The Reply Email: The Fastest Way To Build Profitable Relationships With Email Marketing

In this article, we're going to break down what a reply email is, why you should use them for your brand, and how to actually set one up in both your flows and campaigns.

Bryan Starck

Bryan Starck

Founder @ 100 Celsius

How To Start with Email
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    Do you ever feel like your email marketing is too one-sided? Like you're just blindly shouting about your products to your list?


    Or do you struggle to come up with enough fresh and engaging content to write about? (Especially when you're not running a sale, or if you only have 1-2 products).


    If so, you'll want to use a technique called "The Reply Email".


    The Reply Email is of the easiest and best ways to blast through writer's block, send more engaging emails, and actually start a dialog with your customers.


    You can even send it 1, 2, or even 3 times a month to your list to drive massive engagement and even sales.


    In this article, we're going to break down what a reply email is, why you should use them for your brand, and how to actually set one up in both your flows and campaigns.

    What Exactly Is A 'Reply Email'?


    Picture any of the brands that you support and get emails from. From supplements, apparel, gadgets, to food... there are plenty of them emailing you every day.


    The emails will all look different, and might use exciting images and copy... but the last element is almost always the most important: the Call-To-Action.


    A call-to-action is the part of the email that tells the reader exactly what action to take. That could be where to click, or how to take the next step.


    A Reply Email is any email where you explicitly ask your reader to "Hit Reply" and respond to the email itself as the primary (or one of the primary) calls to action.


    When someone responds to your email, their reply goes directly to the sending account you've set up, allowing you to do a number of really exciting things.

    Why Should You Use Reply Emails As Part Of Your Email Marketing Strategy?

    Asking customers and subscribers to reply to your emails is one of the very best things you can do for your email marketing experience. Here are a couple of the incredible benefits:


    Benefit #1

    You can curate customers' replies for creating content that specifically resonates with your audience.


    Remember, the best content and sales copy comes directly from your customer's mouths. So when subscribers reply to questions you ask them, they're giving you literal marketing gold.


    You can use these email responses as nearly unlimited content and topics for future emails, social media posts, youtube videos, blog posts, testimonial emails, and etc.


    Benefit #2

    It's amazing for boosting your deliverability and email domain reputation. ISP's treat responses as the "gold standard" for engagement.


    This is a must when crafting a strategically thought-out email marketing strategy for your eCommerce store. Even more so now with the latest developments in privacy and Apples' iOS 15 Announcements.


    Whether you're on Shopify, Shopify Plus, or even a custom-built funnel, when someone responds to your email, future emails you send them are almost guaranteed to be delivered straight to their inbox, not their spam.


    Benefit #3

    Asking for replies to your emails creates a powerful positive engagement cycle with your audience.


    When they see that you are not only proactively asking for their participation via email, but also responding to it, they become addicted to engaging even more.


    You've demonstrated to your customers that you're actually listening to them, which is something only a small fraction of brands do.

    What Exactly Does A Reply Email Look Like?


    To put some specifics around this idea, here's an example of an effective reply email:


    "Hey {{first_name}}, thanks for joining my list the other day.


    In order to make sure I'm only sending you the most helpful content, I wanted to ask you a quick question:


    [Insert easy-to-answer Question] (ie what are your goals, what are you doing related to [category])


    Can you take a couple of seconds right now and let me know? Just hit reply to this email and share your answer.


    You can just reply with "Yes" or "No", or you can write me a full paragraph.


    The more you share, the more likely I am to be able to send you some helpful info down the line




    Let's break down what's going on in this email, and the specific qualities that make it so effective at generating replies.


    The Framework:

    1. The Context
    2. The Question
    3. The Reply Ask
    4. The Script


    The Context: This is the first part of the email, and it's where you tell them why are you about to ask them this question, and why they should care (aka, "what's in it for me").


    The Question: This is the question you want them to answer. And in order to generate the maximum amount of replies and engagement, the question you ask needs to be extremely clear and specific.


    Additionally, the easier to answer your question is, the better. If it takes too many mental calories to answer your question, most people will just skip it. But if it only takes 5-10 seconds to respond or they can respond in just a few words, many people will do it.


    The Reply Ask: This is where you actually ask people to respond, and explain how to do it. Aka, literally tell them - "hit reply to this email and respond". If you don't, many people won't know that that's what they actually need to do to engage.


    The Script: This is what really takes your response rate to the next level. At the end of the email, you ideally want to give your reader a specific word or phrase that they can respond with ("You can just respond with 'Yes' or 'No'").


    This reduces so much mental energy needed for people to engage, while also leaving the door open for people who want to share a longer response.

    Where you can use this email

    Reply emails are incredibly versatile, and can really be everywhere in your email program. However, one of my favorite places to incorporate them is in your automated email flows.


    You can include a reply email in your welcome series, your abandoned cart series, your post purchase series, or any other place you can think of.


    Because these flows are both automated and "evergreen", when you include a reply email, you're literally creating an automated customer engagement and deliverability-boosting asset that runs 24/7, 12 months a year.


    You can also use reply emails in your broadcast campaigns. They are an incredibly powerful strategy to use as social proof emails to build momentum for launches, sale events, and other campaigns.


    You can also ask your audience’s opinion about all kinds of topics, and use their answers to create nearly endless streams of content ideas.

    Reply Email Essentials: How To Do It Right

    Reply emails are one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for nurturing an engaged, profitable email list. But if you decide to use these types of emails, there are a few things you need to think about:


    1. Make sure that if you ask for a reply, and if you say you're gonna get back to people... actually do it! This can be a powerful, powerful tool in your arsenal, but if you abuse it, it can easily break trust with customers.


    Personally, I prefer not to commit to responding directly to everyone who replies to my emails. Instead, I like to mention that because of how many people are on our email list, we can't respond to everyone. However, we do read every single email that we receive.


    2. If you send these types of emails... you will get both replies AND customer support responses ("where's my order", etc). Make sure you are ready for them.

    Create a list of your probable FAQs, have it on hand and familiarize yourself with it, that way you can easily answer the questions your customers might have.


    The best practice is also to set up a separate, monitored inbox to send your emails from. That way, you can keep engagement responses largely separate from support issues so your customer service team doesn't become overloaded. Or, you can connect that inbox with a customer support tool like Zendesk to make things easy.

    Final Thoughts

    One of the fastest ways to build profitable relationships with your audience is thru engagement — and the reply email is the answer!


    It can be a powerful tool for your eCommerce business because it can help you to create fresh new content, to create engagement, and to drive more sales to your business.

    Need Help With Email Marketing?

    Here at 100 Celsius, we specialize in helping eCommerce brands make massive profits and create lifelong fans with email marketing.