Jeff Kupietzky, CEO of PowerInbox, recently spoke at MediaPost’s Publishing Insider Summit, where PowerInbox sponsored a lunch. Jeff spoke about the growing challenge digital publishers face in overcoming issues of audience distrust and how email plays a role in providing long-term solutions. You can view Jeff’s presentation, and we’ve also highlighted some of the important talking points below.
Trust Is a Hard-Won Asset for Digital Publishers
Consumers are inundated with options when it comes to almost anything today, and that’s certainly true for where to get their content. One way people make the choice about where to turn for news, facts or even entertainment media is determining which publishers they can trust.
It’s not a concept unique to digital publishing. In almost every sector, trust in a brand trumps most other factors when it comes to consumers making a purchase. But trust is extremely difficult for today’s digital publishers to come by.
The first barrier to trust today is the fact that other media outlets and platforms haven’t historically held up their end of this bargain with consumers. Fake news and privacy issues have plagued numerous large outlets, including giants like Facebook, eroding consumer confidence in what they see online.
But the opportunity to build trust via a lot of these platforms is also waning. Social media algorithms make it a lot harder to get your trust-building content in front of users without paying for the pleasure. And paying for exposure in the form of social ads can automatically put readers on edge.
Plus, some platforms have lost trust and the interest of the audience, which means fewer people are logging in to see your content on a daily basis.
How to Build and Retain Trust Using Email
That may sound like a lot of bad news, but PowerInbox had good news to share at the Publishing Insider Summit, too. Specifically, that email is alive, well and kicking tail as a digital media platform that can build and retain the trust of your audience.
But you have to know how to use this tool to leverage its benefits. Here’s what you can do to create trust with your email subscribers.
- Be careful not to look or sound like spam. Create user-friendly emails with plenty of white space that are easy to read on desktop and mobile devices. A few pictures or ads are fine, but less is definitely more when it comes to building trust. You also want to send your emails from a recognizable and consistent address and avoid click-bait-style headers that are favored by spammers.
- Take privacy very seriously. Safeguard your subscribers’ email list and other information, and never sell it to third parties. And make it clear to subscribers and potential subscribers that this is the case.
- Use email-based targeting. When you have a large list, not everyone on it needs every message you send. Segment your list for targeted email messaging that gives people what they need or want and not much else. This also works well when you include advertisements in emails, because the majority of newsletter subscribers don’t mind seeing ads that are relevant to them.
- Get permission. If you send email newsletters or other marketing communications to people who haven’t signed up to receive them, you’re a spammer. It’s not a position that builds trust. Only send emails to people who have agreed to receive them; you can increase the number of people who sign up for your list by offering a freebie such as a downloadable e-book or checklist in exchange for their email.
- Deliver relevant content. When consumers sign up for your email list, they’re agreeing to receive a certain type of content. If someone signs up for a newsletter about Western wear fashions and starts receiving content about cosmetics or politics, their trust may be revoked.
- Choose ad partners wisely. Everything that applies to you also applies to your partners if you’re including their content in your emails. Ads aren’t taboo — far from it, because consumers do understand that the buck to cover free content comes from somewhere. But the ads need to match your audience when it comes to relevance, values and appropriateness.
Email has staying power, and it continues to be the one online publishing platform (aside from your own site) that you can control. Taking the time to do it right lets you build trust and, as a result, boost your bottom line.