The ABCs Of Email Marketing

It's amazing that it's December already and time for the Email Insider Summit in Park City. Sadly, I won't be there. Thanks to a 50-MPH wind that caught hold of my car door and slammed my head, I now have the kind of injury typically sustained by football and hockey players: a concussion. At the advice of my doctor, I won't be on a plane for a few more weeks, but I will be there in spirit!

As part of the neurological assessment I endured, I was asked about words that begin with the letter… well, take your pick. Oddly enough, many of the ones that popped to mind were email-related. For fun, I figured I would carry it through the alphabet and share my ABCs of email. Feel free to share yours as well!

Analyze Your Data
There is a wealth of information at your fingertips, even if  it’s "just" your email engagement information, which contains valuable insights. Don't just sit on it.

Blast is a Dirty Word
Need I say more?

Conversations Should  be Had
Email is a relationship channel; you should be engaging in conversations with your recipients, and not just talking at them.

Deliverability is Still Important
The need to get to the inbox has not diminished in importance. It seems there has been some focus taken off it by some, but don't lose sight!

Evolve Your Programs
I know that if it ain't broke, you aren't so worried about fixing it, but don't let the continued growth and evolution of your programs die. Complacency should not be your mindset.

Find Your Groove
Best practices are out there for you to reference as a rule of thumb, not as the sacred grail from which to run your email programs. Find what works best for your customers and your brand.

Get to the Point
Come on, guys -- recipients don't want to read on and on about your latest offer. Tell 'em what they want to know and call it a day.

Have Some Fun
Email is a very casual marketing channel, so have some fun with it (if your brand allows for it).

Inject Personality
Email is also a very personal channel.  Don't come off as the corporate slug that no one wants to talk to. Relate to your recipients and refer back to letter "H."

Jump at Moments
Email is a quick-to-market channel, so you should seize moments that present themselves as opportune. Don't plan it to death.

Keep it simple, stupid! Yes, you need to make sure you are talking to the right people, with the right message, at the right time -- but try to keep focus and not make it so difficult to manage that you just give up.

Leverage the Lifecycle
Identifying the right moment in time to message to your customer should always be the goal. There are also obvious moments in time that lend themselves to lifecycle communications: welcome, purchase, anniversary, take your pick. And take advantage.

Mobile Optimization
Your email should look great on all devices, responsive or not. Make sure messages are easy to engage with.

Open Rates
I know that they are not the most reliable metric, what with image suppression and all, but they do tell you which recipients actually saw your email with images on -- something of a render rate, if you will. This is still good information to have. Don't discount it completely.

Progressive Profiling
Learn about your recipient through various interactions: ask questions in the email, record responses, and evolve the conversation naturally instead of trying to figure them out all at once.

Quality versus Quantity
You should want people in your database who want to engage in this conversation with you. Just because you have a lot of people receiving your email doesn't mean they care.

You know I couldn't avoid it. You have to share with people the content they want; it isn't all about what you have to say!

Segment and Target
You don't have to get down to a 1:1 level to be successful in targeting your customers. Find like-minded segments and message accordingly.

Test, test, test.
Email is an easy channel to test in; you should.

Use What You Know
Apply what you have learned about your program and your recipients' engagement to drive greater success for your program. The metrics are there for a reason; use them.

Verify Hypothesis
Everyone thinks they know what works for your email program. Prove it.

Work Through It
Not every challenge is going to have an immediate and obvious answer, but don't give up. Keep working toward a solution.

X Um, yeah… I have no clue.

Your Data.
Use it. Please.

Zero Excuses.
If your program isn't successful, you have no one to blame but yourself.

What are your ABCs of email marketing?



7 comments about "The ABCs Of Email Marketing".
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  1. Jason Klein from Selligent, December 6, 2012 at 12:26 p.m.

    For "X" how about "eXcise bad and dormant addresses"?

  2. Kara Trivunovic from Epsilon, December 6, 2012 at 1:46 p.m.

    N - - I missed N! So here is mine:
    New subscribers should be welcomed and on-boarded appropriately. Don't just start sending them email.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 6, 2012 at 2:07 p.m.

    Bad car! Please take care and feel better !

  4. Kara Trivunovic from Epsilon, December 6, 2012 at 2:17 p.m.

    Thanks @Paula Lynn! On the bright side, I saved my daughter from an injury - I figured my head was better than hers :)

  5. David Horwedel from Dell Inc., December 6, 2012 at 5:57 p.m.

    I love Insider Summits and the fact that you captured so many of the email marketing ABC’s.
    A few more added below (some letters are loved more than others):

    I: Inactive subscriber actions. Reactivate, prompt to act or just suppress from mailings.
    N: Newbie welcome emails. Old school, but I like a warm welcome email with some contact info, expectations and perhaps a discount code.
    S: Subject lines. Compelling subject lines can lead to an open vs. auto-delete. Esp Mobile.
    S: Sharing. Make it easy to share your info socially.
    T: Trigger emails. Beyond life-cycle, remember the automated emails for exceptional events.
    X: X out the superfluous images (per both KISS and Mobile ready).

  6. Alison Davis from Davis & Company, December 7, 2012 at 5:43 a.m.

    Very clever, Kara, especially for someone with a concussion. But, more importantly, a great reminder about the ABCs (basics) of email. Thanks. (Feel better)

  7. Kara Trivunovic from Epsilon, December 7, 2012 at 8:55 a.m.

    Well done on the X David! The others as well - you are right, some letters get more love than others, it was a struggle to keep to the alphabet.

    Thanks to everyone that commented and the well wishes on the head injury :)

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