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Catching Without Releasing: How Great Content Can Keep Your Subscribers Hooked


So you’ve got a decent email subscriber list to work with. Now what?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your list is to ignore it. Retention is equally if not more important than acquisition. With a loyal following, you can add up-sells, cross-sells and referrals to your marketing arsenal. So what keeps your subscribers from opting out?

Harris Teeter, a southern-based supermarket chain, is doing retention right. I subscribe to a number of their email lists, but this Fresh Catch seafood email has really reeled me in. (I’m going to cram as many fishing metaphors in here as possible. It’s inevitable.)

Each week, HT sends me an email packed with great content. From special savings to interesting factoids, this is an email that I open and read, every time. So what are they doing right?

Give them what they asked for.

When your subscribers originally opted in, what were they promised? Whatever it is, you should be delivering it. And then going above and beyond and giving them added value. The smallest gesture can create delight and encourage sharing and forwarding. Your subscribers need to know that every time they get an email from you, it’s going to include something of interest.

HT does this well. Not only do they dive right in with the Catch of the Week, but they give a little added value. Immediately following the Catch, there’s a recipe that uses that particular seafood. The recipe is supported by a video for a visual step-by-step. Smart.

Make them feel like a real catch.

Everyone wants to feel special. Giving your subscribers a sense of exclusivity goes a long way. In this case, HT has branded their list subscribers as members of the “Fresh Catch Club.” That branding then translates to “Special Savings for Fresh Catch Members,” which incentivizes the customer to purchase cedar planks for a discounted price. The price and the savings are both highlighted in a scannable, bold font. Along with the great deal, they include a link on how to grill with cedar planks.

Keep it continuously urgent.

Each week, HT includes seafood that’s “Too Fresh to Advertise!” Along with a sense of urgency due to the limited time, the items offered are accompanied by a “supplies are limited” message. Great prices for excellent fresh seafood that won’t be there for long—that’s gonna get people in the door.

Bait them with something unexpected.

I don’t know about you, but I love random factoids. And in the middle of this email, the content is pleasantly broken up by a blurb about scallop shells, pilgrims and booze. Okay, it just says “drinking,” but I’m going to assume it’s booze. Because if I were a Pilgrim and had to wear those weird shoes, I’d be drinking liquor. But I digress…

Reward them for reading.

This is a long email, but it’s supremely scannable and full of information that’s pertinent to the audience. So it’s nice that at the very end, we find that Fresh Catch Club members will receive a $5 electronic coupon for every $35 they spend on Fresh Catch items. With an end date to this special promotion and the stipulation that it only applies to FC seafood, this is a really smart way to encourage spending on the very items the email is promoting.

I’ve opted out of a lot of email subscriptions due to oversaturation and lackluster content. But I’m sticking with the HT Fresh Catch email. It’s relevant, has fantastic deals and great value adds. Get inspired by the simple and direct messaging in this email, and you’ll find yourself with a loyal subscription base.