It’s been said before and it bears repeating; when it comes to those traditional three pillars of direct response marketing “the gold is in your list”. So, it pays to treat it like the treasure it is. In Part 1 of this series I explored ways to attract new prospects to your list. Still, the reality for many marketers and business owners is that the majority of their email list subscribers are customers, not prospects. They are people with whom we have an existing (and hopefully, positive) business relationship. All the more reason to protect your treasure. Yet that Achilles heel of email customer lists remains: it seems impossible to get the email addresses for 100% of your customers. With few exceptions, (say, you sell only online and email address is required on every sale) some customers are just never going to hand over their closely guarded email address (or the specific address you want). Others now prefer to communicate with you on social media (largely Facebook and Twitter). Still more are happy to stay old school – they want phone and direct mail communication. Send ‘em their catalogs and coupons and they’re content.
Since the infancy of direct response marketing, a targeted, captive audience has been the key to success. It didn't take long for the "list" to become king. While your list may remain the most powerful pillar of your direct response effort, naturally you also need strong, motivating offers and spot-on creative to go with it. Still, without the ability to reach the right people, the most enticing offers and the most exceptional creative takes you nowhere. In online marketing, when it comes to lists the email marketing list reigns supreme . Still, for most email marketers, achieving continual email list growth is the Achilles heel of email marketing. This coin of a dilemma has two sides, neither of which is pretty:
How often and what to send are top questions facing any email marketer today. Yet all too often, frequency for the sake of frequency alone trumps relevancy in this channel. It's a classic catch-22: email works so well it runs the risk of undermining its own potential. Email programs tend to start with slow and cautious frequency, produce easy ROI, and become stars. Management assumes if some email is good, more must be even better. Yet as with all good things (wine, chocolate and pizza come to mind) increased consumption eventually leads to a point of diminishing returns. The correlation between cost and benefit is neither linear nor constant.
Marketing isn’t about singular tactics, tools and channels anymore, each managed neatly in its own silo (as if it ever was). Don’t limit your perception of digital marketing to adding the latest Web 2.0 gadget to your site or playing in the newest online community. It’s not about figuring out the newest tactic or technology although there are plenty, ranging from YouTube to Twitter to video, blogs, Facebook and Second Life, and then going on to the next one on the list.
photo credit: thelittleone417 I preach a lot about getting email out of the silo it’s often relegated to within companies or marketing departments, and these days I think most marketers realize how important good email integration with other marketing (especially digital) channels and sales systems is to success. But once you’ve created a regular email communications program, or developed your smart auto-responders, are you remembering to strategically use email to strengthen and encourage relationships with your list members in other channels?
photo credit: kenner116 2009 was a “watershed” year, packed with transformation and shifting, all happening to clear out the old in order to make way for the new. In watershed years, a lot of activity and change which has been slowly building over previous periods finally moves through all at once. And so it goes as the pace of change continues to accelerate in the world at large – more and more gets packed into the same seemingly-finite amount of time and space. Mentalities change faster, evolution happens at a heightened rate. You know where I’m going with this – it all impacts your marketing too. Not just how you market, but what you say and do. And it’s coming to a head in 2010, likely a waterfall year. Expect to see the flow of change speed up even more!