In 1998, the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romantic comedy "You've Got Mail" was released. Buoyed by an infectious consumer enthusiasm over the freshness and marvel of instantaneous person-to-person electronic communication, the film grossed a quarter of a billion dollars at the box office. If you're in the email industry, you don't just remember the late '90s; you pine for them. People (they were just "people" then, not consumers or subscribers or -- gasp -- segments) genuinely liked getting email.
I've heard a lot of discussion about cadence lately. Everyone seems to want a magic frequency number that will cause stars and planets to align and customers to read emails in the kind of loving detail that you normally see only determined children attempt as they sound out dinosaur names. If you have subscribers clamoring for more email from you, consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us, here are some starting points for finding your own answers to the five most commonly asked questions about cadence:
We all have tasks we need to accomplish to make our organizations successful -- but when you are competing in the inbox for your subscribers' attention, considering the subscriber can take you far! It's a page out of direct marketing 101: Look to the customer. Consumers are savvy and smart -- and they want to be inspired by you. Here are three tactics to consider for motivating your subscribers:
The list growth challenge is solved through a combination of creativity and deep customer insight. In March and April, I directed an extensive series of focus groups, interviews, and surveys to understand the motivations behind consumers' engagement with brands online. Three important rules for list growth emerged from our findings:
I've always been alarmed by how heavy-handedly some retailers promote sister brands in their emails -- with the most disrespectful approach being to opt in subscribers of one brand to receive emails from all your brands without even being upfront about it. I still find it shocking that companies justify this kind of behavior by writing cross-brand permission into their privacy policies. It's well established that people don't read privacy policies, so including such statements doesn't protect you from spam complaints or brand damage. Yet there are ways to cross-promote sister brands safely. Consider the following.
Is there a better way to get people to sign up for your emails than using a form that looks like it was created by the Census Bureau? And is there a better way to assure readers of your good intentions than placing inches of tiny grey type in the legal section of the email?
We marketers are living in a revolutionary age, where technology, customer expectations and an explosion of new communication channels are transforming everything from the way we do our job to our roles in our company's success. Despite this upheaval and flavor-of-the month pressures from the C-suite, email remains the workhorse of our digital marketing strategy: delivering consumer value, brand engagement, cost savings and revenue. While some like to lament email as boring and "so last century," in fact many of the trends that shape this new marketing paradigm are also helping to fuel email marketing's continued relevance and vitality.
It's shocking that so many email marketers don't design their emails so they look good on smartphones and so the content can be used by smartphone apps. I can't count how many times I have referred back to an email for a phone number or address. With my smartphone, I can call someone simply by clicking on the phone number. Likewise, I can map an address by clicking on the address. You'd be surprised how many marketers leave this information off their emails.
Picture the jungle. Surrounding you is dense vegetation. It's a cheetah-eat-cheetah world out there -- and only the fittest survive. Now picture your inbox. The density of unread emails darkens your Outlook view pane. Whichever way you look at it, email marketing is competitive. While the jungle analogy may seem aggressive, the truth is -- email marketing is a competitive space. It's a jungle "in" there!
Does swapping business cards at a networking event, meeting, social function, etc, give people the right to add you to their database and start sending you their e-newsletter? This was the question posted about a month ago in the eMarketing Association Network LinkedIn group. As I write this, there are 267 comments (now 273 ... 278). Before I dissect the answers, I think it's time to clear up some confusion about email vs. email marketing. Sending an email is not the same as executing an email marketing campaign.