“You’ve got mail!” Remember when you used to be excited to hear that voice? Now, we’re smothered with email. With all this email overload, a lot of people are saying “email is dead”. . So, how do you keep your message from getting lost in the fray while having the most impact on the reader and your bottom line?
This week, we discuss the email marketing mistakes many of us make with CEO and Founder of Inbox Pros, Chris Arrendale. While many view the platform as a dying tool in the overall scheme or strategy for advertising and raising brand awareness, our guest disagrees. In fact, research indicates that every email address is worth $40 (who knew?), so email marketing still has the best marketing ROI—by far.
In his view, email is not dead, just evolving. For many CEOs who rely on this method of advertising their company and its services, email marketing has become a complex system of algorithms, engagement models, and anti-SPAM laws.
Don’t Let Your Customers Get “Email Drunk”
It’s that time of year again. Ugh—the holidays. Time to get hit with the inevitable sales promotions and pitches. This means emails, and lots of them. Arrendale warns that consumers get “email drunk” when faced with a full inbox of ads. “Now more than ever, it’s important to focus on things like branding and subject line,” he states, ”I think it’s also important to focus on the content itself; making sure that whatever message you want to put across is right there, up top, within the first two seconds of somebody reading the message.”
According to Arrendale, it’s all about reputation. And, one way your reputation is suffering is by sending out notices with a “@noreply” tag in the address line. “So, you want me to buy from you, but you don’t want me to respond to you? That doesn’t make any sense,” Arrendale observes. When you have an open dialogue or communication link with your customer, it shows the Internet Service Providers and the networks that your correspondence is wanted. But, it’s more than that. Formatting can also “help to increase opens and clicks,” Arrendale explains. For his company, it’s about coming up with the right “subject line, cadence and frequency,” making your approach as engaging and appealing as possible
Keep it Clean
There’s also value in purging your lists. It’s all part of what he calls “email hygiene.” “Instead of saying, at 12 months (of no engagement), we’re just going to cut everybody off,” Arrendale says, “What about at six months, you change the way you message people?” Clearly, you don’t want to lose them because every name in an email database is potential revenue. “It depends on your buying cycle,” he argues, “if you have a longer one, 12 is too short. In could be 18. Or 24. Try something different.” By making purging a regular practice, you are constantly fine-tuning your email approach. It’s all about engagement. “They may want to buy from you again,” Arrendale explains, “you just haven’t hit them with the right message.”
There are still ways to get to these “emotionally unengaged” customers. “Brand your unsubscribe and preference pages to include social media links,” Arrendale points out. “Maybe they want to follow you on Facebook or Twitter, or LinkedIn, something like that.” These alternative ways of reaching consumers can be very valuable as well.
Email Is Evolving…Are You?
All of this points to a technology that is changing, that is embracing the brave new world the Internet keeps recreating to increase reach and revenue. Still, some are sounding the death knell for this form of communication, relegating it to the bin along with telemarketing, mass snail mailings, and door to door solicitation. But Arrendale disagrees with this assessment. “There is not one channel that beats email from a revenue perspective,” he points out, saying a recent stat shows an average value of $40 to the brand.
“Email is not dead,” Arrendale argues. “You still need email to log into Facebook. You still need email to log into Twitter.” While social media is on the rise, the merging of the platforms with your marketing will definitely increase your bottom line. In Arrendale’s mind, email is simply “evolving.” “We’re now in a time when automation is key,” he says, with A.I. or artificial intelligence the next big leap in the process. “It’s the buzzword in the email marketing space. Things like, I know that if I am traveling to the West Coast and I’m receiving an email, that email may change based on where I am located. It’s almost like the eye in the sky.”
Indeed, automation and personalization is just one of the ways email is changing. For Arrendale, this complex process is best left to the experts. IBM is a good example of a company making major strides in this trending technology. “A.I. knows that if I click on this link, I’m going to receive this particular message. If I open the message and download this, I’m then going to receive this type of message. Blending all that together and giving me the ultimate experience is what people want.”
Gain Your Recipients’ Trust
With more and more potential consumers staying anonymous throughout the sales funnel, gaining their trust – and as a result, the information they are keeping to themselves – is crucial. “Progressive” profiling, according to Arrendale, is the way to go. “Ask for as little information up front as possible…name, last name, email; other than that, that’s about it,” he suggests. Requesting too much can put a person off. There are other ways to gather such data. “Once someone fires that tracking pixel, once they fire that image downloading pixel, “Arrendale states, “that helps us get more information. “
The use of email as well as social media platforms to access consumer profiles is not just a matter of having the best technology, however. “Multiple departments that are siloed that don’t talk to each other, are a problem,” according to Arrendale. “Breaking down the barriers between sales and marketing is huge, a huge thing that would cause a big lift for CEOs.” He recommends weekly meetings to bring everyone up to speed on the latest developments and the newest strategies. Why? “Email marketing is changing all the time,” Arrendale point out. “What worked last year does not work this year and you need to change it.”
Pay Attention to the Law
Canada recently passed the Anti-Spam Law, which requires express consent from the recipient to receive an email from your company. We’ve all seen the boxes at the bottom of an online shopping cart which asks for permission to send you coupons, news, and other company related advertising. If you don’t give your approval, the company can’t use your email for marketing. The European Union introduced something similar for May of 2018. The question is then – will it come to America as well?
“It’s going to be years,” Arrendale guesses. Lawmakers in the US tend to see things like the Canadian law as anti-business, and therefore, nothing they want to be involved in. “It’s like the wild, wild west from an email perspective,” according to him, which means that CEOs will have to spend even more time figuring out what technology to use, how to successfully brand their marketing, and how to avoid the dreaded trip to the spam folder or junk file. With the holidays right around the corner, your email can become the gift that keeps on giving.