celebrating the holidays with our family and friends, attending parties, exchanging gifts and giving thanks for even the smallest blessings we’ve received. We also think about what may have gone wrong, and what changes we want to make in the coming year to live better, be happier and get healthier. What about at work? Are ‘thank you’ emails right for your firm?
At work, we go through many of the same thought processes. Are we satisfied with the results of our marketing efforts? Which strategies were more successful than others? How do we improve upon our methods and conversions? Did we cultivate the kinds of relationships we wanted to achieve? What can we do to increase our market share? How do we thank our existing clients for their loyalty and our prospects for their interest?
Think about your 2016 holiday marketing strategy.
Right about now, you have probably begun the search for the best holiday cards to mail out and are trying to figure out how to get your firm’s partners and key team members to personalize them so they send the right message – that you care. Many firms combine a holiday greeting with a “thank you for your continued patronage” note in an attempt to reinforce that one-to-one relationship that client retention (especially for CPA firms and other professional service providers) depends upon.
Some firms may opt to send out thank you emails for Thanksgiving or as electronic supplements to print greeting cards during the holiday season. And those emails will be well-received and should absolutely be a part of your communication strategy. They help you solidify relationships with existing clients and nurture budding relationships with prospects.
But did you know that thanking clients and prospects throughout the year could pay out greater dividends than any other type of email marketing?
Thank you emails are twice as nice.
It should be fairly obvious why the thank you email is effective… but did you know that it is twice as effective as the general email?
HubSpot conducted a comprehensive analysis of open rates and click through rates (CTRs) on automated thank you emails (auto-responders) and then compared those statistics to those reported on general campaign-driven marketing emails. Guess what they discovered?
Thank you emails generated a 42% open rate and 14% CTR on average, while generic campaign emails generated a 12% open rate and a 6% CTR.
WOW! Even automated emails that were sent out in response to subscriber/website visitor behavior generated more than twice the click through activity than campaign-driven marketing emails. Apparently, people like to be thanked. Saying thank you is not only nice, it’s nice for business.
What can you learn from HubSpot’s study? Clearly, saying thank you more than once a year will be beneficial to your marketing campaign. Here are some tips for how to implement strategic thank you emails into your strategy:
1. Set up auto-responders.
If you aren’t using auto-responders to thank newsletter subscribers and website visitors who take advantage of an offer (such as a whitepaper download, free consultation, webinar or seminar event, etc), you should be. Once set up, your auto-responders require little maintenance and are a marketer’s dream tool.
2. Keep your thank you emails simple.
Your auto-responders need not be fancy or particularly creative. Although there is something to said for well-designed emails (and you certainly wouldn’t want to send out an email that does not complement your brand), a thank you email can be simple. Thank your reader/visitor for whatever they did that triggered the auto-responder, give them something else to consider that is relevant to their demonstrated area of interest, and provide your contact information in case they have any questions. That’s it.
3. Give them more than they asked for.
If they downloaded something from your website, provide a direct link back to that same product for their records. This is particularly important if your auto-responder is based on a form that was submitted, as you want to make it easy for them to review your content again in the future without going through the process again. But then give them something more. They should have already received a copy of whatever it was you were offering, so the direct link is just a nicety. Now ratchet your niceness quotient up a notch. Your thank you email should include a secondary call to action, such as a different article, e-book or whitepaper on a similar subject as the one they downloaded, or a complimentary consultation with a tax advisor, or a case study of how your tax return reviews have uncovered significant savings. Offer something relevant to their area of interest, which you should be able to identify based on their initial action.
4. Be nice about sharing your email.
We’ve talked about how word-of-mouth referrals are the very best type of referral you can get, especially in professional service industries. Don’t squander an opportunity to reach new prospects when designing your thank you auto-responders. Include social media sharing links and encourage your recipients to share your email with their friends, family and colleagues – anyone who might value and appreciate the message and content you provide. The more people who see your quality content and your affable attitude about helping others by providing it with no obligation, the more you raise your thought leadership, expand your prospect pool, and increase your potential for new business.
Random-by-design thank you emails
You might also consider using non-automated thank you emails every once in a while, just to say “thanks”. The basic rules for the non-automated thank you email are essentially the same as those for auto-responders, although you might want to be a little more creative with your email design to let it stand out in the inbox.
There are dozens of opportunities to thank clients and prospects throughout the year. Some of the most common (and yet highly effective) thank you emails are:
- Thank you for subscribing welcome emails
- Thank you for choosing our firm new client emails
- Thank you for visiting our website emails
- Thank you for meeting with us emails
- Thank you for registering for our webinar emails
- Thank you for attending our webinar emails
- Thank you for updating your contact information emails
- Thank you for participating in our survey emails
- Thank you for not unsubscribing nurturing emails
- Thank you for being a client emails
- Thank you just because we’re grateful emails
Review your Editorial Calendar and see where and when a thank you email might be appropriate. Develop a few different Thanksgiving marketing (and holiday marketing) designs and content options and test them to see which design inspires the reaction you desire.
While you’re thinking about it, design a lovely thank you email that you can send out to your newsletter subscribers before Thanksgiving to let them know how much you appreciate them. Be nice. Give thanks. Get more business.