So you’ve worked all week crafting the perfect email campaign. You’ve surveyed your customers to find out what they’d like to see in your company’s newsletters, and you’ve made sure to include it. You’re sure you’ve got the right products, the right offer, the right sale, or even the right price. So all your readers have to do is wait by their inboxes and open your email campaign when it arrives, right?

Fantasyland Expectations

In an ideal world, yours is the only email that’s ever being sent to your information-hungry customers. They flip on their computers, log on to their emails and see your golden message waiting for them all by its lonesome. Heck, while we’re fantasizing, why not picture that your email campaign opens by itself, prints out on photo paper and walks to your customers’ dining room tables to be read as they eat their morning Cheerios?

Let’s face it, as excited as your subscribers are to hear about your great email offers; most won’t be expecting them unless you’ve adhered to the strictest of sending routines. Most likely, your email will arrive along with twenty or thirty other emails, in between news from their bank, a hello from a friend, and maybe a few Facebook message updates. If they are not expecting your email, it could just be lost in the shuffle.

Short from sending your readers an email campaign that tells them to look out for the email that warns them of the impending email that announces the big sale email, your customers have no way of knowing when your email is arriving if you don’t stick to a schedule.

Great Expectations Start with a Kept Schedule

Do you send out weekly news? Get that email out always on the same day and always at the same time. How about a monthly update? Make sure that it’s always sent at the same time of the month. Do this repeatedly and it will eventually be expected to arrive “on time” to your eager readers. They’ll open it because they know it is coming. There’s quite a thing to be said for regularity in email campaigns!

But what happens if your communiqués are more news-oriented? In the case of product news, be on time with it: either first with the announcement or after an expected time demoing the thing. Personally, I subscribe to two web vendors because I can either expect one to be first with tech gadget news or the other to chime in with a review within a week of its release. It’s easy: I trust them because they literally deliver.

Macy Gray Knew It and Wasn’t Afraid of It

Do you remember Macy Gray? She had great crazy style and an even greater hit some years back with the soulful ballad, “I Try.” What was even crazier was when she appeared on the MTV music awards with a dress emblazoned with the message, “MY NEW ALBUM DROPS SEPT 18, 2001 – BUY IT!” As laughable as some more fashionably snobby celebs might have thought that stunt, one thing was clear to the millions of television viewers: Macy Gray has a new album coming out, and we can expect it on September 18th!

Maybe you don’t sing as well as Macy Gray, but you definitely are as committed to your career too. At the moment that you’ve got your customers’ individual or collective attention, take the time to announce that you’re sending something special their way. Okay, so wearing a dress at your place of business that says, “MY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER DROPS EACH TUESDAY, READ IT!” might be a bit over the top. But having small, tasteful line-of-sight signage in your store serves as a friendly reminder to your customers that you’ve got something extra for them beyond today’s transaction. If you’re not brick-and-mortar, unobtrusive pop-up light boxes (or even simple text) on your website can be a good way to announce your announcements.

Do Your Part and Start at the Start

Perhaps the best place to start these expectations is in the sign-up process. If you’re using online sign-up boxes, state what you’re sending and when it can be expected, as in, “Sign up here to get our weekly deals bulletin every Monday in your inbox.” If you’re collecting names at a trade show or special event, put the promise on the sign-up forms or commit to the schedule before you show up. This way, you’ll have great confidence in what you’re going to say BEFORE you open up your mouth and start selling.

Remember, you could be the greatest salesperson in the world and have the greatest product, but a little expectation goes a long way. Your customers get a lot of email messages, and they all look alike before they’re opened. Condition them to the fact that your treat arrives dependably, and you’ll have the kind of success that a certain Dr. Pavlov would be proud of!