I was just paid $16.56 for my email address. You read that right: CVS, the drug and pharmacy chain, paid upwards of $15 to acquire my email address. There I was in my local store buying about $40 worth of health and personal care items when they offered me an instant 20% savings on my purchase in exchange for my email address. So I gave it to the clerk, resulting in a discount of $8.28, which somehow (likely by mistake) was applied twice for a total savings to me (and cost to CVS) of $16.56. At two recent business events (which did not provide exhibitors and sponsors with attendee lists) I noticed exhibitors actually paying attendees cold hard cash in exchange for their email addresses. Yes, they were handing out the green stuff in a blatant, unmasked trade for data. One business coach offered passers-by $1 for a name and email address and $5 for a completed lead qualification questionnaire. At another event, an exhibiting sponsor held a stack of crisp, fresh dollar bills and asked each visitor if she would like $1 in exchange for her email address. Most attendees cruising the exhibits at these events happily gave up their email addresses and took the money!
This faithful servant deserves to be treated like royalty instead. Here's why . . .After over a decade in successful use there is abundant proof that email is not only the connective tissue of all data-driven marketing but also the revenue-producing juggernaut of digital efforts. Yet despite claiming the highest ROI of all direct marketing channels at 28.5%1, the highest driver of online conversions2 and the number two spot (second only to search) in new customer acquisition3 email marketing is still too often swept out of sight, called upon only when we need miracles worked. In over a decade of experience with the channel, I am too frequently surprised and dismayed that email is not receiving nearly the attention and investment it economically deserves.
After focusing on specific email marketing conundrums over the past several months, the Enlightened eMarketing blog is taking a breather to focus on a major business conundrum we all face: hiring effective help. This month's guest post on the topic is courtesy of small business optimizer Melanie Benson Strick (pictured here). Melanie's advice isn't just for small businesses: whether you're a solo-preneur, small local enterprise, entrepreneurial start-up, or marketing professional in a large company, everyone eventually needs to hire help. (As you know, here at Synchronicity Marketing we offer digital and email marketing help: if you're wondering how we can become part of your Dream Team let's talk).
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.
Last month we explored how to begin mailing a list of email addresses gathered both with and without explicit permission. You can read about how to handle the “never-been-emailed” list here. While many email marketers have the best of intentions when it comes to obtaining the clear permission of people they want to email, their inexperience with or reluctance to getting a program started can cause both permission and data to age. But there’s a more serious degree of this problem in which permission is not simply lax or questionable, it is ignored altogether. Hence our conundrum for this month.
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.
Over the next several posts I’ll be addressing a series of email marketing conundrums. A “conundrum” is defined as a puzzling question or problem, and in email there are a few persistent ones I have been asked about on a regular basis since the channel’s earliest days. In fact, these challenges seem to keep so many people up at night that I believe they’re always worthy of discussion and a fresh perspective. So let’s begin with a classic: How do I prevent or minimize unsubscribes from my email list? First, make no mistake about it: over the course of their life cycle with you a certain percentage of subscribers will choose to leave your email list despite your best attempts to keep them and believe it or not, this is good. It’s the nature of any permission-marketing channel for the ultimate choice and control over receiving messages to rest in the hands of subscribers. Plus, we know from the channel’s nearly 15 years in existence that commercial email works best when it is deeply rooted in permission. So, your first step is to
Today it’s not enough to know how an individual email campaign performed on a one-time basis. To learn whether or not your company is deriving true value from email marketing, you need the both broader and deeper perspectives offered by program- and list-level analyses. While standard email campaign performance metrics like delivery, open and click-through rates have their place, without looking beyond them the true impact of your email marketing – and opportunities for continuous improvement - will go undetected.
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: