All About Email - The Last Word in Email Publishing

Monday, August 25, 2008

Absence makes the memory weaker

Let’s assume you use email as a marketing / communications tool for a reason - a good one that is – to engage your stakeholders in meaningful dialogue, and, from time to time, to call them to action.

One thing that is sure to diminish your ability to do this, in this oh-so-crowded email marketplace, is irregular communication with unpredictable gaps between missives.

I received an email recently from a company from whom I had not heard in a year. It took me a while to remember who they were and why I had subscribed in the first place. Sadly for them, I realised more quickly that they were not holding my attention, and unsubscribed.

Regular contact (allowing of course for high value and personalised content) enables you to build dialogue – which makes people less likely to disengage from it. It allows you to build anticipation from one communication to the next.

So it keeps your audience active, enthusiastic, and subscribed. As mentioned, you need to deliver the right content, but if you can do that, then you will have much higher response rates, and much lower unsubscribe rates.

You wouldn’t publish a magazine to which people were subscribed on an ad hoc basis – not for long, anyway. So don’t lose touch with your audience. Set a schedule, let people know what it is when they sign up, and keep to it – any keep in the forefront of their minds.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dear Customers, you are all the same...

Segmentation is a major buzz word in email marketing right now. It means splitting your database into groups – characterised by common themes – preferences, purchasing habits etc.

By segmenting, you can increase personalisation. By increasing personalisation, you can deliver increasingly directed and relevant marketing messages – which should lead to an upswing in transactions.

A potential client approached us last week – with a database of 27,000. He wanted to start segmenting and personalising. He had, however, no information except names and email addresses.

The question this raises is one of timing. At what point do you start gathering data about your customers? Is it a one-off or ongoing process?

As with most things, there is no universal formula for success.

Your data gathering strategy must be formed in the context of your business, and your audience.

But there is a basic principal which should be followed.

Use the sign up point to gather a limited, important amount of data which will allow initial personalisation. Win the customers trust with a series of interesting and relevant emails. At this point, ask for more data. Explain your request so that the benefits to the customer are their driving force in answering your questions.

Justify their faith in you by delivering what they want. Use the data you have to ensure that what you send them is always relevant and takes into account what they have told you.

A major benefit of this is the improvement in perceived dialogue between you and the customer. Personalised emails, containing a great deal of unique customer data and preference recognition, are far closer to a discussion that standard, generic marketing emails. Discussions lead to deals. That’s smart marketing.