All About Email - The Last Word in Email Publishing

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Where is it?

I was recently asked to review the eMedia strategy of a part catalogue, part online retailer. The company had been surprised by the growth of sales online, and was considering an investment in strategic thinking to maximise this new revenue stream.

So I went to their site and, as I do on these occasions, tried to sign up for their email newsletter. I am a veteran at sniffing out well hidden sign up pages, but this time I was really tested.

Eventually I found it (I think), hidden at the very bottom of the long home page, under the guise of Join XYZ company. I say I think, because I still have no idea what I signed up for, or joined, for that matter. No confirmation email, no promise of a forthcoming email newsletter, nothing. It asked me for a lot of personal information as well, information I was reluctant to give out without knowing why.

My conclusion, which I sent on to the client, was that an emedia strategy would be a good idea, as they clearly had none.

In order to maximise the potential of a site of this kind, you need to understand the mentality and differetn types of site visitors you will get.

Some will be there to buy, and will be regular visitors - for now we will put these to one side, and focus on the others - the ones you never know about.

Casual site visitors should be identified and captured - an email newsletter is a great way to do this, so make the sign up very prominent, and incentivise it - once captured, you have the opportunity, through smart communications, to convert casual visitor to regular, regular to customer.

If you do not know who they are, you may never see them again, and you can do absolutely nothing to influence their behaviour..

Do not ask for too much, or irrelevant information when they first sign up - it can be very offputting. Ask for key data - name, email, location, and perhaps a checkbox list of options which will enable you to personalise your communications to them - sectors they might be interested in, for example.

And make sure you sell them the benefits of signing up and remaining a recipient of your newsletter on a regular basis.

Once they have signed up, they should immediately receive a thank you email - and don't be shy of adding some concise marketing message into this.

Do not ask for their physical address - these people want electronic communications, not posted ones, and people hate typing in their address needlessly.

Identifying site visitors gives you the chance to secure their custom - so don't hide your sign up forms - make them the focal point of your homepage.

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