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Email marketing in 2013: the mission, the challenges

email_marketing_in_2013_not_mission_impossibleThis article is for your eyes only. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to be succesful in email marketing in 2013, while keeping subscribers, management and co-workers equally happy.

The mission, meant for all online marketers worldwide, consists of the challenges described below in detail. These challenges can turn out to be tough, but not insurmountable.

Email marketing in 2013 – Challenge 1: being relevant

The first challenge is a classic, but has become very important in recent years. Both subscribers (who are the best spam filter) and ISPs / email hosts have become very good at detecting whether content really applies to the designated receiver or not.

First question to pop up is of course: how can you be relevant to your audience? It’s really simple, but definitely not applied enough by marketers worldwide. Ask the people what they want to hear from you, how often. Next to that interest gathering, be sure to look at behaviour. This is because saying is one thing, but doing is another. When someone says they like

Email marketing in 2013 – Challenge 2: being thankful

When was the last time you actually thanked your clients, your subscribers? You don’t need to provide a gift, an offer, a discount: just say thank you and mean it. I’ve touched upon this in previous times, but just like challenge 1 it is becoming more and more important. Don’t take anything for granted. Responses, sales, event registrations or downloads: everything is worth a thank you. This is especially the case for people who have been a client or subscriber for several years. They have been loyal to you for all that time: why haven’t you rewarded them yet? Don’t do it on the designated times like a Christmas or new years’ card, or when your company celebrates a certain milestone.

Thank the people because you are really happy to have them aboard, and want to keep it that way for a long time. You won’t be selling anything to them when you send them a thank you email, so it’ll be all the more appreciated compared to your regular email marketing messages.

Email marketing in 2013 – Challenge 3: being everywhere

The best way to be sure people remember you, your brand and your products is to be top of mind. The best way to be top of mind is to have repeat touch points across channels: only email marketing, as great as it is, won’t cut it in the super-connected modern world.

Where are your subscribers? Is it necessary to be on all social media platforms, or to be on social media at all? What about search? Which news sites and blogs do they frequent? Should you put up ads there? Are your clients the kind of people who attend events, trade shows and such? Or more of an online webinar, video type of crew? Not knowing many of these essential things means only reaching a limited number of your subscribers and numbers a limited number of times.

Even though email marketing should not be the only channel for this, you can still use email to communicate about other channels.

Guess who’s one of the top email senders worldwide in the past month? Facebook. They sent out 14,67 billion emails (that’s nearly half a billion per day) in the past 30 days, just behind Yahoo! and Google (Gmail), and just in front of Hotmail/Outlook.com. Yes, a social network beats one of the biggest webmail providers (about 400 million users) at their own game. Why does Facebook send so many emails? Because if they didn’t send all those notifications of new likes, messages, birthdays, invites and whatnot, it would cost them millions of visits per month. I really wonder how much traffic they get from the email channel, but I bet it’s a lot. People are often too lazy to turn off all those email notifications, so that helps as well.

Facebook is good at email marketing. Stuffing your inboxes with updates – and because you’re curious, you click through to the network to see who said what when about you or someone else. Now I’m not saying you should stuff inboxes as well about anything you do. Focus! Find out where your subscribers and clients are and select the best options for you to run email marketing campaigns to promote those locations, be it either offline or online. It will result in being more top of mind in the long run for sure.


So there you go. Good luck, and let us know how you do this year. This message will not self-destruct, so you can check back on the challenges later on.

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