Gaining welcome access to customers’ email inboxes

Email is not dead, In fact, it is an incredibly cost-effective and efficient way to engage consumers one-on-one with highly relevant content. Expected to grow more than 12% by 2015, according to Forrester Research, commercial email is becoming increasingly important in the marketing mix.

That said, the average American has three email addresses and around 200 unread messages, as reported by Microsoft Corp. Here are a few quick tips for building highly relevant email campaigns that will be welcome arrivals in your customers’ inboxes.

  • Identify available data sources. What customer data are you already accessing that you can leverage for lifecycle marketing campaigns?
  • Audit the data to ensure that it’s accurate and up-to-date. If you’re missing key data points, consider dropping a survey to your customers to conduct fresh market research to get the information you need to drive effective lifecycle email marketing programs.
  • Centralize your efforts. While an email marketing program might involve multiple departments, the strategy and justification should be driven from one source.
  • Build lists from the outside in. Opt-in lists can be a marketer’s most effective tool for reaching the right consumer with the right message. By making it easy to opt in and making the information relevant, marketers can tap into a goldmine of potential customers.
  • Don’t be a hoarder. Hard and soft email bounces are never random, so don’t insist on hoarding those email addresses in your database in the hopes that they might work someday. Attempted and failed delivery on an ongoing basis negatively impacts the reporting, effectiveness and cost of your campaign.
  • Know your Internet Service Providers (ISPs). When you send promotional email, you’re not only having a conversation with your customers, but with your customers’ ISPs. Several ISPs such as Yahoo, Comcast and AOL have established white lists to denote when recipients label email messages as spam or when messages are “hard bounced,” thus not opted to be received.

Your customers have a range of choices when it comes to connecting with brands. Leveraging opt-in techniques, using relevant messaging and personalization, maintaining lists, and building ISP relationships will help secure your position within consumers’ primary email accounts, ultimately stretching your email marketing dollars.

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