Email Marketing Fundamentals

The Email mailing lists are becoming less effective in reaching clients. A review of fundamentals of email marketing is good way of maintaining results.

Email Marketing Lists Open Rates Continue to Slide during 2006

Doubleclick’s latest report on email marketing showed open rates fell for the fifth consecutive quarter. The volumes of spam show no sign of dropping in spite of the CPAN-SPAM act of 2003. The Q2 2005 EMEA Email Trend Report revealed that the average open rate was 32 percent, down from 40 percent in Q2 2004.

The reasons for the drop in open rates are partly technical with the default blocking images on emails on behalf of ISPs and email service providers. Largely, subscribers have become more selective in what emails they open. For email mailing lists to be successful, the subscriber must include you in his safe safe senders list that has become default in email applications like Outlook.

Email Marketing Principles

The subscriber is in increasingly in control of what he views. Spam filters provided by email applications like Outlook make email filtering the default. Interrupting him with unsolicited emails through rented mail lists has virtually zero results nowadays. Client acquisition is better through other channels, like seach engine marketing and affiliate marketing. You must offer the subscriber incentives in exchange for his permission and colaboration in including him him in a mailing list.

Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing principles offer a basis to construct good email marketing campaigns. Incentives and a win-win situation must be designed with every mailing to your email list. Much like the process of dating someone, you must

  • offer the prospect an incentive to volunteer and opt-in to the mailing list,
  • profile the subscriber as much as possible in every one of his visits,
  • remember what he said in subsequent communications and taylor what you say according to what he needs,
  • use incentives in all dialogues, and continue to collect data. The idea is to increase the level of permission as you know more about the prospect and you taylor your offers and responses accordingly
  • over time, leverage the permission to identify the prospects explicity needs and eventually towards closure
  • it is now the law that the customer can decline further emails from you, effectively ending the relationship. This is the obligatory opt-out clause in all emails

You can no longer legally force an unwanted interaction on a mailing list

Stay Legal in your Mailings

  • Opt-out mailing lists, where “senstive personal data” is not involved is still legal in most countries. Here the subscriber has not been explicitly asked permission to be sent an email. These email mailing lists provide poor results, as increasingly people expect to receive email for which they have agreed to, or opt-in.
  • When buying email lists, care should be take to ask the email list broker how those on the list were asked to whether they whished to opt-in or opt-out.
  • Take care of the domain and servers from which your mailing list is sent as email deliverability is nowadays dependent on using a non black-listed server

Now more than ever email marketing must be a transparent and credible conversation with the subscriber.

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