In the spirit of proving that everything worth celebrating can be done by singing a line from a Journey song at the top of your lungs, please join me, oh noble email people, and sing along: “Don’t stop believing! Hold on to the feeling!”
Believing in ourselves and the potential of email marketing, and holding on to the feeling of knowing subscribers are satisfied and engaged. C’mon, sing it with me!
What are we celebrating, you may gasp between stanzas? That while many marketers still don’t use segmentation or keep their files particularly clean, marketers *are* planning to adopt more of these strategies, including advanced segmentation (42%), personalization (37%) and behavioral targeting (34%), according to the Email Marketing Industry Census 2010 from eConsultancy and Adestra.
Does that seem like a minor victory? I still give it “Journey Song” status because it’s a lot more encouraging than in past years when marketers planned only to keep the status quo for email marketing. In some ways, email marketing is its own worst enemy. It works so well that it sometimes seems like the magic fountain of email marketing revenue never abates. It’s hard to make a case for doing the hard work of segmentation, list hygiene and creative testing if the channel still “works” without them.
Fact is that despite regular revenue, most email marketing programs don’t work as well as they could, and are leaving significant revenue on the table. Even simple segmentation can boost campaign results by 150% or more, in my experience. If there is a lack of targeting or too frequent mailings we have churn, subscriber fatigue, missed results, higher complaints, lower inbox placement and slumped LTV. With a thoughtful, subscriber-centric content and contact strategy, we earn more sales and revenue, higher short term and long term response and value, stronger subscriber satisfaction and improved word of mouth.
That seems like a very clear choice to me. Why not segment to create a better experience for subscribers? Especially when, in the process you generate more revenue for your business.
The anti-spam community often thinks we marketers are lazy. Mailbox providers like Yahoo! and Gmail, and blacklists owners like those at SpamHaus blame marketers for sending too frequently to subscribers who are not active or responding. Subscribers vote against too frequent or irrelevant messages with the Report Spam button, which generates a “complaint” against the sender every time it is clicked. Even a small number of complaints will result in blocked message or re-routing of messages to the spam filter. The penalty is that senders will be blocked from reaching any subscribers on their networks. Marketers must focus on relevancy in order to maintain active files and prove that their efforts are actually providing value to subscribers.
Let’s do it in 2010, everyone! Let’s prove the naysayers wrong, and show that email marketers are smart, savvy and disciplined enough to do the right thing by subscribers. And earn higher revenue in the process!
Takeaway: More email marketers plan to use more advanced segmentation and targeting strategies this year, according to a new survey. That’s good news for the industry, and an indication that smart email marketers appreciate the need to take it up a notch in order to optimize response and revenues amid the evolving utility of the inbox and feirce competition for consumer attention.