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Cracking the Code on Email Marketing

Posted 18 June 2015 9:00 AM by Rania Renno and Erin Blake

Email Marketing: Everyone does it, but do they do it right? How can organizations leverage email to build a strong, cohesive and insightful marketing ecosystem? I sat down with Moxie’s email expert, Erin Blake, to crack the email code and discover some tips, tricks and common challenges.

Q. How can email play a role in an organization’s marketing ecosystem?

A. Email sometimes gets a bad rap because it’s not as new or as “sexy” as, say, social marketing. But here’s the little secret that no one tells you: Email is one of the few channels where your customers specifically ask your company to communicate with them. With TV, print, radio, etc., you’re targeting people — based on data and insights — you believe are open to your brand. With email, you’re communicating with people you know are open to your brand. And when used properly, it can be a door through which you can guide your customers to your other platforms.

Q. What are the types of insights that an organization can gain through email?

A. Email is a particularly rich source of data. You can gain instant insights into what works and what doesn’t. You can see exactly what images or calls to actions grab customers’ attention and what messages bring in the most money. You can see when your customers are opening your messages and when you irritate them so much that they unsubscribe. Integrate your email program into your CRM program. Segment your subscriber’s data ten ways to Sunday to make sure you’re targeting the right consumer with the right message.

Q. When setting up a new email program, what is the most important thing to keep in mind?

A. The most important thing for anyone to keep in mind, be it their first or fifteenth year in email, is that it is the quality, not the quantity of your subscribers that matters. It’s much better to have a small yet highly engaged group of subscribers than to have a multimillion-subscriber base that never opens —much less clicks on — your emails. Grow your list and pay attention to the learnings you gain from every email you send. If people aren’t responding to a certain type of message, don’t keep sending it. If an offer only applies to a small subset of your subscriber base, only send it to those people. Don’t risk alienating your subscriber base on the premise of getting the word out to the most people possible. Send people relevant information at the right time, and your program will grow organically. And please — pretty please with an emphatic cherry on top — do not try and cut corners and buy a list!

Q. What is the biggest challenge of email?

A. Getting people to open your email is the biggest challenge. Inboxes are cluttered, so if you want your email to be opened, you better have a fantastic subject line and deliver content that your subscribers find valuable. Test constantly and tailor your messages to your subscriber base.

Q. What is email’s future? What role do you see it playing 10 years from now?

A. The future of email is a completely personalized experience. And I’m not talking about putting a name in a subject line — anyone can do that and it no longer impresses the consumer. I’m talking about a true, 1:1 messaging program. Batch and blast campaigns will largely be a thing of the past. Each subscriber’s customer journey will be nurtured through a series of triggered emails, which are designed to deliver a tailored message at exactly the right time.

Q. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to an organization that is new to email marketing?

A. Did I already mention not buying a list? I did? Well it’s worth repeating: Do not waste your time or money purchasing a list. Instead, put the time and effort into cultivating your own list of highly engaged subscribers, and you’ll be much more successful in the long run.


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