Our inboxes are groaning with hundreds of emails we don’t read, don’t want and didn’t sign up for. No sooner than we unsubscribe from some unwanted email newsletter, than another one pops into our inbox from someone else we’ve never met. Do people think this is the way to actually drive sales or generate goodwill toward their cause or brand? Unfortunately, the answer is “yes” many people think this is good email marketing.
The days of the monthly or quarterly email newsletter are done and gone. Kill off the newsletter.
With the massive amount of information available to anyone with a simple Google search (now increasingly done with a simple verbal command), combined with the rapid flow of email (both necessary and unsolicited messages) filling our inboxes, I think it’s time that organizations rethink their use of email marketing.
Don’t get me wrong, whether we like it or not, email is still an essential communications tool, especially for certain often business-related communications. Busy professionals all over the world battle their email inboxes, and many organizations are transitioning to innovative new messaging platforms for internal collaboration and communication which work outside of the email message paradigm. Consider platforms like Slack and Asana (which we use) which are very fast growing internally-focused, team collaboration tools.
So while email is one of the great challenges of workers in the professional world, it remains a critical tool for reaching the outside world (i.e. customers, vendors, partners, etc.).
It’s 2016, what are email marketing tactics that still work?
Today, there are several email marketing tactics and techniques that still work, and still work very effectively. Let’s take a look at these so we can adjust our thinking about email marketing communications and focus on better, current best practices.
First, event-driven email communications still work very well. For example, using an automated email series to keep in contact, and educate over a period of time, new prospective customers (or donors or members or volunteers, etc.) is very effective. We’ve written articles on the use of autoresponder emails and there are many other uses for this type of automated series such as on-boarding new clients, ensuring and measuring satisfaction of new clients (for certain types of specific products), responding to requests for information or following-up after professional events. These are examples of emails tied to a specific or unique event.
See below image for a visual representation of a 3-stage automated, lead nurturing campaign.
The second type of email campaigns that still work well involve sending highly-targeted information of an educational, informational type to very narrowly segmented groups of customers or prospects. This can work very well as long as the information is seen as useful, informational and very specifically matches some known need or characteristic of your target audience.
The more closely you can match the theme of your email campaign to the known specific situation or needs of your audience, the more successful you will be. After all, people still do look at their email and want to derive information or value from the emails they allow into their inboxes.