It IS Rocket Science

It’s no wonder that email marketing is such a hot topic these days: When properly planned and targeted, email is the most effective direct response tool available online… the ultimate in “push” marketing vehicles.

But email is also quickly becoming an all-around customer relationship device because of its ability to process transactions and handle everyday issues such as customer service inquiries and feedback, which makes it even more powerful.

Just take a look at the following statistics that give further credence to email’s tremendous strength and future…

A recent Forrester Research study estimated that in 2002, 250 BILLION emails will travel across cyberspace. And Jupiter’s latest research reports email ad response rates currently averaging between 5 to 15 percent. Compare that to the struggling banner ad, which is still falling, on average, at well below 1 percent. You can see why online marketers are clamoring to jump on the email bandwagon.

Of course, all of this inbox “action” presents a huge laundry list — clean AND dirty — of issues for marketers to deal with when venturing into this potentially explosive domain. (No, it’s not just about hitting “Send” anymore).

Not to worry. We plan to uncover all the pertinent issues in the weeks ahead, including topics such as:

  • Launching an Email Component – Where to begin? Is email interaction necessary to grow your business? What are the basic steps? Do you outsource and if so, how do you choose the best “partners” for your business?

  • What Does Opt-In Mean? – You may think you know all there is on this much-debated topic, but you may actually learn a few things. Whether you’re planning on developing… or in the process of developing your own email list.

  • Lists and List Vendors – While the online world may not yet encompass the wide-range and fine-tuned targeting ability of direct mail, it IS possible to find lists that will both complement and enhance your promotions. The questions are WHERE and HOW.

  • Growing a List Organically – Though the term “viral marketing” has a bit of a scary ring to it, it can be one of the top methods to grow your email list… at an exponential rate. But how do you go about it? What should you plan, as far as offer, message and technology go? And how do you avoid getting into trouble?

  • Getting Prospects to “Open the Envelope” – a.k.a. “Tips for increasing response with Subject Lines and From Fields.” Tips like these can, believe it or not, help boost your response by double-digit percentages.

  • Writing Compelling Copy – Email is NOT direct mail. Nor is it a print ad or a telemarketing script. Because of its “space” and interactive nature, it needs to be written using specific methodologies to make it as enticing as it needs to be.

  • When Your Subscribers Elect to “Unsubscribe” – How to handle – and possibly keep – these folks… without getting kicked in the you-know-where.

  • To HTML… or Not – What are the key advantages and components to an effective HTML message? What types of products and services are most enhanced with HTML? What are the most effective resources and tools to send out HTML-based promotions and/or house newsletters?

  • Your Customer Database – Personalization, modeling and profiling… data mining by customer interests and response analyses… plus a host of other ways to slice and dice (not to mention – manage) your customer file. This is one topic that offers plenty of good fodder – in fact, we MAY even make it a “mini-series”!

  • How to Measure a Campaign’s Effectiveness – What tools are available to help you accurately read your results? How can you streamline the process of measuring and reporting? How can you turn your data analyses into new strategies?

  • Email as a Retention Device – How do you get your subscriber customers to come back? Better yet, how do you get them to come back and BUY? Here, we’ll cover message timing issues (how much is TOO much?), offer creation and follow-up. We’ll also cover subscriber value measurement over the long haul.

  • Letting Customers “Talk Back” – Email is, first and foremost, a communications tool designed for, well, communication. That means “two-way.” Back and forth. Not everyone handles this effectively; yet as time goes on, it will be vital to the success of your online business. We’ll explore some principles to strengthen your dialogues with your customers.

All of that and more. In fact, the topics will be regularly tweaked in order to present the timeliest information possible. (After all, seems there’s always late breaking news in the world of rocket science).

By the way, your suggestions are ALWAYS welcome. Just email any ideas of topics you’d like to see covered. I’m looking forward to the interaction and am “opted-in” to receive.

See you next week.

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