Choice & Control: The Ultimate Email Marketing Weapon.

Choice & Control: The Ultimate Email Marketing Weapon.

As a subscriber to many email programs, I have the choice whether or not to open, read, click and convert to a companies newsletter or promotional email.  In addition, I can choose whether to remain subscribed or get out.  Its simple, I am in control. As a sender, I have the choice of whether or not to send the subscriber my specific content that day or week with the hopes that it will be interesting or compelling enough for the subscriber to make his/her choice.  I can choose if certain people get certain things or not get anything at all.  Its simple, the sender is in control. When there are two opposing forces vying for control and choice, something inevitable happens: collision.  We all know what happens when a collision occurs and in the digital world, it not only is ugly, but its public. Choice and control should almost always never reside with the sender because people today demand a personalized experience and...
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An Email Savasana from lululemon

An Email Savasana from lululemon

If you have an issue, fix it. If you are making improvements for a better customer experience, tell them.  If you are increasing your email cadence, tell them. If you are reducing cadence or going on an email hiatus, why not tell them? Its a simple concept everyone, communication with your subscribers is key.  I recently received and email from lululemon athletica that caught my eye. In it, it appears as if they are going on an email savasana (a yoga term indicating a relaxing posture either at the beginning or end of a yoga session).  They managed to put this into the pre-header with instructions to scroll down in the email for an explanation.  The explanation was plain and simple in that they were working behind the scenes that would hopefully improve the customer experience. What I love about this email is that it speaks to the subscriber with relevant terms and explains why they won't be receiving the email in...
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Marketing in an Amorphous World

Marketing in an Amorphous World

As SXSW comes to a close, we brace our businesses and blogs for the debates, the changes and the passing trends we’ll wisely embrace or abandon as the year continues. We’ll discuss the repeat offenders, who offer the same old ideas repackaged with some glitter or the presently popular “green” label, hoping for one last hurrah before being usurped by whatever up-and-coming trend, platform, or technology will take its place. We’re always looking for the truly innovative, the truly nuanced, the idea or technology that will change the world. We want to catch the first glimpse of any small flickr of brilliance that might give way to a whole new way of doing things, to our own Brave New World. As marketers, we have to be on top of the game. We have to know the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the drivers and inhibitors, the strengths and limitations, the potential risks and the promise of reward when it comes...
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Are Your Email Numbers Juiced?

Are Your Email Numbers Juiced?

As marketers are held to higher and higher standards of accountability, it seems logical for all forms of marketing to be held to higher standards as well. This means many email marketers are going to face tough questions about how their programs are performing. Nicole Delma, Chief Data Officer for RCRD LBL,* which serves free music downloads, recently expressed her interest in seeing a service that would audit open rates, "We are an advertiser-supported business and those advertisers deserve to know how audiences respond to the programs they are sponsoring. I have no issue with taking a screenshot of our program and showing them that we regularly see 33% open rates." When I asked how an audit of open rates would help her business, she replied, "Because I know some of the companies we are competing with for ad dollars are juicing their numbers." True, it is not uncommon to see companies juicing the numbers in the following ways: The Whole List: Despite the...
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Seven Signs You Aren’t Thinking Big Enough

Seven Signs You Aren’t Thinking Big Enough

As I continue researching what email subscribers want from companies when they register for email, one theme has come to the forefront that should keep email marketers up at night: Your competition in the inbox is "everyone else." Toss out the notion of your traditional competition. As a retailer, your competition in the inbox is not limited to other retailers in the same space. As a publisher, your competition is not other publishers addressing the same topic. The inbox is a phenomenal equalizer where companies large and small all face a similar measuring stick, "Do you consistently deliver the most relevant, engaging stuff to my inbox?" To make the point, in the thousands of email statistics I have looked at in my career, the most impressive program I have ever seen (purely based on response metrics) was from a small business that sells Creative Memories supplies and conducts weekly classes. The program boasts a 90% unique open rate and upward of a...
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Addressing ‘Channel Promiscuity’

Addressing ‘Channel Promiscuity’

