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Tips to Rejuvenate Your Listener Emails

| October 8, 2012

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital

SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH — Once upon a time, it was cool to communicate with people via email.  Now, it’s a utility like the power company.  You don’t think about it very much, but it’s hard to imagine getting business done without it.

I hope you haven’t gotten so blinded by social media that you’ve fallen out of love with email.  It’s still a powerful tool to communicate with your listeners, especially if your station targets adults.  Here are three things you can do to make your emails that much more powerful.

Make it a Thing of Value

So many radio station emails are just a rehashing of current promotions.  Now that you’ve heard about them 20 times on the air, we’ll send you an email about them.  You almost couldn’t come up with a better way than that to cut down on your “open rate” (the percentage of emails that get seen).

Before there was social media, our biggest fans signed up for our email list.  They hoped to get exclusive information and deals from us.  Instead, we acted like just hearing from us was reward enough.

What could you do with an email that gives it value?  The easiest way is to include something that adds onto what you’re already doing on the air.  Set aside a pair of tickets that you give away to the email database.  Give them deep, focused information about what they love about you (this might be an artist of the month feature, or it might be a special blog post from a popular talk host).  Tell them the exact times to win a big contest.  Now, you’re sending out information that matters.

Make sure your subject line draws people in, too.  Avoid spammy words and exclamation points.  Also, never title an email “Weekly Update from K101.5.”  That might as well say “Delete without reading.”  “Secret Contest for Keith Urban Tickets” has a lot more punch.

Give Them Something to Keep

There’s one bad thing about social media.  Your post is there and then it’s gone;, and when it’s gone, it’s GONE.  On the other hand, email is something adults will hang on to, if you make it worth their while.

When you have exclusive content that makes your email special, it’s worth keeping around.  Your audience will save your email in their inbox if there’s something in it for them.  Your recipients might go back and open it again to re-check it, or even forward it on.  Someone who saves one of your emails is more likely to open the next one you send.

Less is More

The best way to structure an email to your database is to have a headline and a sentence or two about each topic, and then link to a page at your website.  If you need to write more, use a couple of bullet points.  The more you write, the less chance there is of people reading what you write.

If you send out chatty, wordy emails, your mobile recipients will be the first to start ignoring you.  Have you ever tried to read a long email on a phone?  The tactical goal of each email should be to get people to your broadcast, stream, website, social media, or on-site appearance.  To do that, you have to leave them wanting more of you than what you gave them in your email.

In addition, you can raise the perceived value of your database emails by sending less frequently than you do now.  That seems almost counterintuitive, but it’s a case of supply and demand.  The less you send them, the more special and valuable you seem.  That alone should help your open rate.

Finally, are you selling ads that run in your emails?  Email and social media are similar, in that both tend to attract some of your biggest fans and heaviest users.  That’s a group that smart advertisers should want to be able to talk to, in addition to running ads on your broadcast.  Will Facebook and Twitter let you sell ads on their platform?  I rest my case.


Chris Miller, owner of Chris Miller Digital, is a leading radio consultant specializing in research-based strategic planning and smart use of digital media. He can be phoned at 216-236-3955 or e-mailed at

Category: Digital, Sales