By Bradly Montague President & CEO NOMAMONT, Inc.
E-mail has become both the most effective marketing medium to emerge since the introduction of television and the most annoying medium for conveying an advertising message. Therefore your reputation is everything. Users are simply able to make a quick decision about your e-mail without even opening it if they don’t like what they see in the “Subject” or “From” lines, the delete key is just a click away. As marketers you must also contend with the increasing negative connotation of “spam” a term that is now actively connected in the minds of consumers to ANY unwanted e-mail, even if they are legitimate marketing messages to which recipients have opted in for. Added to your difficult mission, ISPs in response their customers’ frustrations have created new barriers. Our experts have examined the ways in which e-mail marketers can manage their reputation.
According to a recent Jupiter Research survey, 60% of business decision makers prefer e-mail and the Internet over other mediums for receiving marketing messages. Not to mention that the cost-per qualified lead can be 5% to 15% less when using online media. Today e-mail is reaching consumers no matter the time of day or where they are. Most marketers say that, for business-to-business offers, the middle of the week especially Tuesday is best; people have too much mail to wade through on Monday, and by Friday they have other things on their mind. For consumers at home, weekends are best; some send on Thursday or Friday, knowing it won’t be read till the weekend. One axiom of DM is that longer copy pulls better than shorter. Not so in the digital age “In some ways the comparison between postal and e-mail seems good, but really it’s closer to a TV news story where you have to capture them immediately or they’re gone,” says Media Synergy’s Coulman Some marketers prefer personalization; others think offers work best in getting recipients to click open the mail. But the results from testing subject lines can be surprising. Stephanie Healy, interactive sales manager for Omaha Steaks, said a “buy one, get one free” subject line beat out one about “grilling perfect steaks “. On the other hand, for Memorial Day she tested a subject line about getting free franks or burgers with a purchase against one about big savings for the holiday, and the latter was beating out the former.
Start scoring your e-mail list based on a recency, frequency and monetary (RFM) analysis. Create these lists for future campaigns based on responses to your previous campaigns. You can then identify customers who share the same RFM characteristics as those from the list but to whom you haven’t e-mailed a similar communication previously. This way you’re sending out fewer e-mails, the number of people opting out of receiving e-mail from you should be down and your cost of delivery will decline. For example, where you might have sent out 200,000 e-mails in the past for a campaign, you’re now getting the same or better results with between 30,000 and 40,000 e-mails. You could then experience a 20% increase in e-mail marketing revenue, a 14% reduction in the number of opt-outs and an overall decrease in e-mail marketing costs by 25%. The positive numbers above are a strong reason to make the change but the real reason is tied to the key driver of delivery to an inbox the “reputation” of the sending IP address. While each ISP has a different reputation assessment formula, many of the leading influencers are hygiene related, such as bounces, spam traps, unknown addresses and complaints. Building RFM programs will enhance your reputation and optimize delivery by lowering the potential for complaints and bounces, and reducing the risk of mailing spam trap names. It will also change your measurement denominator so that all other metrics go up — most importantly, ROI.
Used correctly, e-mail is a cost-efficient tool for nurturing existing leads and formulating an effective marketing campaign. The Direct Marketing Association estimates e-mail ROI in 2008 at $45.65 for every dollar spent. E-mail, while offering a cost-effective way for targeting prospects, allows interested recipients to qualify themselves by simply responding to marketing messages. This saves time and effort for both marketers and consumers.
The bottom line: Don’t forget your DM basics just because you’re doing e-mail and look at the differences in terms of what the medium offers.
Bradly Montague President & CEO NOMAMONT, Inc.