Lately I’ve seen a number of bloggers, writers and self-proclaimed experts announce that email is a passé form of marketing. Actually, most of them say it’s dead. A couple of years ago Mark Zuckerberg said email was dead. Of course…he was introducing a messaging system on Facebook, but I’m sure there’s no conflict of interest there.
ExactTarget published some fun stats on email on its blog post titled “50 Email Marketing Tips and Stats for 2014.” It seems that 95 percent of online consumers use email and 91 percent check it at least once a day. As a marketer I like those odds.
My agency has used email to engage our client’s clients for over a decade now, and we’ve learned lots of fun things. The subject line with an open rate 125 percent above average was “Oops. We messed up.” Interestingly, the unsubscribe rate was about one fourth of normal. Right now some of you are thinking, “Cool, I’ll use that.” It only worked because it was a genuine error and the list subscribers had an established level of trust with the brand.
We send out Happy Birthday emails on your birthday for one of our clients. There is a no-strings-attached $10 gift certificate in the email. We’ve been doing this for almost five years for this client, sending out thousands of Happy Birthday emails. Until last year, no one had ever un-subscribed from a Happy Birthday email. Then it happened…someone unsubscribed! What occurred in that person’s life on that particular day? What was so bad that they not only didn’t want $10, but they didn’t want to hear from us at all… ever again? My psyche was shattered. Well, not really, but I was disappointed for several minutes. They probably just moved out of town.
I think one of my favorite things about email is that we, or our client, own the list. The people who sign up do so because they like a brand enough to say, “Please talk to me, interact with me, teach me something new.” As long as we don’t abuse that relationship and we provide them with value, the price of maintaining that relationship is very reasonable. Google+, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media platforms we use can and do change the terms of the relationship for their benefit. Facebook has tightened the rules about page posts to “clean up the Newsfeed.” The result is that you may have to pay to promote your posts on your own page if Facebook deems your posts “spammy.”
I like email both personally and professionally because every interaction doesn’t have to be public. I can email a business to get information about carpet cleaning without announcing every boring detail of my request to the world. Professionally, email creates a direct point of contact for our clients. New business opportunities may be addressed and complaints resolved before they become public, damaging your reputation.
Spam is still a problem, and as long as we have weasels in the world I don’t think it will ever be completely stopped. Maybe we need flogging in the public square for spammers. The public could line up and each person get to administer one lash for every piece of spam received that day. That’s about 75 lashes I get to administer. I think we could get that through Congress with bi-partisan support!