Let’s face it, email has gotten sloppy. In a fight to stand out from unsolicited spam, you would think marketers would be using all the latest technologies and taking an optimized approach to converting emails to sales. But, as you can see from your own inbox, many marketers are either on auto-pilot and use one voice for all people, or are confused about the length, frequency and voice so they just end up missing the mark on all three.
In some ways, there are parallels between email and telemarketing. Both came out of the gate with high impact: how cool that you can call someone at their house to tell them about your product or service? Even better when you can send them an email with pictures and links back to your website. But eventually the calls at dinner time became annoying, as have the emails that try to sell us irrelevant products and services.
This abundance of marketing noise drives consumers to think that marketers aren’t listening. So the consumer finds a workaround – joining no-call lists, getting caller ID, dropping their landline. Similarly, in email, people are creating separate accounts just for promotional intake, blocking, opting out or creating filters to help de-clutter this line of communication.
But the parallels end there. While marketers are fumbling their way through new platforms like social and mobile, much can be said for the resurrection of email. Because unlike telemarketing, which loses relevance with the proliferation of the mobile device as a primary phone, emails are now sent straight to the pocket and purse.
Leveraging new resources like analytics and sophisticated testing strategies can give ‘lost channels’ like email a shot in the arm – and put them back in the game. Here are some suggestions for dusting off your email platform:
Data is like white blood cells.
Your email strategy is damaged. Let data come to the rescue with information and teamwork that can help mend the gaps in your existing system. Data should drive your testing, allow you to know your targets and hit them with unparalleled accuracy.
Carve out a sand box.
Make sure you have a valid proving ground. Take a small percentage of customers out of your current process for control and measurement. Take some of these out altogether to test a new strategy. Remember, many of these customers have been bombarded with messages so a two week “rest period” just won’t do the trick in understanding what really is getting through.
You don’t have to drop automation forever, but take a step back and look at your strategy. Are you hitting customer segments with timely, relevant information? Do your offers make sense? Are you differentiating by customer and prospect segment – or are you still blasting “because it’s cheap.”
Check your landing.
Where do your emails lead? The leap from email to website is a critical one. Marketers need to make sure that customers stick the landing, and the best way to do that is to ensure that the start and finish are talking to each other. If I click an email link to shop for shoes, don’t take me to the electronics department. Consumers are too savvy for the old bait and switch in email.