Dear Email Diva: One challenge that I face is how to treat the amount of click-throughs and the click-through experience for a non-ecommerce campaign. The strategy for a non-ecommerce campaign is to use email to drive consumers to the physical store as opposed to driving them to a site, but I feel the success of email also relies on the level of customer interaction with your brand, i.e., the email and site.
Last week, a couple of my colleagues had a disagreement about the value of industry organizations. One believes that these groups haven't done much over the years, offer little value to professional marketers, and are all about the money. The other believes that without providing a conduit for discussing the issues that face the channel in general and bringing professionals together to help draw attention to concerns and issues, the industry has no voice.
"You only get one chance to make a good first impression." The adage is true for any relationship, including email marketing relationships. And for email marketers, that relationship begins with their subscriptions practices.
Just because your grandma can email better than your 16-year-old doesn't make it yesterday's technology. Here's my quick list of the innovations that keep email a fresh and vital component of an effective marketing strategy....
Dear Email Diva, I work for a Web 2.0 start up and am in the process of building a series of transactional confirmation emails for our customers. These are primarily "alert" type messages. My instinct is to brand these emails with our logo and a standard set of navigation along the top. They would still be transactional emails, but would include other links back to our Web site (but no ads). I noticed that companies such as MySpace and Friendster send these types of emails in text-only. Do you have any insight into why?
If you are like most marketers, you are hard-pressed simply to plan and execute your marketing programs, much less come up with advanced testing scenarios that yield a blend of qualitative and quantitative data. There has been a lot written about testing in the email channel, and I've warned many times about not testing just for its own sake. Yet I'm still amazed to see companies that can't find time to structure testing into their game plan.
This week I'm putting the final touches on the 2007 Retail Email Subscription Benchmark Study, which looks at the email subscription practices of 118 of the largest online retailers. The report won't be available until next week, but I wanted to share some of the unique subscription practices that I found used by only one retailer in each case. In most cases these unique practices were interesting and noteworthy, but others induced a bit of head-scratching.
Passive revenue. Subscription models. Automatic renewal. All words that fill entrepreneurs and VCs with happiness. If you can pull it off, you'll be kicking back on a beach in Fiji while your bank account increases by the minute. Your customer base will expand, your revenues will skyrocket, and your expenses will stay pretty much the same. God bless scalability. So how can you use email marketing to reach subscription Shangri-La?
Everyone agrees that personalizing email according to consumer preferences is a good thing. Most, however, gloss over the challenges: 1. Most consumer databases do not have preferences for all of its members. If you send email only to those with a preference, you limit your reach. 2. If you ask for a preference, you must be prepared to provide content for that preference on a regular basis.
We often get so entrenched in our worlds of digital marketing we forget to be a consumer. But are we far too biased and savvy as consumers to be a true reflection of the attitudes and opinions of our customers? Remember, you are a power user of email and the Web. I thought this piece about email from a writer who I know well would lend a refreshing perspective.