May 14, 2012

Email Campaigns: Garbage inbox-Garbage out

by: in Email

As a digital marketer and an avid brand supporter and consumer, I am faced with a dilemma that pulls my enthusiasm to opposite ends of the marketing world. Being a young adult with interests that range from UFC fighting to fashion, I visit a lot of websites and subscribe to a lot of email lists. Even after subscribing time after time, I find myself frustrated with the amount of “junk” email I get in my inbox, and end up deleting, not opening, or unsubscribing.  I think to myself “why do they keep sending me this marketing garbage! It’s so annoying”. Then I realize, wait…that’s what I do for a living. We are constantly approached by prospects that have high un-subscription and un-opened rates. I then find consumers like myself to be the problem. “Why would they unsubscribe to something they signed up to get?” See the dilemma?

So how can a marketer like, myself…appeal to a consumer like, myself? Aside from the layout and content recommendations given in our previous blogs, one of the key factors to having a successful email campaign is customization. There are two types of email campaigns, those that ask and those that do not. Some campaigns ask for certain information such as gender and zip code, but most importantly they ask for what topics the consumer wants to be notified about. Others don’t bother to ask and just get the essentials - name and email. By giving the consumer the option to choose what types of messages they want to receive, you can help secure a higher retention rate. Sure, you may lose a few subscribers who don’t want to take the extra few seconds to fill out the choices but in the long run you will retain more subscribers and have a higher open rate. It may also require several different emails as opposed to one generic one, but the extra time taken to compose customized content will reach the consumer in a more meaningful way than a standard newsletter.

With features such as Gmail’s Priority Inbox, users are finding more ways to help sort through the abundance of emails they receive on a daily basis. Messages that they rarely opened, or come off as “spammy” will find themselves in a bucket of emails labeled “everything else” as opposed to “important”. The algorithm is based on emails the user opens the most, reply to, and has subjects that are appealing. The concept is as simple as “why would my consumers want to open this email?” Taking the time to create specific content catered towards your consumer’s personal interests will help your emails avoid the dreaded trash icon.