Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rumors of email's demise are similarly misguided. Sure texting and social media are getting bigger, but email is projected to be a $1.6 billion dollar business in 2012. And $1.6 billion is nothing to sneeze at.

While SEO and social media currently make up 70% of online marketing budgets, 94% of online behavior is checking emails. So maybe the budget is out of whack.

Consider the numeric evidence. 35% of consumers spend more than 3 hours a day online. Of those hours, 94% are spent checking emails, searching for something (87%) or doing product research (78%). That leaves only a small fraction of time and attention for YouTube and the other social media venues that are getting so much attention...and budget.

So if you agree that your emails could use a bit of tweaking to maximize their potential, here are a few handy tips:

1. Message Congruency. Sure it's a big word, but it's so critical, it's item #1. Congruency (or lack of it) can make or break your email campaign. Congruency means to be sure that your message, your branding and your product are in alignment. And confirm that those elements are in sync with your customers' needs and wants.
2. Check your work before you deploy! Maybe I'm a snob, but emails with misspellings are an instant 
turnoff. Links that don't link frustrate me. Emails without a subject line are suspicious and get deleted immediately. And messages that are off-target completely make me reach reflexively to the "Block this Sender" icon.

3. Optimize your Results. Sending emails to dead mailboxes is a tragic waste of electrons. Work on your list quality regularly. Keep an eye on the basics: Check your "from" field and subject line. Be sure your subject line is compelling, provocative or illuminative of what follows. Monitor content to see if some material earns higher response rates; monitor launch frequency data as well as day of the week and time of day. There is magic in data if you but analyze-and act-on it.

4. Buy into Branding. A successful email doesn't have to get opened to have an impact. An email increases your brand awareness, whether opened or not. Recipients still see your brand name in their inbox, and that reminder may be enough to influence their next buying decision.

5. Repeat. Like any type of direct marketing, you need to repeat and repeat and repeat. There is value in 
repetition. Maybe your first message didn't land when the recipient had time or interest. But something will resonate eventually. If you but keep at it consistently. Quitters never win; winners never quit.

The stock market and hem lines may go up or down, the weather may be hot or hotter. But email is still the most frequent online activity your customers engage in. Plan for it. Prepare for it. Launch it. It will bring results.  

Marketing Take-away:
94% of the time consumers spend online is reading mail. If you're not in their in-box regularly you are missing a huge opportunity. If you need help is developing or deploying an effective email campaign, call Paul&Partners. We'll help make your email exceptional! 703-996-0800. 

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