Getting email right in 2008


Email is one of the biggest challenges marketers face in 2008: Still capable of generating a stunning ROI, but requiring the analysis and guidance of experts to overcome the problems “success” has created for it in the past 20 years.

Just consider this list of biggest marketing concerns about email from a survey taken of B2B and B2C marketers last November by MarketingSherpa:

#1: Recipient mailboxes are swamped. All email suffers.

#2: Spam is eroding trust.

#3: Email doesn’t get the budget and attention it deserves.

#4: Willingness of people to opt-in to new lists.

#5: Lack of accountability and measurement.

#6: Image blocking negatively affects creative email.

#7: Deliverability.

MarketingSherpa is offering three days of seminars, training, and case studies at their Email Summit in Miami Feb. 24-26 to address these issues and more. I’m betting most readers of this blog have already signed up. If you haven’t, you probably need more help than you realize or you’re willing to admit yet (there are a few tickets left). Though the one-day MarketingExperiments email certification course at the Summit is now sold out, you’ll shortly be able to take the full-length course online.

Here are some tasty email tips from MarketingSherpa and MarketingExperiments experts to hold you in the meantime:

• Segment, then target. Generic blasts are out. Finely honed messages are in.

• Build trust. It’s key to open and conversion rates. According to the MS survey, 50% of respondents said emails that arrive too frequently are spam, even when they’re from companies they know.

• Make a strong, value-added offer every time. Don’t waste your customer’s valuable time. See above.

• Eliminate incongruence and discontinuity. See MarketingExperiments research for more on this topic, but here’s the gist: If someone reads your email then gets a confusing, disruptive message from your Landing Page, you’ve lost them. And they won’t be back.

• Get enough budget. Email expertise and technology will take real money. You get what you pay for.

• Test. In 2008 you must have a solid ability to deeply analyze your lists and track metrics; e.g., click-to-open ratio, revenue per email, leads per email, engagement per campaign.

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  1. Jeff Gwynne says

    Hi Peg-

    Useful article. I have a question – if you use a service, such as Constant Contact, does that significantly help with the budget? Thanks.

  2. Peg says

    Hi Jeff-

    I think companies need to “right-size” the email service or application to best match their efforts; but keep in mind there is no such thing in 2008 Internet marketing–including email–as “no technology training required.” The person or team you trust with your email marketing system, internal or external to your company, has got to A) truly know whether a service or application has enough horsepower and tools (or too many) for your company’s needs; and B) have enough real expertise to deep-dive on your lists and metrics and give you real, truthful insight you can take to your CEO and the bank every month. These are the investments I’m speaking of. Otherwise, you’re just guessing. And we know what CEOs do with CMOs that “guess” why marketing campaigns are working (or not).

  3. Aurelius Tjin says

    This is obviously one great post. The information are very insightful and helpful. Thanks for sharing all of these.

  4. Marketing Morgan says

    Great post, you guys are one of the few sources I actually take the time to read your case studies and blog posts.

    Working in the online marketing realm I often have potential clients come and simply ask how they can buy lists (basically send out spam). It shocks me still today how many companies still try to use spammy email marketing techniques with no results just because its easier than trying to build a solid, smaller, and very profitable internal email subscription list from opt-ins on their own website.

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