The $700 Billion Bailout And Email Marketing

I can't help but feel queasy about how current economic conditions are going to affect my business and the email marketing industry as a whole.  Not understanding the full ramifications of sub-prime derivatives, in January I predicted that a recession would be good for email marketing as companies increase their investment in lower cost marketing mediums with a strong ROI.  Even with frozen credit markets and a shrinking GDP I'm confidently standing by my prediction especially since the volume of my email subscriptions has spiked exponentially over the past couple of months.  

But too much of a good thing, as we have seen, is never good.  The phenomena of shrinking marketing budgets and increased pressure to grow sales has created an overuse of the email channel, presenting new challenges for email marketers as they try to cut through an overwhelming amount of clutter.  Instead of blindly increasing their email volume, now is the perfect time for marketers to fine-tune their efforts with new templates, time-release campaigns, triggers, data collection and other advanced techniques that help make for a better email experience that ultimately lead to sales.

It's Time for a Template Change
If you've been using the same templates for your newsletters or product displays for the past couple of years, now is the perfect time for a change (even if you're not voting for Barak Obama).  Cutting through the clutter is difficult and subscriber eyes get immune to repetitive patters.  By simply changing your template with a few bright colors, you can easily add new life to your email program and wake up tired eyes.  

Nurture Your Leads Until Their Budgets Comes Back
If you company has a long sales cycle, it just got longer.  If you haven't created an automated program to follow up with your cold and lukewarm leads, now is the time to implement one.  Remaining top of mind during bad times will pay dividends when the economy turns.

Be Trigger-Happy
Triggered email based on subscriber behavior allows your marketing to be dead on (all puns intended) providing sales supportive information exactly when your subscribers express interest.  At a time when maintaining sales are most important, focus triggered emails on the hard sell when interest is at its peak -- and maybe couple it with an incentive.  



Be a Data Hog
As much as you think you know your subscribers, you don't know enough.  Landing pages and surveys help to gather additional information about your subscribers that can be used to better personalize your campaigns.  Any advanced email marketer will tell you that data is the main driver behind truly successful email marketing.

Continue to Keep Your Volume at Tolerable Levels
During these hard economic times, you might feel pressure to blindly increase your volume from corporate management or industry peers.  Try not to fall into this trap by embracing a herd mentality; rather, make a good effort to evaluate the risks and benefits involved in increasing your volume.  Higher volume usually equates to higher attrition rates -- not necessarily higher sales.  If you have not offered your subscribers a volume limits program, now is the time to implement one.  Allow your subscribers to choose how often they want to receive your communications. Maybe they don't want to hear from you every week; perhaps twice a month works better for them.  Providing choice always provides a good opportunity to build a closer relationship with your subscribers.

While email is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools, especially in hard financial times, the best results are those that look fresh, attain the most amount of data and make your customers come back for more.

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