E-mail Questions That Can’t Be Answered (Quickly)

Thanks to my job and my role in an industry organization, I’m fortunate to speak frequently about e-mail marketing. My personal rule is to never use the same presentation twice. I’ve sometimes used a few slides on multiple occasions, but I tailor the content depending on the audience I’m speaking to.

At the end of each session, there’s always time for questions. No matter what I speak about, five or six of the same questions usually float to the top that just can’t be answered quickly:

  • What’s the best day of the week to send an e-mail?

  • How can I grow my list?
  • Where should I put my link inside an e-mail?
  • Even if the e-mail is going to [insert name here], do I have to have an unsubscribe link?
  • How frequently should I e-mail?

I really appreciate people coming to listen to me or joining a Webinar when I speak and am thrilled when they trust my opinion enough to ask questions. However, it must be frustrating to ask a question that can’t be answered in such a short window, and with no context.

If you’ve ever had this happen to you, I’d love to know about it. There must be a way the industry can be more helpful at events.

I took a small poll of some Email Experience Council (EEC) members asking for their thoughts. Here’s some feedback I received:

  • Maybe someone should create a guideline for asking a question to make sure the relevant content is included: company type, e-mail’s role, goal of the program, what is considered success (as ClickZ’s E-mail Forum does).

  • Maybe events should secure speakers time for 30 minutes after the event for specific follow up (like shop.org does).
  • What if attendees were given a paper contact form they could use to turn in a question after the event?
  • I think questions should be eliminated from events, they open the door to annoying sales people.
  • People who ask questions are looking for free support. What if someone built a blog-like database of frequently asked conference questions and the community could add great answers they received?

I’m not sure what the right answer is, but I know that with e-mail, the answer I provide to one client may be totally different than what I’d tell another client based on the realities of their culture and capabilities.

If you have a good idea on how to best help further information-sharing in our industry, let me know.

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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