Re-Marrying Your Email

Ten years ago, it was a super-sexy concept to create a list of email subscribers for your radio brand, and get in contact with them.  Then, Facebook and Twitter came along as the new super-sexy social media, and the shine on the email program faded some.

Now, most people I talk to who have the job of writing the station emails find it a bit of a chore.  There’s plenty of talk inside radio stations about how often we’re posting on social media and what web content we’re creating, but not much about the email program.  However, if you want some information to stay in the hands of your adult fans, email is a much better way to make sure that happens than social media.

The shelf-life of social media posts is incredibly short, and people tend to hang on to emails … if they find it worthwhile to.


If your station targets adults, email is still a valuable tool to communicate with them.  However, the bloom is off the email rose for them, too.  It’s no longer exciting for them to see your brand in their in-box.  In addition … let’s talk about what you’ve been sending them.

If you’re concerned about your “open rate,” the percentage of recipients who even open your email, think about this.  They’ve learned over time that there is probably nothing in that email that they can’t hear on the radio station … so there is no value in opening it up.  Plus, we tend to create subject lines that sound like hype, get zapped by their email host, or that don’t work to overcome what they’ve already figured out about the boring stuff you’re sending them.

No one signs up to get ads.  People sign up to get special content that fits with your brand.  So, start making your emails more open-worthy.

First, decide to do it.  Make sure that there is some really, really good reason to open the email each time.  This doesn’t have to be a prize; it can just be valuable, limited-quantity information about your brand.  A lot of our social media lessons apply here.  Tell them an extra clue that you don’t say on the radio about how or when to win a big contest.  Or, give them a chance to buy tickets for a show before anyone else can.  You can even promote on the air that you’ll be doing that, to increase sign-ups for your database.

Sometimes, just good special content you can create over and over will help.  I know a classic hits station that’s regularly sent out a “This Day in Rock” feature in their emails, with a link that jumps to an internal web page for more information.

Also, make sure you put some thought into your subject line … knowing it’s gotta be interesting enough to get opened (what would YOU open?), and that often your recipients will only see the first few words in their in-box.


Then, assume you have some damage to un-do.  Think of this as a chance to re-introduce your email program to your core audience.

If you have the guts, check the open rate on some recent emails.  No matter what it is, you can assume that more people who chose to get your emails aren’t opening them than those who do.  Promote on your own air the benefits of signing up for your emails, even down to the specific reasons why … “Sign up to get the K98 Country Connection newsletter at before Tuesday, and we’ll make sure you have an extra chance to win Eric Church tickets you won’t hear about on the radio.”

Find those reasons to market to your core fans that your emails are worth opening up again.  Hearing messages like the one above should help convince your current recipients to open up those emails again.

By the way, the secret contest above could be a stealth listening appointment, where you inform your fans via email, “Listen Thursday at 11:15 for such-and-such-a-song, and be the 98th caller when you hear it.”  While you’re building more listening occasions, your fans are thinking they’re lucky because they have an insider advantage on something they want.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment below, or on the Chris Miller Digital Facebook page.


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