When email marketing is considered just another broadcast media channel the designated content creators are often marketing pros alone. Therein lies a common email marketing problem. The problem is marketing.
DEFINITION of ‘Marketing’
People who work in marketing departments of companies try to get the attention of target audiences by using slogans, packaging design, celebrity endorsements and general media exposure.
The fine art of email marketing has little to do with marketing and everything to do with personalization that builds and maintains relationships. Sales professionals do that all day, every day. They personalize interactions and engage with the individual as a person, not a mass audience. It’s widely documented that the most successful email marketing efforts include sales pros as content creators in tandem with marketing pros.
Don’t limit email marketing to marketing.
Messages delivered to a person’s inbox have to be more than those that are blanket broadcasted on the airwaves or are published in print media. Rebroadcasting traditional media messages or repurposing direct mail content in the form of electronic delivery is impersonal and a big mistake. It’s a problem. And it’s unfortunately what most marketers do.
Generally speaking, the majority of people (that I know at least) don’t hand their email address out to just anyone so it stands to reason if inboxes are considered personal there’s an expectation of personalized messaging. Now in all honesty I’ve never heard anyone complain about email and in the same breath say “if only my email was more personalized”. But guess what they are saying –
I get junk I don’t care about
I get more emails than I signed up for
I get things from senders I’ve never heard off
All I get are emails trying to sell me something
And my personal favorite –
Event notifications for venues outside the U.S. sent 2 weeks before the event. No webinar option – must be present to attend.
Does the marketer sending the invite really believe I’ll drop everything to book travel for London, Rome or Paris within 2 weeks of the event? Only if they’re paying for it and I’ve never gotten any emails offering that.
Seriously – marketers – what are you thinking?
So I’m saying “send me timely, geographically relevant event notifications” but what I’m really saying is “send me personalized content!”
Am I right? Who disagrees? That’s what we all want even if we don’t use “please personalize my email” verbiage. At the root of every email marketing gripe (i.e. problem) is lack of personalization and too much marketing.
The Solution – start personalizing your email marketing already. Send the right message to the right person at the right time. Get the marketing out of email marketing.
Stop talking about yourself.
Start talking with and about who you’re sending messages to.
Don’t consider self-promotion more important than your audience’s needs or you’ll just be tuned out, or worse – opted out.
Your emails should focus on bringing value not just pitching what you want people to buy. Care about the person and talk about what they care about, not what you care about. Unlike any other form of traditional – offline – outbound media, digital has unlimited personalization potential. Get to know your audience as individuals and learn their unique needs as it relates to your product or service. Take the time to care.
I read somewhere that saying you care about the audience as an individual is lip service when you no more than blast email messages to the masses with disregard for what an individual’s specifically shown interest in.
Reading, analyzing and interpreting reports should be at the core of every email marketing campaign with the end goal of lead generation and lead nurturing. Email send reports and the website behavior that follows provide valuable insight on getting to know an individual so you can better personalize the message and strengthen the relationship. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to receive messages that related to our interests rather than what marketers are trying to sell us?
It’s not all that difficult. If I never open or click on links within messages relating to event notifications outside the U.S. then
a). Ask if I want to receive that content in the future
b). Just don’t send that content to me anymore already
c). I’ll opt out of every event notification in or out of the States (is that what you want?)
Ask what people want. Take a survey. Get subscriber feedback and don’t make assumptions.
If someone doesn’t engage with specific content and doesn’t take the desired action you hoped for then marketing missed the target. Email marketing problems boil down to one, or all of these 3 factors:
Problematic email marketing happens when messages
♦ Aren’t expected
♦ Aren’t informative
♦ Appear sent by a robot, not a person
♦ Are irrelevant
♦ Have inconsistent frequency
♦ Speak like an ad or slogan more than a conversation
♦ And, more…..
Identify problematic email marketing with basic data analysis and problem solve in tandem with sales pros as content creators. Sales know the best language, the best time and the best people to target for the best outcome.
And follow these best practices:
♦ Confirm message deliverability
♦ Communicate like a person talking to a person not a marketer blasting out an ad message
♦ Segment future messages based on past email engagement and website behavior
♦ Monitor what’s opened and verify what’s being clicked
♦ Identify the most engaged content (and, by who) and if need be eliminate under performing content
♦ Track website engagement, Track website engagement, Track website engagement (do I need to say it again?)
♦ (okay) Track website behavior, Track website behavior, Track website behavior
♦ Test send times to find the sweet spot where the audience opens & clicks the most
♦ A/B test message content to gauge behavior trends and further optimize performance
♦ Focus on lead generation and lead nurturing for your company’s sales pros
The Bottom Line Take-Away:
By continuously measuring results with the limitless data at your disposal it’s really easy to turn problematic email marketing into promising email marketing. Like it or not, clicking “send” on that email campaign isn’t where the work ends – it’s where the work actually begins. That is IF you want to avoid marketing becoming the problem with your email marketing…..
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