E-mail Is So Pushy

Not to sound like the guy from the tractor-pull commercials, but last week sounded like this: “E-mail! E-mail! E-MAIL! Don’t miss E-MAIL!” It was everywhere I turned:

  • At OMMA, I spoke on two e-mail panels, and members of my team and colleagues spoke on four others. Then I walked the floor and spent quality time with lots of e-mail vendors, like eRoi, Puresend, Conversen, and ExactTarget, discussing the future of e-mail marketing technology companies and where the real opportunities lie.
  • At MIXX, it was conversation after conversation about e-mail.
  • At work, it was all e-mail planning, all the time.
  • At home, it was e-mail from almost every family member and friend I know.
  • On Facebook, it was invites from Anne Holland for the MarketingSherpa Group.
  • In the blogosphere, it was a tremendous week of insights from Mark Brownlow.
  • In the community space, the Email Experience Council released its follow-up “Retail Email Welcome Study.”
  • Even in the print/online world, eMarketer release a fantastic, but extremely conservative, report that looks at the size of the e-mail marketing industry.
  • Don’t get me wrong. Anyone who knows me knows I pretty much live in the e-mail world, so exposure to all this wasn’t new. But the volume of content in one week did get me thinking about why and how e-mail works best in a marketing environment.

    We know 97 percent of marketers use e-mail, and we know people now rely as much on e-mail to manage their lives as they once relied on diaries and planners. But at what point in the sales cycle does e-mail have the biggest impact?

    When you think about a customer’s buying cycle, it typically starts with awareness of a need or problem, moves to consideration, then evaluation, and finally purchase. After that, a whole new experiential cycle begins as a customer tries a product, responds to the products performance, shares experiences, then determines the future relationship with the product/brand or company.

    E-mail clearly plays a role at every phase of both cycles but, considering the impact of other digital media influencers and offline advertising and marketing, I’ve concluded e-mail’s most valuable role is being pushy.

    Many technology firms and tactical e-mail producers will show you phenomenal results of e-mail’s impact at each phase of both cycles. E-mail continuously generates superior (or at least extremely competitive) response rates when compared with any other channel. Yet with longer-term analysis, e-mail’s strongest impact proves to be its ability to speed up the sales process and facilitate the positive experience sharing/repurchase efforts in the experience cycle.

    How pushy is your e-mail? Conduct these two quick reports to check your campaign’s effectiveness:

  • Benchmark consumers’ non-e-mail sales cycle and compare it with the sales cycle of those who opted in to e-mail programs. If you don’t find a 20 percent reduction in sales cycle time for the opt-in e-mail file, you need to improve your e-mail strategy.
  • Build a 12-month trend report on “send to a friend/colleague” clicks. If in the first three months of e-mail messages after a purchase is made, you don’t see at least a 1 percent pass-along rate, consider surveying your customer base. You may have a product satisfaction issue.
  • Thank goodness e-mail is pushy! Because of that, our marketing efforts just continue to get better.

    Meet Jeanniey at ClickZ Specifics: E-Mail Marketing on October 2, in New York City.

    Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.

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