It's tempting to view the most recent statistics on global inbox placement -- which show 17% of legitimate messages failing to reach the inbox -- as a sign that marketers are complacent about deliverability, or that they aren't doing much to fix it. That view is wrong. A better-informed interpretation is that most marketers understand the challenge perfectly well and respond with sophisticated, data-driven actions to get their messages to the inbox -- but as mailbox providers adjust to a constantly shifting landscape of spam tactics and email abuse, even the successful senders are struggling to keep pace with adjustments.
As email marketers, we are regularly exhorted to make our communications more relevant. Avoid spray-and-pray, we're told, and watch response rates rise. However, most companies don't know how to send unique, personalized offers to each customer, even though today it is much easier than they suspect. Instead, most companies fall back to a divide-and-conquer strategy commonly called market segmentation. It has many benefits, but also many shortcomings.
Achieving balance does not necessarily mean that all elements are equal. It simply means that they are in the correct proportions. Building on this sentiment, let's consider how we can strike the right balance in our email marketing programs to drive engagement.
I'm a news junkie! I admit it! To continually feed my habit every waking hour, I subscribe to no fewer than 137 daily email newsletters, from big-name publishers to small niche bloggers, and I scan almost all of them on my four-inch iPhone 5s screen. In general, my daily email newsletter habit saves me a lot of time. It's quicker than jumping from app-to-app or site-to-site to satisfy my fix. However, at times I get frustrated and stumble from the routine of using my right thumb to scroll down and click. This frustration usually happens when I encounter a mobile-unfriendly …
Over the last 15 years, I've seen personalization deliver amazing lift, and I'd confidently say it's a best practice for most. From database-driven personalization of consumer information to collaborative and content-based filtering, the options are virtually endless to deliver that "perfect" message or experience. But does it always work? That's tough question to answer directly, as it would be blasphemy to suggest that attempts to use customer data to personalize an experience don't always help.
In my previous Email Insider, "'Mom, All I Want is to Change My Email Address,'" I outlined the often frustrating and annoying process of updating my email address on dozens of work-related subscriptions. Here, I'll outline some best practices that can help you reduce the number of subscribers you lose to address-change churn.
Subscriber attrition is a contentious topic among email marketers. Most folks fall into one of two very distinct camps: The Just-In-Case Crew: This faction wants to keep mailing lists large and opt-out rates low, even if conversion rates are modest. The Lean Marketing Machine: This group is eager to shed dead weight and target a smaller, more engaged audience that produces higher conversion rates. Regardless of which gang you get behind, there's one tactic that's universally valuable: the "opt-down" subscription option.
There's ample data to support the effectiveness of email marketing -- in particular, email newsletters -- yet it seems to have lost its appeal among marketers. Although a lot has changed since the "old days" and it may be more challenging to command attention in the inbox today, the reality is that email is not going anywhere. In fact, a recent survey showed that B2B content marketers rely on email newsletters as one of their top three marketing tactics. The key difference between today's newsletter and the ones we batch-sent a decade ago is data. With data-driven dynamic content, marketers …
In the new second edition of my book, "Email Marketing Rules,"I focus more on measuring success than on anything else except permission. That's because too often email marketers are using the wrong yardstick to measure the effectiveness of their programs. Here are three examples of how success is often measured incorrectly, leading to underperformance:
Email marketing can at times be a really thankless marketing channel. Email folks are typically under-funded, understaffed, work in the "red zone" more than half their waking life, and live in a world of vendor arbitrage. The challenge working in this type of environment is that "wins" are really hard to define and repeat, and hard to find inspiration for. As we enter the holiday season, finding key "wins" will be important not only for your morale, but also to create energy around your efforts in other camps in your organization.