Email is indeed the killer app for 1999. But only, of course, if it's email done right. And there is a right way, and a very wrong way, to do approach email marketing.
In a recent column, "The Dark Side of E-mail Marketing," ClickZ columnist Tom Hespos suggests that email marketers who rely on so-called "opt-in" lists to protect their brands are fooling themselves. Recipients, says Tom, don't always remember when they opt in.
While this may be true of most commercial email compilers, who aggregate names from many third-party sources, the savvy direct marketer can avoid this pitfall by relying on opt-in email delivery services that meet another more key requirement -- a strong relationship with the consumers enrolled in it.
Email delivery services that satisfy one or more of the following criteria are properly building relationships with the consumers who have enrolled to receive email through them. And a direct marketer can leverage the strength of this relationship in his or her own pitch. The stronger the relationship the stronger the pitch on top of it.
So let's look at the best ways to build relationships with online consumers through email by looking at the most fundamental components of effective email marketing.
Email can be an enormously powerful and cost-effective medium -- a piece of targeted, HTML-enhanced email costs less than the price of a postage stamp, yet deliver results many times greater than offline direct mail. And responses start piling up in a matter of hours -- as opposed to days, or weeks, in the physical world.
But effective email advertising requires direct marketers to play by a new set of rules -- many of which I have listed above. Together, they comprise a new kind of marketing, one that combines the best of Internet interactivity with traditional relationship building.
I like to call this new kind of marketing Empowerment Marketing -- marketing that empowers online consumers to solicit relevant offers and play a proactive role in building relationships with advertisers. It is a marketing philosophy that at recognizes and (at the same time) takes advantage of the Internet consumer's powerful new roles in guiding relationships with online direct marketers.
If the email delivery service you are using isn't playing by the new rules of Empowerment Marketing, you should seriously consider it as a major risk to your brand. If it is, then you will without a doubt enjoy stronger response rates, a higher ROI, and -- best of all -- a better relationship with your customers.
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December 12, 2013
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