How to Leverage Reputation

Stephanie Miller kicked off the afternoon session of IN: The Email Reputation Conference by stating that the only way marketers can leverage ROI and harness the power of the email channel is to send email that will make subscribers happy. How? By respecting the subscriber experience and sending relevant emails. Unfortunately, many marketers simply aren’t doing this and continue to send the same messages to everyone (the opposite of relevancy).

In order to illustrate this concept of respecting the subscriber, Stephanie shared some real email examples from marketers who are following best practices, and those that aren’t. She also asked the audience to vote on what they thought of the email examples using an interactive feedback tool called the Perception Analyzer to track results instantly.

The first email example was from Hotwire, a travel company. The email was sent after a customer had visited the site, signed up for Hotwire’s services, but not for the email program. The email began with “We think you forgot something. We noticed you haven’t subscribed and here’s why you should.”

The audience was less than thrilled: only 26% thought this was an effective email. Stephanie asked the group to explain the reasoning behind their votes and the majority of attendees stated that it was well intended, but lacked a clear call to action. Others felt that if a company had to resort to this type of triggered message to add subscribers to their file, their sign-up form must not be very prominent or enticing.

Another email example was from West Elm, a furniture retailer. The email was sent after a user had filled their online shopping cart with items, but had then left the site without purchasing. The audience votes mostly fell in the negative category. Some attendees felt it had a “Big Brother” feel to it. Others thought it could have a stronger call to action and a discount should have been offered as an incentive to complete the sale.

Stephanie also featured an email from It Takes Two, an online dating site. After a user registered with the site, a pop-up was triggered when the user tried to access the site content. The pop-up included the headline “Whoa Not So Fast!” and was used to alert the user to the fact that a confirmation email had just been sent, was waiting in the user’s Inbox and that they needed to click on it and reconfirm their subscription before they could access the site.
Most attendees thought this was great and that this edgy, unexpected strategy really reflected the core of the brand. In addition, attendees felt it was an effective way to alert people that they would be receiving a confirmation message so that they would anticipate that message in their inbox and act on it sooner, rather than later. Likewise, if a subscriber never received it, they would know that they should have and could take action.

Stephanie concluded the presentation by urging marketers to refocus on their subscribers and really advocate for improving that experience. Rather than adding some of her suggestions to a wishlist, plot a roadmap for short-term implementation. At the end of the day, even well-intentioned email isn’t enough. So email marketers, heed her call. Don’t plan – DO!

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