The State of Email Marketing

Last summer, floNetwork’s Peter Evans called out of the blue to inquire somewhat casually about sponsorship opportunities with ClickZ. FloNetwork which was then branded as Media Synergy was just getting its outsourced email solution off the ground, and was looking to launch it in front of the right audience in a big way.

In that unscheduled, brief conversation, Peter and ClickZ envisioned a column devoted exclusively to developing email marketing as a cornerstone of any online program.

At that time, the column seemed a little ahead of the curve. The weekly columnist, Kim MacPherson, wondered if there’d be enough content to fill the web page each week. Would there be enough new and different things to write about? Would there be enough to compel readers to visit… and visit often?

Well – in a word – yes. The column has not only continued to publish new and interesting content each week, it’s actually become one of the most-read columns ClickZ publishes. It draws a large crowd of loyal and passionate readers each Monday, and those devotees come back week after week to hear what fresh advice Kim is dishing out about growing and maintaining a customer base.

So the column is evolving from its hey-Spanky-let’s-put-on-a-show roots. Over the last three months, the Email Marketing thread has reflected the fact that email marketing as both art and science is a whole lot more complex than it seemed when this column was in its infancy.

And now, instead of speaking strictly about building relationships online, and acquiring and servicing customers, the Email Marketing thread will be slicing the discipline even thinner. It will address, for instance, how to apply email marketing in a B2B environment, how to use rich media in email, and how to monetize email as a publishing model.

What’s happening in the column, in fact, mirrors what’s happening in the industry as a whole. And it’s the direction we’ll be taking in a number of ClickZ email products this year, from conferences to print guides to other content threads that focus on specific aspects of email.

Kim no longer worries whether she’ll have enough to write about. In the coming weeks, she’ll be delving into some of the issues raised above, as well a host of others: email sponsorships, email and convergence, privacy initiatives, and producing event-based email communications.

Having evolved from a bit player in the email space to a significant force in the industry’s development, floNetwork, of course, is coming along for the ride, and its branding will continue to surround Kim’s words.

Next week, Kim kicks off a new three-month series of columns with a recap of some of the jargon we’ve come to know and love (and sometimes loathe) in the email space. It’s a good primer for those who need to get up to speed quickly on this ever-widening world of email marketing, and it’ll be an excellent refresher for those of us who’ve been kicking around for a while.

Tune in then…

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