Still With Us After All These Years

We hate it, we curse it, we try to ignore it, but email is still a thing. In fact, it shows no sign of weakening it’s killer hold at the top of the list of communication and marketing tools! As one Gartner researcher notes in Email: The Once and Future Marketing Channel, email is the tool that will help you successfully navigate “an uncertain future marked by disruptive technology and rapidly shifting consumer behavior.”

Maybe it’s time to pay more attention to this powerful tool.

As is true with many of the remarkable tools that have been made available to us through the magic of digital (PowerPoint comes to mind as another obvious example), the problem is not that we don’t use email, but that we so often don’t use it right, well, or to the best effect. Let’s try to work on that. First, there is the issue of manners. There’s nothing wrong with practicing some common etiquette, and if  you want your emails to be read (and – in the case of marketing – responded to) try some politeness. Craft a good subject line so people don’t have to guess at what they will read if they open your mail. Proofread your email, both for clarity, and to make a good impression. Include a comprehensive signature, unless you are mailing to someone who already knows who you are and how to reach you. Oh, and that last line you like to include as a personal statement? Remember that polite people don’t discuss religion, politics or money in public. This infographic provides a few dozen more tips. Marketers, are you doing a good job of maintaining up-to-date email lists? Do you measure the right things when you evaluate your email campaigns? Do you try market segmentation to test different messages? If not, you may be committing some of the biggest mistakes email marketers make. Continue at your own peril.

Speaking of email lists, whether you are collecting potential donors, customers, or supporters of a cause, never underestimate the value of an email address, and the permission to use it. There is a lot of good advice available on how to create a killer email list. You might be surprised to find that most of the strategies don’t involve email, but use other online tools and methods like videos and webinars. And on the subject of value, a return of nearly $45.00 for every dollar invested in a good email campaign is nothing to sniff at, wouldn’t you agree?
About those metrics and measurements, how much do you know about open rates, click-throughs, CTOR or conversions? Do  you know how to measure these metrics? Even more important, do you know what to do with the information you measure, to make your efforts more fruitful and productive? Because I believe in fairness, and giving credit where credit is due, I’m going to suggest that you visit Social Media expert Kivi Leroux Millers offer page for her download that will tell you most everything you need to know about the subject. I’ll warn you in advance though, she might ask you for your email address!

I have produced an email newsletter three times a week for over 4 years, and if you have been thinking that it is high time you started one of your own, let me tell you that it isn’t a simple task but it certainly is a rewarding one. In addition to some of the ideas already mentioned here, you might want to take a look at these 7 Ways to Perfect Your Email Newsletter for even more good tips. And if you would like to sign up for my TNT Newsletter, I’d be happy to send it to you.

Oh, for those of you who work with people who hold to the idea that direct mail (you know, that postal service stuff) is better than email, you might want to help them understand that there is no war needed and no winner sought. The two strategies actually work quite well, and even better together.
Have a great day!