I studied sociology as an undergraduate and then again as a graduate student and I know: Sociologists are fascinated with promiscuity. I don't believe it is the voyeuristic aspect that draws them to this topic. It's the challenge. Sociologists can't get a straight answer if they just ask people about their sexual histories. Their subjects distort the truth to align with what is socially acceptable. And this means sociologists need to get really This may explain why I latched onto the term "channel promiscuity" when Mike Bloxham, director of insights at the Center for Media Design, used it recently at MediaPost's Email Insider Summit. It strikes me as an appropriate term to use when describing the current media landscape for two reasons: 1) It speaks the indiscriminate nature of media consumption. Media consumption is splintering. People can access content via television, on their phones, computers, tablets, or game consoles. They can communicate via phone, text, IM, social networks, email, or Skype. And while...
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Eight Ways To Integrate Email With Facebook And Twitter

Eight Ways To Integrate Email With Facebook And Twitter

Last week, prediction number two of Tim Ferriss' 4 Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2011 was "The Full Resurrection of Email." Groupon's $6 billion valuation has shined its light on the value of permission marketing. Now permission marketing is capturing the imagination of angel investors and investment bankers all over again. Moreover, as Ferriss stated, "email addresses are a safer long-term investment than social media features." This doesn't diminish the fact that Facebook eclipsed Google in terms of total site visits in December. It doesn't downplay the meteoric adoption of smartphones, and it doesn't belittle 100 million Twitter users worldwide. Instead, Ferriss' article and the widespread support it received give me hope. Fruitless dialogue about which channel will prevail is passé. They will all thrive for the foreseeable future. 2011 is the year to really start integrating these tools in support of rock-solid business objectives: more sales, more leads, more supporters, and more satisfied customers. "Like us on Facebook" and "Follow us on...
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College Students To Marketers: ‘Cut The Clutter’

College Students To Marketers: ‘Cut The Clutter’

Looking around the web, there is no doubt that companies have, in fact, gotten on the proverbial social media bus. Look around. Everywhere we turn there are buttons to Fan, Tweet, Like, Share, Follow, Connect and Subscribe. But this is missing the point because marketers aren't telling anyone why the heck they should do so. Enter a new study from user-experience research firm Nielsen Norman Group on "College Students on the Web." (Yes, I shelled out the $128 for the full report and the insights it provides are definitely worth the money.) The news reported by Online Media Daily earlier this week, "Social Networks No Place For Marketing To College Crowd," runs contrary to our marketing sensibility when it comes to social media. We know that college students are heavy social media users. The report confirms this. The college students they observed keep a Facebook or MySpace tab open throughout the day. Problem is, they think of these social networks as a place...
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The State Of Email Marketing

The State Of Email Marketing

I just got home from the Email Insider Summit in Park City, Utah, after acting as the programming chairperson and MC for the event. While it would be challenging for me to provide a comprehensive recap, I wanted to touch on a few things that stood out. Walking away, it is clear that despite skeptics, email is alive, well, and growing. One need look no further than the $2 billion-dollar annual revenue reported by Groupon and the fact that much of the company's success has come as the direct result of its email efforts. But if that's not enough, consider that HautLook is driving 70% of its revenue and traffic through the email channel. Hayley Osher, the self-proclaimed "cougar of email marketing," shared that HauteLook subscribers have come to anticipate the delivery of their morning offers. She hears about it from customers wondering what happened when their emails don't arrive on time. Then there was the presentation by Mike Bloxham from the...
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Here We Go Again …

Here We Go Again …

Relationship marketing is about quality, not quantity. This is not to say that numbers aren't important; they are. Marketing programs need critical mass to succeed. However, the numbers follow quality. Why did the Old Spice Guy attract such large numbers? Because the content was really, really good. Take a step back. For the past 20-plus years we have heard about the need to establish one-to-one relationships with our consumers. Go back 11 years to Seth Godin's Permission Marketing and you'll find one of the ways he thought we could build these relationships was through email. But guess what? Most companies messed that up because they started sending out email that was self-serving instead of serving their customers. Somewhere along the line the idea of delivering personalized messages to loyal and engaged customers turned into a need to get permission from the most people possible, which eventually turned into simply getting the biggest list possible. This hit home when working with a client several...
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