Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Don't Email Me... You Don't Know Me That Well

I was asked to speak on a panel today to the Triangle Interactive Marketing Association, the Triangle in question being Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC. The subject was best practices in email marketing and about 70 people showed up. I think I was there to represent the skeptics, as everyone else was a devotee.

Don't get me wrong, email marketing can be a good thing. But I had three main caveats:

  1. Email marketing is best for relationships. Unless you're careful or clever, using it for customer acquisition can be brand damaging.
  2. The list is king, and a smaller real list is better than a bigger junky list. (Unless you don't agree with number one and want to be perceived as a spammer.)
  3. You're not in control. Most good campaigns are deleted by 70% of people unopened, so think long and hard about why your content matters to me and when I want to receive it, not when you want to send it. Otherwise, it's going to the trash bin.
There was about 80 minutes of detail wrapped around the details, but to me, that's the just of it. I don't mind my HoneyBaked Ham email right before Easter offering me 10% off. In that case, that's the relationship. I don't mind my daily American Advertising Federation e-update. They have news I signed up for, even if I can't read it every day... That's the relationship.

I try to do that with my company's e-newsletter. Short, monthly, filled with marketing tips. Want to get on the list? (C'mon, I know you've been wondering where you can get more email!) If so, just leave me a comment with your email address and I'll add you to it.