Last month I wrote about being converted from an email marketer who strongly recommended the suppression of inactives in email campaigns to one who believes that if marketers suppress the inactives in their list, they are missing an opportunity to deliver an ad impression that may lead to a conversion in another channel or at a later date or both. This, as I wrote, means your email campaigns will produce less ROI for your company.
Let's review again the arguments in support of suppressing inactives:
And let's sum up my reason not to -- each email that lands in an inbox is an opportunity for a sale in another channel at best, and a brand impression at worst. You can get the rest of the detail by going back and reading the whole column, because today I want to address what an email marketer who buys into this new perspective would do differently. Here's my starter list:
Now, if you desire to put some coupons into the hands of your list, you're going to need to get people to open your email, in which case you'd want to alert your inactives. "Before you walk into our store this weekend, wouldn't you like a buy-one, get-one coupon?" Give them a reason to open that particular email from you. It doesn't mean they will, but it raises your odds.
The big difference between an email audience and a television audience is that the email audience is delivered by you, the marketer, while the television audience is delivered by the network. The CPM associated with email is based on the cost per thousand you send versus the cost per potential thousand eyeballs seeing the advertisement. But if you begin to think in terms of impressions, then even at a $2.00 CPM, email is the best bargain in the advertising universe! Now, I'm not suggesting that you happily fork over that amount (though you happily did so only a few years ago) -- what I am suggesting is that in a world where impressions are king, the CPM you pay should never be the determining factor in choosing your email partner.
In this world, the keys to your success are the delivery rates and the creative and strategic services available from a partner, in addition to the actual quality of the email list you are bringing to the table. A low CPM will save you money, but alone itisn't enough because you want that email getting into the mailbox and you want it to be noticed. Getting folks to open your email is like getting someone to pay attention to your advertisement. When was the last time you read a magazine ad?
Of course all of this is a lot to think about -- and it's very easy to come up with lots of reasons not to change the way you think about email marketing.I've seen all the arguments from folks like Jordan Cohen of Pontiflex (who is a great guy, by the way) who claim the cost of mailing regularly to inactives can't be justified. I would counter that the revenue gains of doing so far outweigh the ever-decreasing CPMcost to send email campaigns. Another argument is that a "direct" channel should drive conversion, not metrics associated with branding campaigns (impressions). To this, I would counter that ad impressions do drive conversions, and that the line between brand and direct marketing got hopelessly blurred several years ago in digital marketing. The debate is just getting started, and it's good for email marketers to challenge the conventional wisdom -- even if we decide it's correct. You can be sure this won't be the last time I write about it!
Christopher Marriott is VP of agency services at StrongMail.
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Thank you, Nick! And thanks for reading the column Nick and Rolv. I know you have a lot of other things demanding your attention.
"Give them a reason to open that particular email from you"I think you make a great point. Just because they have opened previous emails from your company, that doesn't mean they are going to open this particular email. Each email needs to compel a receiver to open it and take action. Don't assume they will take the time to open it!
Maybe one should look at another marketing opportunity and that is the emails we all send every day. I represent a company that has developed a solution for just those emails and thus this post.The basic idea behind WRAPmail is to utilize the facts that almost everyone have websites (corporate and/or social network site) and also send emails every day. These emails can become complete market-ing tools and help promote, brand, sell and cross-sell in addition to drive traffic to the website and conduct research. WRAPmail is available for free (with 3rd party ads) or for a small license fee at www.wrapmail.com. WRAPmail also helps search for missing children with every email sent by incorporating an optional RSS feed from the Center for Missing and Exploited Children
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