“It’s an open secret that email marketing is the highest ROI tool at a marketer’s disposal. It’s more cost-effective than direct mail, paid search and a wide array of other tactics. So it’s no surprise that email is seeing even more action than usual now that the economy’s officially in recession and marketing budgets are flat or decreasing. Here are a few tips on what to do – and what not to do – with your email program in order to survive 2009 and come out on top of your competition.
Maintain frequency until requested otherwise
When the going gets tough, it’s human nature to do more of something to increase your odds of success. But in email, sending more campaigns with reminder messages, offers and requests to respond, will likely backfire and alienate opt-in prospects, customers and advocates. It’s important to remember that your target audiences have many other marketers sending them messages– and it can all become a blur when email volumes increase in the PC, social or mobile inbox. Stick to the game plan that your audiences have agreed to unless they tell you different. Maintain a rhythm to help ensure your messages are anticipated, welcomed, responded to and shared, instead of ignored or sent to the spam folder.
Focus on value, not fluff
Give people what they want, when they want it, and make it very easy for them to quickly experience the value of your information and offers. This is achieved when marketers apply the right blend of preference center and CRM thinking to help identify wants and needs, and deliver content that is expected and perceived as valuable to each individual recipient (not one-size-fits-all to the entire list). Design can certainly play a significant role in making valuable information easier to understand and act upon. Keep messages short and simple instead of long-winded and complex. This strategy is not only good for email campaigns but can also be used to create short, comprehensive messages over mobile marketing channels like SMS.
Confidence, not arrogance, is a very attractive quality when people communicate with one another. We’re all a little bit nervous about the economy and certain world events. Prospects, customers and advocates will respond better to email campaigns that are fact-based, relevant and come from a thought-leader with a credible voice and calm nature. Remember, great email and messaging is a conversation between people and not a blast to a list.
Incorporate social and mobile
Email, and messaging in general, is taking on new forms via a variety of inboxes across channels including traditional email, social and mobile marketing. That said, marketers need to remember that their campaigns and content can get more mileage across channels – which can lead to better engagement with audiences at lower costs to marketers. Call it repurposing or just better orchestration, marketers can save money and improve campaign results by thinking in terms of “tri-messaging” via email, social and mobile.
Don’t trash your sender reputation
Sure, email and messaging has great delivery economics on the surface but resist the temptation to save time and money by cutting corners when it comes to sending highly targeted valuable content. There is a fine line between being a reputable email marketer (that ISPs, spam filters and recipients respect) and a spammer. Stay abreast of how to create a good reputation online, and apply time and investments to remain reputable. This will go a long way to improving your business results and brand equity in any economy.
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