Email Marketing: Time to Make Some Improvements

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impactnow
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Know your audience
impactnow   12/15/2011 1:31:32 AM
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It’s the broad blanket emails that really don’t demonstrate any worth lifecycle emails are much more effective however they require greater investment in understanding your recipients.

Mitch Wagner
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Re: Email RIP
Mitch Wagner   12/12/2011 12:03:16 PM
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Tony, it's hard to imagine email being marginalized. It's so handy for many functions -- although I agree that email does many things now that it's not optimized for. 

I expect someone in 1990 would have said the same thing about faxing, too. 

Tony Kontzer
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Re: Email RIP
Tony Kontzer   12/10/2011 1:14:19 AM
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Mitch, the IT execs I talk to don't talk so much about replacing email--just that they'd like to transition away from it and let all the communication move to the newer social mediums. They feel email is an unweildy, complex and expensive part of IT and would rather focus attention elsewhere. That said, they also know that it's not going anywhere just yet. But as was mentioned before, it's likely to go the way of the telex and the fax, marginalized for very specific uses, and probably shifted to some secure cloud-based alternative like Google Mail. (A lot of smaller enterprises have already made that change.)

robbinblock
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Absolutely. The closer the response to the behavior, the more effective it is. The trick is making that easy to do; even better, automate it as much as possible so it's scalable, without losing the personal touch.

Mitch Wagner
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robinblock - Good points!

Email today needs to be personalized to the individual recipient, and sent out in a timely fashion. Reminders for abandoned shopping carts are a great example. 

robbinblock
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Proponent

I think of email as fitting into several different categories, which will impact how it is used to reach a target audience. It's especially important to consider how the first two categories are used. The last two concern the email/social media connection.

Personal: what we use every day to correspond with people we know

Narrowcast: newsletters, etc. sent to a list

Notifications: email settings in social networks, which allow for immediate response to social activity

Archives: emails sent out by a social network, such as LinkedIn, that include updates of what has been going on in a group

Another point in response to the article...

I like the idea of building a mobile component into email systems. And I agree segmenting and testing can be essential for improving results. The problem I see with the small businesses I work with is that they don't gather the information needed to do these things. It's not that they couldn't, but they often don't think of it nor do they have the time to create custom emails for each segment. Even if they did, a more pressing problem is creating relevant content and timing the delivery appropriately (i.e., drip mail). They don't know how to do this themselves, and they often can't afford to have someone do it for them. Many of the email tools out there don't make it very easy either -- I'd like to see these built in first.

 

 

Mitch Wagner
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Re: Generational thing
Mitch Wagner   12/8/2011 10:58:53 AM
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It's true that we see various forms of communications leaving social media. The big change I've observed is that short bursty conversations tend to move to instant message, texting, or Facebook messages.

That leaves email for more in-depth conversations, conversations requiring mixed media or attachments. 

Also: newsletters, which is where marketing comes in. 

Email does what snail mail used to do, it's the great medium for asynchronous communications. 

There's a scene in the Dickens novel David Copperfield where David, who is working in downtown London, encounters his old friend Steerforth and excitedly invites Steerforth home for dinner that night. But how will David let his wife know? They don't have phones back then in the 19th Century. So he drops a letter in the morning mail, knowing that it will reach his wife in the afternoon mail. That always amazes me when I think of it -- mail delivery twice a day!

Does anybody still use voicemail? I remember I used to be on the phone for a 45-minute phone conversation, hang up and have 11 voicemail messages waiting for me. Now I don't get 11 voicemails in a year. 

John Barnes
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Re: Generational thing
John Barnes   12/7/2011 10:11:25 PM
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Email has a lot of negative associations for Millennials.  It's too private, it's a vehicle for bad news, it's something you have to read if you're on various organizational leashes ...

Of course, given the reality of life in a market economy, the next generation will feel that way about social media.  Like telegraph and ham radio before them, new communications tech follows a pattern where the first generation uses it for fun, the next generation experiences it as an imposition and a way that The Man gets hold of you.

John Barnes
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I suspect that has more to do with the absence, so far, of a really good model of how sales are closed in social media.  When nobody knows exaclty how to close a sale in a medium, but it's clear the medium reaches a great number of potential buyers, there will be a lot of "building awareness" and "developing brand loyalty" activity, because there's not much bottom line to talk about.  (The classic model of that was the old 3- or 4-channel broadcast TV.  Once cable and 800 numbers and infomercials developed, operators were standing by, and  "you just need people to know you are there" declined sharply as a reason for using television advertising).  As soon as there's a really effective deal-closer for social media -- whether it's a technique or an app -- that will straighten out, I think.

Mitch Wagner
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Re: Email RIP
Mitch Wagner   12/7/2011 8:03:55 PM
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Tony - What do these IT executives want to replace email with? It's still perfect for many uses.

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