To all of this, I say, nonsense! Just as direct mail still has a place in the communication mix, so too does email. The focus or application of email may change or evolve over time (as it has continued to do for decades), but without a doubt a need will still exist.
The biggest problem is that many see it as “just email.” It isn’t just email – it is a part of your customer’s experience and interaction with your brand; it contributes to thep erception your customers are forming about you every day; and it is a critical component to servicing your customers effectively. So please don’t call it “just email.”
How can you get out of this mindset? Consider these three tips:
Consider other channel interactions to influence email execution. Your customers are constantly engaging with your brand across multiple channels. Picking up on these channel signals, and augmenting a pre-determined messaging approach accordingly, is critical to long-term success. For example, if a customer shipment was lost or someone had a less-than-positive interaction with customer service, sending her an email to “buy more stuff” is probably not the right decision. Consider suppressing those with negative experiences from a mailing during that time period – or better yet, address the elephant in the room and use email to turn the negative experience into a positive one. The one thing we cannot afford to do is ignore the negative.
Find the right application of email for your customers. It isn’t wrong to think that the use of email may be changing, but it is still necessary to pursue the definition of the best use of the channel for your customer base. Depending on the demographic and psychographic make-up of your customer base, they may be more (or less) engaged with the email channel. Understanding channel preference for each type of communication type is an important factor in determining the proper message mix. It is not customer-centric to decide that every marketing message has to be sent via email – recognize customer preference and message accordingly.
Recognize that the customer is in control. Many marketers say they recognize the customer is in control of the relationship but very few actually apply the necessary logic to complete that vision. Recognize why, how and when your subscribers engage, leveraging behavior from every touch point, to dictate how you are going to message to the “me mentality” specifically.
It’s not just email. In the world of hyper-connected consumers, where every moment matters, it is your customer experience. One misstep and you could lose a loyal customer for good. So please, get rid of your channel mentality and understand why each touch point matters.