You’ve Got Mail

Several months ago I had the pleasure of attending a great conference on new and emerging media. As we sat through a series of interesting presentations I was looking through the agenda and saw that our next presentation was going to be on email marketing. Really? Email marketing. Does anyone still do that?

After listening to this presentation I realized two things:

(1) Dah, of course companies are still using email. I don’t know about you, but my inbox is full before I even step foot in my office door each morning. (2) But, a lot of companies aren’t using email the right way!

So, what should be considered when using email as a tool in your marketing arsenal? Here’s a quick run-down of the key points I walked away with:

Email is most effective when used as a retention tactic. It is not very effective at gaining new customers. But since gaining new customers can cost 5x more than retaining the ones you already have, shouldn’t you focus a key percentage of your budget to keeping the customers you do have happy?

List quality is king. Without a good list your chance for success is slim. And GOOD does not necessarily equal LARGE. The QUALITY of the names on your list is more important than the QUANTITY of names on your list. Your list should be made up of qualified individuals who are active participants in your brand and who have told you they are interested in knowing more.

Segmenting your list is critical to success. You can’t just rely on sending the exact same message to every person in your database. Use segmentation to push useful information to each of your target segments. This requires you to know something about the person you are communicating with. Age? Gender? Interests? What have they purchased from me before? Use segmentation to deliver a more personal, one-to-one communication versus a one-to-many.

Know the CAN SPAM rules. And follow them to the tee. They aren’t very difficult but can make a world of difference in your success and deliverability. A few key highlights: include a physical address in your email, always have an unsubscribe option, be sure your “from” address is legitimate, and don’t be deceptive in your subject line or content.

After listening to this presentation I know I’ll be looking for ways to integrate an email-marketing program into some of our clients media mix. If done correctly, it really can be a great tool to continue communicating with your customers.

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