I just returned from San Diego, where, depending on the cold and snow in your town, you may be glad to know that it rained – so no need to envy me the good weather typically associated with this beautiful city. Of course, I only knew it was raining from the puddles outside, as the energy and engaging conversations at the Online Marketing Summit kept us all happily indoors.
Key takeaway: Retention is king and email is at the center of the digital marketer’s toolkit.
How refreshing to see email come to the fore of many conversations, panel sessions and keynotes. We all know that now more than ever, executives are finally paying attention to email. The high return, reach and efficiency of this channel are unmatched.
In our recession, the “R” in ROI is now focused around retention and loyalty. Email is perfectly suited to build the kinds of relationships and launch the kinds of conversations that help you mine your existing customer base. We cannot rest on our laurels or afford to become complacent. The batch and blast routines of the past no longer work. That approach doesn’t work for subscribers who are busy, distracted, worried about their finances and spending time on social networks. The inbox clutter is higher than ever, and the pressure is on for all email marketers to do more with less. The old broadcast approach just doesn’t give you control over your revenue drivers or help you solidify your sender reputation and ensure that every message you send actually reaches the inbox.
I often say that email is the original digital social media. It’s been used as a broadcast channel, but those days are over. Rather, think social when you plan your email calendar. Think community, conversation and collaboration. Last night at dinner I spoke with two smart marketers from REI and Fluke Networks. We agreed that we have to get out of the “we serve our customers” mentality and get into a “we partner with our customers” approach. See how that changes the game? Makes it social? Cedes control to customers? I am convinced this is the only way to break through the clutter and improve loyalty and revenue. It’s mostly attitude. All the resources, technology and data is readily available today to take a customer-centric approach. We just have to stop doing email the old way, and start doing email the smart way.
Think about relationship. Email is a great dialog channel and today’s data management technology and creative flexibility allow each of us to send truly lifecycle-based messages more often than we send generic broadcast messages. This is why email is glowing and valued. Subscribers still love to get a great email that matches their interest.
Email works best when it’s in a mix of marketing strategies. Use email to welcome, engage, remind, nudge, celebrate, thank and yes, sell. Use it as part of a social media strategy. Lots of great ideas here at OMS.
Email marketing is simple in concept. If we give subscribers what they want, they will give us what we want. They want us to help them, respect them, engage them, make them thinner, more beautiful, more productive, wealthier and ripe for a promotion. In exchange, they will give us feedback, great ideas, their loyalty and higher wallet share.
More OMS live blogging is on their website at blog.onlinemarketingconnect.com. Let me know what you think of these ideas, and how you’ve been prioritizing your work in this economy. Look forward to continuing this conversation with all of you!