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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 50% unique click-through rate.
Why? The company delivered relevant content to a fanatical subscriber base.
But ironically, the email creative is terrible. Excessive copy, bad color palette, no mobile optimization, and almost never a clear call to action. Even with a 50% click-through rate, there is room for improvement.
I share this to serve as inspiration. There are still enormous opportunities for improvement in your program as well. If you don’t know where they are, then you may have run into one or more common roadblocks. Consider this list of sure signs that your thinking isn’t big enough.
You compare your performance to industry benchmarks rather than your own benchmarks. Industry benchmarks can be helpful in assessing your performance. Still, these represent the apex of the bell curve: a solid C. Companies that run great programs are more concerned with beating their personal best than beating the C students.
Testing is not part of your strategy. To improve, you need to try new stuff — a lot! However, change for the sake of change itself usually just perpetuates mediocrity. Give yourself (or your team) the freedom to push the limits while constantly comparing the results of these new approaches against a control. Only then can you be sure you are moving in the right direction.
Originally from “Seven Signs You Aren’t Thinking Big Enough” | Published February 2, 2011