Do you write creative briefs for your e-mail campaigns? Your initial response may be, "Oh, no, creative briefs are painful and create more work." After all, do we really care about the target audience, performance metrics or attitudes? At the end of the day, I think we do.
A/B testing, where the performance of one piece of creative is compared to another, can be costly. So I thought it would be beneficial to help some of you small guys out there with some "free" advice. And "free" is exactly what we'll be looking at.
What content should you include in your e-mails? There are ways to focus your efforts that yield a big difference in terms of customer satisfaction. The first and most difficult step is to make sure your company's stakeholders "get it." They need to understand that e-mail content cannot be focused solely on the message the company wants to send; it must be blended with content the recipient wants to read.
The annual Direct Marketing Association (DMA) conference is always an interesting event for me to attend because, as someone who comes from a direct marketing background, I like to see how this offline arena is working with and being affected by my current field of e-mail marketing.
Over the years, I've written some controversial columns that got me into hot water more times than I can count. Usually it is some company screaming about something, or a wannabe pundit who lets me know in no uncertain terms what a moron I am. I have one dedicated reader who sends me e-mails pointing out all the spelling mistakes and typos in my article. But without a doubt, the most reaction I've had was from a column I wrote here a number of months ago on Nigerian e-mail scams.
If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there. Do you know what you want from your e-mail marketing investment in 2006? Now is a great time to take stock of what's happened in 2005 and develop your plans for next year.
Every six months I go through a process I call the "Ostrich Effect." I pick a few e-mail partners on whom I feel I can bank my reputation, and then bury my head in the sand for half a year. I typically surround myself with technology partners, service partners, niche partners, list partners and analytics partners that can support my practice. Yet twice a year I pull my head out of the sand and take a fairly close look at the partner landscape, to see if I'm getting what I think I should be getting.
If you're a small-business owner, you may find that other interactive marketing channels just aren't a viable option.With a properly managed e-mail list, you open up a dialogue with your customer. The ability to upsell, cross-sell, and develop a small army of repeat customers is only available through e-mail.
URUE. You are the User Experience. At the recent Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Conference, the group's CEO, Andy Sernovitz, discussed this simple phrase that says so much. It made me consider how subscribers perceive their experience with a company's e-mail program: does it feel like a disjointed barrage of marketing messages, or is it a positive experience? Here are a few ways to move from the former to the latter.
Although views of Customer Relationship Management have evolved over the years, there was great insight and logic in what some of the early visionaries of this practice preached. One such set of experts wrote a white paper for Gartner in 2003 in which they coined the enduring concept of "Five Value States" for Enterprise CRM. ("Management Update: The Evolution of Customer Relationship Marketing"-- G. Herschel, J. Radcliffe, K. Collins; Gartner, Inc., December 2003