E-mail Marketing: Rumors of its Death are Exaggerated
E-mail is not dead, said my friend and colleague, publishing consultant Lou Ann Sabatier. You just need to manage it properly.
Lou Ann should know. She recently did an e-mail survey to get some audiences responses to a couple of client publications. Now here’s the thing: the client had done a survey themselves not long before. Their response rate? Zero.
So Lou wasn’t pinning great hopes on her e-mail survey. She figured she’d go out and get people for focus groups where she could find out what they thought in person. Since e-mail didn’t appear to be a good way to survey this group, Lou figured she would throw it in as a bonus. If she got a response, great. If she didn’t, no harm done.
But Lou did get a response to her e-mail survey. Not just a response. Fully twelve percent of the cohort filled out and returned the survey.
What was the difference? Subject line, for one. “You have to engage them right from the subject line,” Lou explained. “They need to recognize who is sending the email; they need to be motivated to open it and participate; and with all that, that subject line needs to be short.”
A tall order, but not an impossible one, as Lou was able to demonstrate with this client’s project.
But Lou acknowledges that in these days of overflowing inboxes e-mail should be used with care. That is why, for keeping in touch with her own audience, Lou has moved beyond permission-based e-mail lists to a model where the initiative comes from the client every step of the way.
“When I collect business cards I make this promise: I will only contact you once,” Lou said. “That one point of contact is where I give you a password to my online Basecamp. In your section of Basecamp I set up information that will be of interest to you specifically; and I go in and update it from time to time. I add information to keep it fresh and new.
“If the information is useful and relevant to you, you’ll return.”
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.