I can hear you now: "What??? You always say I'm supposed to send a welcome message to new subscribers, and now you tell me it's dead? What gives??"
"We have to let everyone know about this." That phrase is common in marketing departments of all sizes, across all verticals, around the world. What "this" is could be a limited-time promotion, the opening of a conference's registration, the receipt of a prestigious award -- you name it. Whatever your brand, there is frequently something pertaining to it that is important enough to share with as many people as possible. Up until recently, the common rejoinder to that phrase was, "OK, let's send an email." Today it is not so simple. Not only do most of us not enjoy 100% …
Wednesday was my birthday, and I spent the day on the road traveling for business. When I finally reached my destination, I was determined to celebrate my birthday. Thankfully, I like the folks I am traveling with, so we opted to go to a local bar for a beer and bite to eat. It was late, and I was hungry. We decided that the first "interesting" thing to jump off the menu was going to be dinner. And so it was that this crazy-ass burger found its way to my table.
Email strategy is shaped by the questions we ask. Most companies seem to ask if they are sending too much email. Even worse, they assume they are sending too much email. I can only assume this is based on a slew of reports and research studies that ask questions like, "Why do you unsubscribe from email?" As a researcher, I have asked this exact question in surveys. It's a fair question, and frequency is almost always the most commonly cited reason why people unsubscribe. Similarly, ask people how often they would like to receive email from companies and they are …
Last year, when I examined how major retailers handle inactives, I was alarmed that most still emailed subscribers who had not opened or clicked an email in over three years. Since that research was published, smanaging inactives has thankfully become a hot topic. While some are trying to dispel the whole notion that mailing long-term inactives is a danger at all, there's mounting evidence that smart marketers are taking prudent steps to improve their deliverability and email revenue by using engagement metrics.
We are a product of our own success. The industry has masked scale problems and hidden behind terms like "attribution" or "optimization." The challenge is, we have the same amount of resources we had last year, and while technology has advanced and everyone's in the cloud (or their heads are), decisions have not gotten easier to make. It's not about big data, or the cloud, or even analytics, it's about making decisions faster.
Emails that remind customers to come back and finish checking out their shopping carts are some of the highest-ROI messages a marketer can send. So why aren't you deploying these high-value emails yet?
For years we accessed information via computers much the same way we consumed it via the old tube radios, which took up huge amounts of space and required us to make the time and effort to go to them. Thanks to smartphones and tablets, email marketers now find themselves at the same crossroads radio was at decades ago. Marketers must now adapt their methods and messages to stay relevant, or be left behind by the mobile consumer.
I know it's tough to plan a test; it takes a lot of work to generate a hypothesis, create assets and content accordingly, structure the test, send it, and measure and analyze the results. But each little insight you make adds up to a better understanding of your subscribers and their preferences. If you're committed to testing (and you should be), there is always something you can test, even in the simplest of campaigns.
Mobile open rates are rising faster than expected. If this trend continues, these rates will overtake opens on webmail and desktop email clients by the end of the year, or even as soon as this summer. Here's what I see as the three big implications of the boom in mobile email: