Leverage retention in email campaigns for more profit

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Q&A: Nick Heys, founder and CEO of EmailVision
Q&A: Nick Heys, founder and CEO of EmailVision

When you are in the midst of executing an email or social marketing campaign — rushing to meet deadlines, pulling together creative, copy and 
getting approvals — it is easy to lose sight of your campaign objectives. As a young marketer, a former boss used to say, "Wait a minute, with this campaign are you trying to win new names or make profits?" Over the years, I learned that all direct marketing activity can be simply put into two buckets: names or profits.

With acquisition marketing, your objective is to win a maximum number of new customer names within your allowable "cost per name" budget. You can do this through paid search, SEO, co-registration, email sponsorship and social marketing. This is how you build subscribers, fans and followers.

However, acquiring new names is an expensive process. As competition heats up, most online marketers take a loss on that first sale. If the objective is to make or grow profits, 
marketers need to see acquisition marketing simply as an 
entry point. The challenge is to find ways to make up for 
rising acquisition marketing costs by securing repeat sales with existing customers. This is where advanced tactics for retention marketing come in. 

Marketing to existing clients is where savvy marketers make all their profits. Retention marketing campaigns are inexpensive because there is no media or advertising cost. These kinds of campaigns can generate tremendous profits because cost is low and response rates are high. The reason this happens is that you are sending campaigns to clients who already know and trust your brand. 

I often watch marketers go through three phases: 1) Investing in building their email and social names, 2) Reaping early rewards with basic email and social campaigns and 3) Obtaining higher profits by adopting advanced tactics such as segmentation, personalization, trigger marketing and split testing. In the past, advanced tactics required investments in people and technology, but unfortunately these expenses often offset the increased profit contribution. However, new generation software companies have now emerged, offering easy to use tools to execute advanced tactics in email, mobile and social marketing at a fraction of the cost.

The last 10 years of online marketing have mainly been about using the Internet to win new names. This has led to heavy investments by most marketers in acquisition marketing. However, there is a significant shift taking place. The years ahead will be more about capitalizing on those names and turning them into profits with retention, email, social and mobile marketing.


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