Friday, 8 January 2010

Email marketing? Say no to newsletters and yes to a bit of clever

Like many others, I have read various trends, predictions and comments on the year ahead for email marketing; what it will all mean, what will change and where the smart money should be spent to ensure a slice of the pie.

Well, here’s my prediction:

"Even more email will be sent in 2010 than in 2009. Even more money will be wasted by marketers on email marketing."

Yep, that’s it. And that’s from a bloke who “does” email marketing for a living.

That said, I am not special, I am not unique. I am occasionally clever, or deluded, or both, but essentially I am like everybody else. And like everybody else I already receive way too much email.

Way too much email from companies trying to grab their share of my brain, heart and wallet. Trying to entice me with email marketing that looks like it was written and conceived by a time-poor, enthusiasm-deficient marketer who has lost the love and passion to craft and create, instead opting for the “gotta get this bloody email out by 3 pm or I’m dead” approach to email marketing.

With more and more companies turning to email to communicate and sell to customers and prospects alike, so more and more irrelevant, time-wasting and frankly boring email is churned out. And that is a huge threat to us all. If we don’t try something different then we will be lost in the noise along with everybody else.

But does it have to be like this? Do we have to continue to send that woeful monthly newsletter for example? That newsletter that said pretty much the same as the newsletter the month before, and the month before that and the month before that.

What if some of us were brave, what if some of us said no to newsletters? What if some of us stopped sending them all together?

How about ceasing all monthly newsletters and instead using that time, effort and money to identify two or three product or services that every single customer we have on our database would want to know about and only sending them three email on those products throughout the year?

We do this by segmenting our database. By looking at previous purchases from those customers, from the paths they take on our website, from what they are saying when they phone us, or email us, or twitter or blog, or whatever else they do that gives us some insight?

What if we did that? Maybe only for our best 10% of customers to start with then? Or our worst 10% who have long since give up on us (because we have spent too long sending them irrelevant nonsense via email)

Maybe that would make us more money than what we have always done? Maybe if we sent a few follow up emails to those that opened the email and went on to read all the information we sent them, then maybe we would be begin to feel useful and valuable to those people again? They then might tell their friends about us, or their colleagues, or both and then they would start to ask for email from us and slowly we would be sending more email.

But we would be sending more email that is valuable, useful and interesting than before. We would also have stopped sending so much of that useless email that we would have at least made my bold prediction about email volume going up throughout 2010 complete nonsense.

I can live with that. I can live with email volumes going down because value and relevance has gone up.

Go on, try it, if not you, try something like it. Find yourself some time to step back and review what you have been doing and work out a way to change and do less but with more clever!

It’s worth it, I promise. Because regardless of how many people read these words, 9 out of 10 won’t change and that does really make it so easy for you to stand out and be better.

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