All About Email - The Last Word in Email Publishing

Monday, January 26, 2009

Less is More

As an enthusiastic online shopper, when I discover a site that sells something I might want to buy, now or in the future, I always look to see if they have an email newsletter I can sign up to.

The other day I sat down and looked at my online shopping patterns, and noticed a trend.

Virtually all of my buying is prompted by email from the vendor. I don’t always buy what their email is promoting – sometimes it just puts them in front of mind, and leads me to buy something else from their site.

But rarely will I go and buy something unless I get an email from them.

Let’s assume for a moment that I am not alone in this – that I am an element of a trend. What does it mean for email marketers? Should they be filling their messages with more content, encouraging recipients to buy more and more things, or should they recognise that some buying is offer driven, some not, and use email partly to highlight one or two juicy offers, and partly just to maintain vendor awareness?

I think the latter. Content intensive emails lose a lot in translation. Very few people read one email containing 25 special offers before clicking a link to something they want to buy. Emails which try and promote every offer available on a site are just replicating the work of the site – unnecessarily, IMHO.

Email is a prompt and alert tool, not a cataloguing device. So we at Inbox are currently telling all our retail clients to look at cutting down the copy, and increasing the impact of their message – and resulting sales.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If only they had a cunning plan!

Looking, with increasing gloom, at the huge volume of marketing emails that are flooding into my inbox right now from increasingly desperate retailers, I reached a point of realisation yesterday. It is not email marketing at all; in most cases it is email advertising.

People are sending me adverts, usually an exact replica of ads from other media, by email. I have only one word for this - stupid!

Stupid because it assumes that email presents adverts in the same way as print.

Stupid because it shows an absolute ignorance of how people read and react to email.

Stupid because (can't believe I am still saying this) it shows that marketers have still failed to embrace email and learn about it - they just see it as a cheap alternative to other media.

It amazes me that companies such as Dick Smith, Noel Leeming, Air NZ etc employ agencies / marketing bods with so little nous.

Doubtless the bods in question will soon be looking for jobs as the recession bites further and their inept marketing strategies are revealed for what they are!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Farewell to Ferrit - thank god!

The timely demise of Ferrit should serve as a wake-up call to many online retailers in NZ. A common theme amongst the myriad of comments made about Ferrit experiences was the appalling after sales service. For online retailers, the sales process does not end when the buyer clicks buy now, pays with a credit card and awaits their goods. It ends only when those goods arrive, in a satisfactory condition.

Any successful online retailer will tell you this. But for some reason they are few and far between. Given the uniformity of access, and often price, on the internet - there are no local shops - to not deliver the best possible service is commercial suicide.

The best online retailer I have experienced in NZ is Gourmet Direct - they make it their business to ensure you receive what you have ordered, on time and in good shape. They will always have my business, irrespective of competitive pricing. Customer loyalty for online retailers is critical.

Ferrit was a poor site in every way - poorly constructed, understocked, weak content, technically inadequate and appallingly marketed.Even with Telecom's billions behind it it could not make a go of it, even in a country where online retailing is generally behind the times and consumers less savvy.

What makes this doubly sad is that NZ, with its geographically diverse population, is ideal for online retailers. But the market needs a wake-up in order to start delivering. Maybe the end of Ferrit will be just that.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Will email save the world in 2009?

Here comes 2009 - a year in which we will all be under pressure, people and businesses alike. Businesses in particular, mainly retailers have already felt the squeeze. Some have gone under, and things will only get worse.

Each day, emails are reaching my computer from increasingly desperate retailers, offering more and more incentives to buy from them, at increasingly cheap prices. Stock must be shifted.
So will email save these retailers? Yes, it is cheaper, faster and more direct. It thus offers a very effective medium to communicate with past and present customers.

But that is not enough. It will be the message sent that decides whether the email marketing campaign works. It is a concept that is still not understood by most companies using email marketing.

To receive an email on Monday offering you an LCD TV at $X, followed by another 2 days later offering the same product even cheaper will not work. That's the tone of many messages arriving right now. It smacks of despair.

So yes, email could offer a lifeline to some retailers, but it needs to be planned, strategised, tailored to the medium and smart!