Picture the jungle. Surrounding you is dense vegetation. There is intense competition for light. Animals of all shapes and sizes struggle for survival. It's a cheetah-eat-cheetah world out there. And only the fittest survive.
Now picture your inbox. The density of unread emails darkens your Outlook view pane. Colleagues from every part of your organization -- along with clients, vendors and brands of all types -- compete for your attention. Getting over 100 corporate emails a day can blur your vision!
Marketing messages to the primary inbox will swell to an average of more than 9,000 annually in 2014, according to Forrester's U.S. Email Marketing Forecast. That is a lot of email -- and you need to make yours stand apart. After all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Whichever way you look at it, email marketing is competitive. While the jungle analogy may seem aggressive, the truth is -- email marketing is a competitive space. It's a jungle "in" there!
So how do you become "king of the inbox"? Well maybe not quite "king" -- but there are some great ways to create a killer email campaign that drives real business results. And that can make you a real hero at your organization.
One, two, pounce: Consumers should be able to scan your email in a maximum of three seconds. Literally, they should very quickly know: 1) Who is the email from? 2) What's in it for me? And 3) How do I take action -- or "pounce"?
Know your prey: What are your target's weak spots? What are they motivated by? What do they want to hear? What will they respond to? According to Forrester's ROI of Email Relevance report, "non-relevant mailings continue to be the top reason why consumers opt out of email." Your consumer is much more likely to act if you hit a passion point, educate or simply entertain them. No one wants to waste his time on something that doesn't add value in some way.
Pick your moment: As any good hunter instinctively knows, not all moments are created equal. Plan and carefully execute your email at the moment your audience is most susceptible. According to the most recent eROI benchmark study of email-campaign click-through and open rates, Wednesday and Monday have the highest open and click rates. In addition, open rates increase as the day progresses, from a low of 21.4% at 8 a.m. to a high of 34.1% at 5 p.m. But experience shows that differs greatly by sector. Think about it. Would you really want to know about that great scotch-tasting party at 11a.m. on Tuesday (unless you were having a really bad day)?
Embrace evolution: Animals evolved to survive, keeping the traits that worked well and weeding out those that didn't. Do likewise. Each email should be a part of a testing plan. Repeat successful efforts and toss the others.
What you look like matters: Each animal has a distinct look. It's very important in the jungle to tell an aardvark from a baboon -- or from a cougar. Your brand should have an equally strong identity and behave in the way expected of them. No one wants to feed a cute little monkey a banana only to find that it has turned into a poisonous snake. Surprise is good, but only within the brand essence.