With the first quarter of the year behind us already, what will you do to maximize email marketing’s contribution to your bottom line from here on out? Although raising email open and click-through rates seems to be forever on the agenda, there’s a lot more to creating a successful program than focusing on boosting response and engagement. Here are three worthy challenges to put in place for the remainder of your marketing and business year that will have you
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.
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
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:
There’s a heated debate in email marketing over what to do with inactive subscribers and whether or not they can seriously harm a sender’s reputation, deliverability and response enough to justify no longer emailing them. The passion on both sides of this issue – the potential harmful downside of continuing to mail “inactives” juxtaposed with the potential helpful upside of keeping them on your list – makes this argument one worth taking a closer look at.
Vary frequency and cadence seasonallyRetailers live and die by the holiday gift giving season (hence the term “black Friday” for the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year on which many retail businesses that haven’t yet made an annual profit will go from “being in the red” to “being in the black”). Even before the days of e-commerce, holiday messaging was much more frequent than advertising done at other times of the year. This increase is easy to see in the email marketing frequency of retailers, which goes from monthly or weekly to as often as weekly or daily during November and December. It may not be at holiday time, but chances are there is a period or there are seasons when it makes sense to increase your
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.