Email marketers are always on the lookout for the next best thing. We always want to be recognized as “thinking outside the box.” This kind of entrepreneurial spirit is what we’re all about as we go off into the digital world. Some recent studies have suggested that around 95% of all email is really SPAM. At first glance, this can be a pretty scary number to us as senders. The reality is that this is a great opportunity for email marketers to take control of an opportunity. This means that you only have to compete with the 5% of messages that are legitimate. How do we take advantage of the lack of effective email marketing? I suggest we get back to basics and explore a different way of thinking about email marketing. Are you ready for a mind-twisting thought? Thinking “inside the box” is the new “thinking outside the box.”
What exactly do I mean by this statement? I want each of you to take an honest and simple look at your email programs. First, ask yourself some foundational questions:
What am I trying to accomplish with email?
Who is my audience?
Why do my customers sign-up for email?
If I was a customer, what would be my expectation of the email I was going to receive?
Do I educate my customers on the benefits of my email program?
Do I have a frequency plan?
Are my messages relevant to each recipient?
Do I have a goal in mind each time I send an email?
What is my bounce rate?
What is my complaint rate?
Do I historically track my stats for comparison?
Am I testing with regularity?
These questions are the basic building blocks for any successful email program. These are also questions whose answers can pretty easily be pushed aside to be answered another day. Revenue pressures, the need to increase engagement and subscribers, perceived deliverability issues, and executive pressures are all factors that can cause us to get off track from time to time. A common misconception goes something like this. I send to 10,000 addresses today and sell 100 widgets. If I send to 20,000 addresses tomorrow, I will sell 200 widgets. This type of flawed logic gets us away from our basic questions and mission. Email marketing is about the recipient, not the sender. If you build a relationship with the recipient and give them something of value, the relationship will pay dividends.
When we hear about the “end” of email as a medium, it is that 95% of unwanted email that drives the perception. Now more than ever, it is time to focus on what your customers and prospects want to see. Bring your thinking back into the box of good marketing plans and communications, and see your results soar.
– Kevin Senne, Premiere Global Services