ClickZ – To Send or Not to Send an Email…That Is the Question
There is an ongoing debate among email marketers that is focused around the recipients you should either include or exclude from your mailing. There are basically two schools of thought:
- Get to a 1:1 state
- Send away
Oddly enough, both have some merit, and are likely the correct answer to a very specific situation within your mailing portfolio, but as a broad stroke approach either could fail on its own. Let’s dig into the pros and cons of these very real scenarios.
Email marketing is a very data-driven discipline, and unlike its first cousin (direct mail), marketers are not constrained by cost if you send email to subscribers who don’t necessarily meet very specific criteria. The need for targeting and segmentation in direct mail wasn’t born out of marketers wanting to do the right thing by not sending offers to consumers who may not be interested; it was a cost-saving measure to generate the highest return on the investment given the skyrocketing costs of printing and postage at that time. This challenge of cost for deployment doesn’t exist in email.
Regardless of the cost restraints, or lack thereof, it has been cited and reported time and time again that targeted, relevant email outperforms the shotgun approach. I firmly believe that this is true and have seen it proven thousands of times over the course of many years, but I also believe this to be a tactic that marketers apply situationally.
Pro: Sending a message that is properly targeted – getting the right message to the right person at the right time typically generates higher engagement rates.
Con: Sending a message that is highly targeted minimizes the reach of the offer, therefore potentially minimizing incremental conversion.
A common and simple approach is looking at engagement. If a customer hasn’t opened or clicked a message in three months, then she is suppressed from further mailings. This shouldn’t strike anyone as an odd marketing practice. But let’s look at a real-life example of how this could backfire.
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