Whether you're setting up your radio station's email database for the first time, or your station has had one in place for years, it's a good idea to create an automated onboarding campaign for your email list. This onboarding campaign is sometimes known as a “drip” or “autoresponder” campaign. Something triggers the campaign — in this case, a listener signs up for your database. An email is sent immediately, then there's a delay before another email is sent, then a delay before another email, and so on until the entire sequence of emails in the campaign is completed.
The delay between emails can be whatever you set it to. I like to send out emails more frequently at first, then gradually space them out. For example, the first email might go out immediately, the second email would be sent 24 hours later, the third email a week later, and then the remainder of the emails might be spaced a month apart.
Note that unlike a normal email blast in which everybody receives the same email at the same time, in the onboarding campaign, each person receives the same email at a different time, depending on when they signed up. If I sign up today, I'll receive email #1 today. If you sign up next Thursday, you'll receive email #1 next Thursday. For this reason, the emails need to be evergreen; in other words, they need to be relevant no matter when somebody receives them.
When setting up the timing of your onboarding campaign, consider any other automated email campaigns that you send and space them our appropriately. You don't want listeners to be bombarded by several emails from your station in a single day, so you may want to set up your onboarding emails to go out at different times or even on different days.
Here are the instructions for sending automated email campaigns in some popular email service providers:
These automated campaigns are often referred to as a “marketing automation” tool, and platforms with marketing automation capabilities, such as Hubspot, will also allow you to set them up.
Mapping Out Your Email Onboarding Campaign
Before setting up your campaign, it's a good idea to grab an old fashioned pen and some paper to sketch out the topics for each email in the series. Here are some topics to consider:
- How to listen to the station: Once upon a time, the only way to listen to a station was to dial the tuner to the correct frequency. Now there are lots of ways to listen to your station, from Alexa to TuneIn to OTT apps. Consider creating an email that offers a list of different ways to listen, with a link to instructions for each. Alternatively, you could set up a single email in the campaign that focuses on each of the different ways to listen. For example, you might want to send out an email that shows people how to…
- Download the mobile app: Provides links for downloading the app in both the Android and iOS app stores.
- Check out the concert calendar: This is usually one of the most visited pages on the websites of music radio stations. Take advantage of its popularity by encouraging your subscribers to visit it.
- Meet the morning show: Link to the morning show's webpage for people who want to know more about them.
- Follow us on social media: Provide a list of links, or create multiple emails, each one highlighting a specific platform.
- Check out our YouTube channel: If you've put a lot of work into your videos, promote your channel to the database.
- Plug your specialty shows: Let people know about your local music show, your acoustic café, or your public affairs program.
- Hear key interviews / performances: Get some extra life out of that interview your station did with Snoop Dogg or Linkin Park by resurfacing it in your onboarding campaign.
Review Your Campaign Regularly
Once you set up your campaign, it will send out your emails for you. The hard work is done! But you should make a point of reviewing your onboarding campaign periodically — every six months or so — to make sure you aren't still sending your listeners a link to your old Debbie Gibson interview.
When looking at the metrics, pay special attention to the click through rate for the different emails. If you notice that the “Download Our App” email gets a lot of clicks but the “Listen to Our Podcast” email doesn't, you may want to move one up in the sequence order or remove the other email entirely. You can fine tune your campaign using the data you receive in your email analytics reports.
Email can be a powerful tool for radio stations, and by automating your campaigns you can save your overworked staff a lot of time. Invest a few hours in setting up a proper onboarding campaign and you can continually engage with your listeners without a lot of effort.
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