What is Email Marketing; and What it Should Be
Lots of people new to the world of online promotion end up asking, what is email marketing? Well, taken from Wikipedia, email marketing is, “A form of direct marketing which uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial or fundraising messages to an audience.” OK, that’s great, but I think just about anybody could have figured out the literal definition of what email marketing is.
More important than that is understanding the answer to the question “what is email marketing?” in the real world. We all receive plenty of email marketing messages each and every day, most of them we lump into the SPAM category. They are wastes of time and space, they slow down and infect our computers, they try to sell us enhancement creams or steal our bank account information and of course they give the rest of us a bad name.
Therefore email marketing in the real world has fast taken on the definition of SPAM. Again from Wikipedia, SPAM is, “The abuse of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.”
In other words, email marketing for consumers is fast becoming aligned with fraudulent garbage. For sketchy, illicit or downright illegal business operations, email marketing has taken on the definition of the cheapest way to exploit loads of money from the unsuspecting public at large by poking and prodding repeatedly ad nauseam until somebody purposely or inadvertently caves in.
Now, what should email marketing be? I.M.P.O.R.T.A.N.T.
Now that we know what email marketing really is, by the literal definition and by the interpretations of both consumers and spammers, we should take a look at what email marketing should be. Email marketing should be I.M.P.O.R.T.A.N.T.
Let’s break this down piece by piece so we have as clear a definition as we can. Email marketing should be insightful marketing. In other words, we should be using all of our judgment, knowledge, expertise and experience to deliver quality, handcrafted messages that not only will produce results, but also speak to the desires of our audience.
Email marketing should be personalized. First, that means building a permission based list of people who really want to hear from you. From there, it means using your name and showing pictures of yourself so your audience knows who you are. It means segmenting your list so that different people receive messages containing what they are most interested in, rather than a generic message of no real value.
Email marketing should be optimized. You should be testing every aspect of your email campaigns to see what works the best. Try different subject lines, content, layouts, color schemes, delivery times and more.
Email marketing should be relevant and targeted. Once again, segment your list into groups and learn what your audience is really interested in. Make your messages timely and full of valuable information that people can really use. Don’t just send what you feel like talking about; send what people want to hear.
Finally, email marketing should never be tired. This means that you shouldn’t keep sending out the same retread emails over and over again and you shouldn’t keep using that same template you had from your first email campaign in 2002.
Refresh your campaigns…bring in guests from other websites or companies to write on special topics…change your layouts so that they are more visually appealing and convert better in the process…think of new, fresh ideas for every email and always be trying new things… stay ahead of the curve and integrate new technology, services and methods instead of playing catch-up down the road.
So how can I answer the question, “what is email marketing”? How about, I.M.P.O.R.T.A.N.T.