Science Fiction or Reality?"Machine learning" has moved out of science fiction and into real-life applications, like powering Tesla cars that run on autopilot and robots that can beat humans at the Japanese game of Go. For marketers, it gets them closer to their email nirvana: true 1:1 personalization on a mass scale. Machine learning, at its simplest, is a method of data analysis that allows computers to learn – to analyze, predict and act – without explicit instructions or programming. That last phrase – "without explicit instructions or programming" – highlights the difference between today's rule-based marketing automation and systems that use machine learning.
Inspiration from the 2015 Email "To-Do" Lists of Leading BrandsI'm just back from the MediaPost Email Insider’s Summit at Deer Valley in Utah ski country. Boasting record attendance and the active participation of big brands, the event is always a nexus for email marketing growth, expansion and innovation ideas. With attendees from Wendy’s, Office Depot, Amazon, Bank of the West, Angie’s List, American Airlines and countless other marquee brands, this time didn't disappoint. In short: everyone’s excited (and in some cases a little daunted by) the email marketing goals they aim to accomplish in the coming year. Here’s what’s on the 2015 “to-do” list of top marketers and should be on yours as well:
One of the best ways to engage email subscribers is to connect with them emotionally, although this is often easier said than done. I have spoken and written many times about the importance of creating emotional resonance – either positive or negative – between your message and your audience. It's essential because without some sort of feeling connection to you, at least occasionally, subscribers will become bored by the purely practical often repetitive litany of subject lines cropping up in their inboxes (i.e. 20% savings this week!) and easily tune out.
In my ongoing series of email marketing conundrums, I couldn’t possibly overlook this one: declining email marketing open rates. Although much has been written on the subject, my goal is to provide you with not just a diagnostic checklist for investigating why open rates are falling nor to hand you a “best practices” list of what to do to reverse the decline, but to go beyond that by (most of all) giving you a “reality check” on the subject and presenting a new, more constructive way to see this situation, as well as a new mindset on email marketing performance measurement altogether. In short: while we do need to pay attention to declining open rates, there’s too much focus on them at the expense of more meaningful email marketing performance measures.
You’ve probably heard the familiar saying “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission”. All too often I hear from many marketers and business owners who find themselves in this unfortunate position when either just starting their email marketing programs or trying to build their lists. This month’s email marketing conundrum explores the problem of how to begin sending to a “never-been-emailed” list, especially if it contains email addresses that may have been obtained without clear permission or were gathered offline such as from business cards, membership lists you have access to, contest entry forms, prize drawings at events, LinkedIn, etc.
If you’re like a growing majority of businesses, you've discovered email as the “go to” channel for rapidly accelerating leads into sales, increasing customer engagement and generating revenue on demand. Enterprises of all kinds engage in email marketing not only because it works, but because it works phenomenally well and fast. There is simply no doubt that email marketing is thriving when you consider these compelling facts: