Don't Ask What Their Open Rate Was

It's that time again:  Email Insider Summit, Captiva, 2011! And I hope to see every single one of you there. It always offers great content, amazing networking and often actionable solutions to attendees' problems. In looking at the line-up of attendees and speakers, I find a veritable pantheon of genius at your fingertips - so do yourself a favor and ask some questions that speak to the challenges you're facing so that you can get back to the office with solutions. (No, my enthusiastic endorsement was not paid for or solicited by MediaPost.) Whether you're able to attend the Summit or not, here's some helpful advice for getting the most out of these types of events.

More times than not, I sit at conferences and seminars and hear many of the same questions asked: "Do you have deliverability issues at AOL?" "What is your average open rate?"  Or my favorite so far: "Why can't the subject line be clickable?" While I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a stupid question, I do often wonder what the askers of such questions intend to take away from the response. So while you are packing up your sun gear (and bug spray -- don't forget the bug spray!), why not prepare a list of questions that will actually provide some insight to take back to the office and do something with?



Here's a list of ten questions you should consider asking at the next conference you attend.  Feel free to throw some more into the mix in the comments. I'd love to see what other productive questions we can come up with!

#1 - Your Challenge: Email Growth.  You are experiencing a significant amount of attrition in your database and are looking for new and clever ways to back-fill or grow your email database.

You Should Ask: What is the most creative and successful method you have employed for growing your email database? 

#2 - Your Challenge:  Dynamic Content. You really want to begin leveraging dynamic content, but first you need to find a way to efficiently manage asset creation and utilization without taxing existing resources.

You Should Ask: Do you leverage dynamic content within your email program today? If so, how many man hours do you utilize to create content -- and how do you manage things to be most effective and not overwhelm you? 

#3 - Your Challenge: Reengagement.  A significant percentage of your database does not seem to be responding to your email program, and you are considering building out a reengagement campaign to reactivate their interest in the program.

You Should Ask: Have you seen marked success with reengagement programs -- and if not, why do you think that is?

#4 - Your Challenge: Segmentation.  You have all kinds of data available about your customers/subscribers but are worried about over-targeting/segmenting.  

You Should Ask: What kind of data do you leverage to drive your email messages? When it comes to segmentation: the closer you get to a one-to-one message, does the segment perform better or worse? Why? 

#5 - Your Challenge: Expanding Programs.  It's time to breathe a little life into your email program, so you'd like to introduce a new communication or two to the mix.  

You Should Ask: What programs have you implemented that failed or that you pulled out of the line-up? Why do you think it didn't work -- and what did you learn from it? 

Here are a few additional questions you might want to consider lobbing to the group:

·       How do you position email within your company? Have you tried to change the positioning, and if so, was it successful?

·       What aspects of your email program do you in-source versus outsource? What efficiencies do you realize by doing so?

·       Do you remarket or retarget your subscribers based on interaction with your email content? How?

·       How much of your email program's success is dependent or reliant on your IT organization? Do you think successes could be realized if the two organizations were more closely aligned?

·       Right now, what's giving you the most problems?

Looking forward to great fun and great content at EIS.  Hope to see you all there -- and don't be surprised if you see me lurking in the shadows to see if you are actually asking these questions. OK -- I don't really lurk, but ya never know!

1 comment about "Don't Ask What Their Open Rate Was".
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  1. Rita from FreshAddress, Inc., April 28, 2011 at 11:34 a.m.

    Looking forward to the Summit....another consideration - What are you doing to maintain the integrity of your email records - which hygiene solutions have you employed to manage list churn? See you there!

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