Greetings from the Email Insider Summit in Bonita Springs, Florida. Great sun, nice breeze and wonderful networking.
At the opening reception tonight, I heard repeatedly from email marketers that the biggest challenge they wanted insight on this week was how to get past short-term thinking internally. Email channel revenue is the crack cocaine of direct marketing. Send out a bunch of emails and generate sales. Forget that we are churning the file and that 60%+ of subscribers are totally checked out. The predictable revenue hit is a very powerful force. And frankly, it’s legit — who can argue with revenue?
The answer is we can. I’m encouraged to hear so many smart marketers today looking for strategies to convince the internal brand managers and executive team that a longer term strategy of segmentation, relevance and customization will make more sense. Segmentation doesn’t mean “send less email.” In fact, you may end up sending more email – but it will be more relevant email at the times when the subscriber is in market. A much better revenue proposition for higher lifetime value.
One retailer said that he was streamlining his goals in order to accomplish more in specific areas in order to prove the value of targeted messages. A financial services marketer is testing cross selling strategies in transactional emails to prove the value of recency. A multi-channel retailer is doing a Mother’s Day campaign to a very targeted select, to prove the email channel’s worth in driving purchases among lapsed buyers.
Just because 20% of your file opened and responded doesn’t mean the other 80% are neutral. In fact, they may be unsubscribing with their delete button and ignoring your messages. They may even be less valuable than cold prospects if they have become essentially unreachable through the email channel. The only way to win them back is to segment and work harder to create relevancy and urgency.
As subscriber inbox penetration saturates and list growth slows, the addition of new names will not cover the loss of these non-responders. Some marketers shared their approach to get one brand or business unit to try some of these tactics. A proven result is the only way to encourage others to embrace testing changes.
What segmentation will you try this year to prove the value of more relevant email in your own program?
More from the Summit later this week.