Steve Cone on adage.com
Of all the marketers using e-mail today, what percentage
would you guesstimate have a clue how to use it
Given that we all believe the 20/80 rule, I'll say 20% of marketers
really understand how to create effective, compelling e-mail
campaigns. Yes, this percentage should be higher. One area that
retards results is the lack of attention to cadence or frequency of
e-mails. An example is online movie-ticketing companies that send
an e-mail survey a day after online tickets are bought. The survey
gets sent even if the consumer has never responded over months or
years and the consumer is never asked in advance if he wants to
receive the surveys. And that's annoying to those who just want to
buy tickets online. And many other companies do exactly the same
thing. It is imperative with every new e-mail customer that you ask
upfront what type of messages they want to get and when.
What's the biggest mistake marketers continue to make
with e-mail marketing?
It's still too much of a one-way street. Marketers send offers, ask
for opinions or do customer surveys and provide no means for the
recipient to directly communicate back to them. All types of
companies are sending frequent e-mail surveys. But rarely do they
report back the results, and they almost never ask for additional
comments that will be seen by a company employee and responded to
quickly or at all. Remember call centers? E-mail should be no
different. E-mail is a very personal, two-way communication -- or
should be. But most marketers fail to understand "personal" means
responding to the individual.
Is there one thing that can ensure a successful e-mail
E-mail is not some magical medium that defies the basic rules of
marketing. You must still have a solid offer and the best
positioning possible for your product or service to insure success.
The good news is there are easy, fast and inexpensive ways to test
your offer by e-mail before you launch a major campaign.
What are some of the key elements to using e-mail
Two words: frequency and relevance. You should always be testing,
whether it's the subject line, an offer, timeliness or cadence.
What's the best way to keep your e-mail from getting
Brand yourself immediately on the "from" and "subject" lines.
Seventy percent of consumers say the "from" line is how they base
their decision to open or ignore. Thirty percent say it's the
"subject" line. That's not surprising, and it just reinforces that
you should make your brand equity work in those two spots.
Is there a way to improve the chances that your e-mail
will get opened?
It's all about announcing real news such as: "One day sale"; "Five
days left to act"; "Product alert"; "Breaking news"; and so forth.
E-mail is the perfect vehicle to announce what just happened when
it happened. Always keep that in mind, and you will be
What are the average open and response rates right
The open rate is 22%. A click rate of 27% of opens means a 5%
response rate. These rates assume consumers are familiar with your
company and have some prior connection. There are several
techniques that can boost the above averages. The most basic but
often overlooked is a thank you e-mail arriving soon after a
product or service purchase -- with another offer.
Are there new formats developing within e-mail
Yes. Ties to social media. Many e-mails now encourage advocates to
"post to social," allowing campaigns to spread virally. The one
outcome to be sensitive to is that your message is apt to be spread
to non-targeted individuals.
Is e-mail losing its effectiveness with the growth of
Not at all. Various studies suggest strong growth in volume for
years to come. One reason is that e-mail is private -- meaning it
goes from one entity directly to a consumer and back. Social media
is not private. The vast majority of e-mail folks don't want to
share with others -- from buying drugs to cars to managing
finances, self-help aids, travel plans and much more.