There were some big businesses in attendance at MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit this week, but many of the things discussed were pertinent to small businesses and organizations. For example, there were two words that dominated the talk on day three: relevance and engagement. Speaker after speaker explained how those two go together like peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly, or email and social media. We were all implored to find the relevant content that will transcend marketing and result in greater engagement and stronger customer relationships.
Case in point: a marketing team member from Disney Destinations explained that “Engagement isn’t about selling. It’s about providing content that will get people to open your emails.” The messages sent by this division of the Mouse House include behind-the-scenes information about the theme parks and resorts, and some even include minute details like what kind of soap is used in hotel rooms. Yes, the Disney Destinations team has such an engaged audience that readers care about even the most random trivia. And because it has used content so well to engage its audience, the campaign is seen as a success.
So how do you find out what will engage your subscribers? As a representative from the InterContinental Hotels Group stated, relevant content is a result of understanding your customers. Who are the people you’re sending to? What subject lines get them to open your messages? Which links are they clicking on in your emails? What have they purchased from you in the past? Which of your causes have they supported? Which topics do they want to read about? Knowing this kind of information will help you to craft interesting, relevant messages that will lead to a more engaged audience.
Here are three other takeaways from day three:
- Many great points were made during a session on list building and acquisition. For example, you don’t need to bribe and entice new subscribers with discounts if you want them to join your list. Consumers just want what is relevant to them. If you’re offering the right content, and people see how they’ll benefit from being on your list, they’ll sign up. Also, having a welcome message is critical. It should remind customers that they signed up for your list, thank them for it, and set expectations for what they can expect from your program over time.
- Multiple speakers over the three days explained that while they use both email marketing and social media sites to communicate with customers, it’s email marketing that produces the greatest results. For example, a marketer from Universal Music Group explained that even though Lady Gaga has more than 6.2 million fans on Facebook, nearly 3.7 million Twitter followers, and just 200,000 email list subscribers, it’s those people on the email list who are more committed and most likely to make purchases. Which is why her marketing team is frequently directing those on social media sites back to Gaga’s website, where those fans and followers can sign up for her mailing list. Use social media sites to cultivate your relationships, and encourage your fans and followers to join your mailing list. Then you’ll know who is most committed to your business or organization.
- In his insightful, compelling, and entertaining keynote address, marketing writer Ken Magill asserted that list size is “the worst” email marketing metric. He said marketers should focus more on the quality of their mailing list, not its size. He added that quality content should be an equal priority. “It’s not just one campaign that’s going to suffer if you send irrelevant nonsense. It’s every other one after that,” he said. “Sending unwanted email is a very brand-damaging act.” When subscribers start to lose interest in what’s being sent, that’s when open and click-through rates start to go down. More significantly, a festering negative opinion toward your business or organization can develop, it will not be as easy to measure, and that will affect the long-term success of your email marketing campaign.
A public thanks to the good folks at MediaPost for hosting such a great, productive, and worthwhile conference.