It's never been a question of knowledge, really. E-mail marketers have always known what to do to create amazing customer experiences. We know we need to segment, customize content, personalize the experience, and pull back on generic promotions. The reason why most e-mail marketing doesn't do those things and resembles broadcasts more than dialogs is that we just never put our full effort into it. Pressure was low because the channel is inexpensive and broadcasts to the file earned plenty of short-term revenue.
Now, a new set of inbox management tools are emerging from the global mailbox providers like Yahoo, Hotmail/MSN, and Gmail. These tools make it easier for subscribers to avoid whatever isn't interesting to them. In fact, Hotmail did a major release of the new features in the last week of July, so more and more subscribers have access to the Sweep and other filtering tools. I call it the "Ultra Managed Inbox" and introduced the concept in my last column.
To continue to earn high revenue from the channel, e-mail marketers must adopt a new attitude about the importance of subscriber experience and loyalty - and focus on making our e-mail messages worthy of the inbox.
Consider these eight steps now, and incorporate them into your practices and calendar to protect your base and improve response and revenues for the long term. Embrace them before the full suite of inbox management tools become ubiquitous over the next few months.
These changes are not off in the distant future. The tools are available (and being promoted by the mailbox providers). How are you planning to adapt for the new, ultra-managed inbox? Let me know any questions or thoughts in the comments section below.
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Stephanie Miller is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable online experiences. A digital marketing expert, she helps responsible data-driven marketers connect with the people, resources, and ideas they need to optimize response and revenue. She speaks and writes regularly and leads many industry initiatives as VP, Member Relations and Chief Listening Officer at the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org). Feedback and column ideas most welcome, to smiller AT the-dma DOT org or @stephanieSAM.
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