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new media summit – email marketing is alive and well

October 15, 2008

Greg Cangialosi – Blue Sky Factory, Inc. 

Richard Evans – Silverpop

Pamela O’Hara – BathBlue Software

Chip Terry – ZoomInfo

Is email dead? Is it still going strong?

Pam – No it’s not dead. Both from working with clients and our own company, there are a lot of ways to be having a conversation, and email is sort of a deal closer, a way to get to the conversation and the biggest tool in your tool set. 
Richard – Growth continues, organically as well as with people who have started and dabbled at it in the past in blast email format and are now moving to new methods in transactional email etc. Every interaction that happens in social networks carries the email channel in the background. We see marketing and social media merging with email technologies. 
Greg – Email is the workhorse, staple of all online marketing, when you have the direct marketing association saying that for every dollar spent in direct marketing campaigns they can expect a $48 ROI you start to see how valuable it still holds. Email has lost its sizzle, we have proliferation of new techologies, things like twitter, facebook and myspace, and compared to these, email is traditional, but at the same time we see incredible ROI. There are three kinds of email: social email, marketing emails and transactional emails, all key drivers of commerce. Its not dead, its role is changing and becoming a digital glue and a driver of other forms of communication and interaction. 
I know email is tried and true, but is it trusted?
Greg – If you’re doing it right it absolutely is trusted. Begins with relevance. e-relevance is the new spam. If you’re getting msgs from me that are not relevant you see that as spam. Trust and then execution of one-to-one dialogue is key. 
Chip – Traditional email marketing in terms of blasting same email to thousands is dead. But carefully crafted list that is monitored well, with a good offer and targeted recipients is definitely still useful. Be relevant, that’s going to matter. 

Bulk email is ok, unsolicited email is ok. How do you define spam, and how close can a marketer get before crossing the line?

Chip- There needs to be a clear opt out, needs to come from a real email address, must not be sent again to someone who has opted out. But the question is, how do we look at standards that go beyond what’s legal? You have to be very careful. Is bulk email sending 500 emails to a targeted audience or sending 10 million emails to anyone you can get an address for? 

Pam – Really, spam is in the mind of your customer, and is different for each person. You’re trying to build a relationship. You’ve got to slowly walk in, give people tons of opportunities to say back off, and it’s an ongoing definition you’ll have to build on with each individual. 

What happens to te companies that people learn are definitely spammers?

Richard – When a customer engages in spamming people, we address that and first and foremost work with them to understand that what they’re doing is a violation of law and horrible biz practice. We don’t see it that often, but do terminate contracts with those that abuse the system. 

Greg – We’ve set up our network to break out each sender and measure the reputation of that sender. We can find out how many are complaining or hitting spam button when those emails come in. We run a strict policy, and three strikes you’re out 

Richard – Relevance is a term that keeps coming up here, and is key. When you think about email and how it’s related to new media in facebook and myspace, if it becomes irrelevant then it’s spam. If i log onto twitter and all i see is corporate ad-related tweets, that becomes spam. There is alot that has been learned in the email industry that can be carried over into other communities. 

Chip – email marketing is part of a marketing mix. It’s not send an email and hoping you get a response, its being on facebook, myspace, linked in, sending a postcard, going to an event, engaging with customers. All of that combined. Email has the benefit of being highly trackable, but I think that trackability has led to overuse of the medium. Find the right list, have a compelling offer, and that’s most of it. 

Pam – You can send email but also see if people are talking about your brand on other networks so integrating these mediums is important. If someone is complaining about your product or advertisement you can take them off the list or engage with them personally. 

Email marketing as an acquisition tool?

Greg – There is a big difference between list rental and list purchase. You can pay a lot for the list You have to have a clear call to action and a very catching message. Need to tread very lightly in this space. 

Richard – Using email for acquisiton purpose is broken. You come off as spam, pay a lot, people end up on your list who are not engaged or interested to begin with. Better to use other methods (viral marketing, your website, social networks) to find targets. You can use emails sent to current customers and then seeing who they forward it on to and have relationships with so there is already a more relevant list. 

How many emails is the right number, and then when is the best time?

Richard – It’s the time that the recipients are in the inbox. When an open or a click occurs, you should be able to see that time stamp. That’s a fairlyl good indicator of when you should send an email not just to that list or segment, but to that individual. Over time you can pinpoint when is best to send an email to every individual on your list. 

Greg – We’ve found the same thing in terms of looking at the reporting and it comes down to the client. Some of our clients email quarterly, some daily. Also depends on the type of program you’re running. In terms of specific day and time, look at your data. 

Email tracking is great for positive relevancy, how do you cull list and figure out when you are no longer relevant?

Chip – We go through and say if you haven’t opened in the last three months or six months, we’ll make that cutoff, send some final message, and then take you off the list. 

Greg – It’s all in the data again. See when people have stopped responding. Different clients handle it differently. 

Pam – Make sure whether its your CRM or email sources, you need to be able to figure out who is silent and not responding, its just as important as knowing who is converting. 

Is there is one thing to help people improve their email marketing, what would it be?

Pam – You should have a flexible, customizable solution that meets your specific needs. Embracing and understanding that the data is out there and knowing the tools. 

Richard – We talked a lot about data and relevance. Think about the other channels that you operate in. Whether it’s media, networks or other mediums, the time that you spend understanding those mediums, take that time and go back and apply it to email. It used to be that you could just send out mass emails. So take time to look at the data, look at the content you’re sending out, and think about it as relationship marketing. 

Greg – Fitting in with the theme of social marketing and this event, I go back to talking about email being the digital glue. I recommend that everyone try this with your email list. If you have presence on other networks, platforms, blogs, etc, use email to tie all those other assets together. It’s extraordinarily successful, spreading our message all around the social web. And be consistent. It’s just like blogging. Telling people what you’re going to send, what to do with it, and then following up. 

Chip – recognize that email is part of overall marketing mix, marketing people have different sets of expertise than they used to, they are going to be data driven, processes are different, are going to look at microsegments of  your audience, technologies used will be different, you’re going to be using different technologies, to have that you need the right people, right technology, right processes.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2008 12:27 am

    A friend of mine just emailed me one of your articles from a while back. I read that one a few more. Really enjoy your blog. Thanks

  2. October 16, 2008 7:41 am

    Thanks for posting the session. Hope you enjoyed the event!

    – Greg

  3. Richard Evans permalink
    October 17, 2008 8:50 pm

    Anya — Thanks for posting the recap. Hope the information was helpful.


  4. sailkat permalink*
    October 17, 2008 10:48 pm

    You’re both very welcome, pleasure to hear your thoughts on the industry.


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