Monday, December 29, 2008
My friend, Simms Jenkins, at BrightWave Marketing, has an excellent article in the email section of the iMedia Connection website that anyone responsible – directly or indirectly – for building and sustaining their company’s brand image should read.
The article is titled, “Stupid email practices and the marketers behind them,”and illustrates how companies – including sales representatives and dealers – erode their brand through the ignorant and incorrect use of email.
Among the observations Simms makes in his article is that requesting and receiving permission is fundamental to the proper and effective use of email. Says Jenkins, “Just because email is cheap and accessible doesn't mean it should be practiced by all. The backlash can be severe -- and rightfully so.
Firing off emails in the hopes that something sticks is just not a smart way to market. There is much evidence that demonstrates email marketing works when permission is part of the mix. If it isn't there, then maybe you shouldn't be either.”
Email Marketing is Not a Democratic Process
Effective email communication is the result of thinking it through rather than simply thinking it up. As a long-time observer of both good and bad email, I have learned that if you are going to use email to sell and serve customers, you must have central command and control over the entire email communications process. In other words, you must control:
- Who is permitted to create and send email,
- What is being offered or communicated,
- When it is being sent, and
- How responses or inquiries will be handled.
If you do not manage this process properly, the effectiveness of your email campaigns will be compromised.
Good Email Marketing Builds Brand Loyalty
Last year, Forrester Research reported that “email subscribers spend 133% more than non-readers of email.” That finding underscores why email is the single most effective direct marketing tactic for driving new and repeat purchases. But there is a right way and a wrong way to do email marketing.
Brands that invest the time and money in training management and staff on the basics and best practices of email marketing are at a distinct advantage over those companies that have no process or guidelines for email marketing, and allow anyone to create and send email.
If you’re looking for a great resource to understand the components of effective email, download ExactTarget’s Email Marketing Field Guide. It’s a concise description of what permission-based email marketing is and how to use email to build brand loyalty by providing information that aids the customer’s decision-making process and drives repeat purchase.