It is a very common situation: You've got a database, a good size one and you make a good amount of profit from your email campaigns. You know you do because you track it, so why would you change anything; the returns you make are more than enough to warrant carrying on doing what you are doing... so why should you do anything differently?
We often call this the 'blast and send' mentality. I'm afraid to say it is now a thing of the past. Long gone are the days where you can send blanket emails to everyone in your database. It might seem like a good idea right now, but in the long run, your email marketing responses and reputation will suffer.
What's wrong with sending one email to everyone?
Would it surprise you to know that often more than half of a database never opens marketing emails? As a savvy business owner or marketer, you know this isn't money well spent, and besides wasting resources you also risk:
- Harming your online reputation: through poor user engagement you are more likely to land in the junk folder than the inbox
- Harming your brand with the non-engaged recipients who may become annoyed that you keep emailing, all the while they can't be bothered to junk, mark you as spam or unsubscribe
- Unnecessary costs for delivery: quite simply, the more you send the more it costs.
Your job as an online marketer is to reduce the number of inactive recipients, and increase the number of email advocates or regular readers.
What to do about it: Start using data intelligently
A good place to start is to think about using data intelligently. This is about stopping the "blast and send" (or scatter gun approach), and seriously segmenting your data so that you know you are effectively targeting the right people.You may start by collecting demographic information from your prospects or clients; you may look to segment your data based on previous behaviour (such as website browsing or previous email clicks).Or, to get really sophisticated, engagement programmes are perfect for giving people what they want:
- Email Advocates (those who open nearly every email) clearly love your brand/company and want to know more, they digest the information you send and are likely to be more than just your email advocate. They may also follow you on social media, may already be clients or very warm leads). These valuable readers deserve some email love, so why not send some friendly messaging thanking and rewarding them for their loyalty. They are also the ones to encourage to 'share' your emails and social media activity, or refer you to their friends.
- Inactive Recipients are unengaged are more difficult to get back on board. Obvious first steps to improve their engagement with you would be to reduce email sending frequency and start a re-engagement strategy with them. Eventually, after around12-24 months, you are likely to want to scrub these people off your list permanently if they don't improve.
Scrub them from the list? Won't that reduce my revenues?
Our clients' campaigns have proven over and over that sending more relevant campaigns results in better returns. Relevant campaigns include everything from the design, layout, time of send, frequency and the offer. You may be sending to some less frequently, but they are likely to thank you for it, and at the same time you are engaging more deeply with those who are interested in your offering.
Remember that it is far better to have a small list of people who are genuinely interested than a large list of people who don't care at all.
By sending emails to people who don't want to hear from you, you'll be wasting resources and ruining your reputation.
Who's made it onto the list?
As an analogy, think of it as inviting your friends to a birthday party. You invite your closest mates with a personal message to a really cool venue, and know that probably all of them will turn up because you've made an effort and because they care. They'll also spend far more on a lovely present because they know it's a special event.
Or, you decide to go big and invite everyone you know on all your social media platforms, email accounts and in person, using a generic message and a pretty generic party (you can't offer something really special or super cool to that many people).
You can be pretty sure that it will still be the core "best mates" that turn up to the party with the presents, and maybe a few of the others, but you won't necessarily have a better time. The peripheral acquaintances probably won't bring decent presents. When you look at it in terms of 'return on your investment', your efforts, time and money were pretty much wasted. Therefore: more people on the list doesn't necessarily mean a better result.
Why it's time to change...
Technology has improved recently for many reasons, and not least because it's satisfying demand. The demand for segmentation, targeting and automation is substantial, to allow for truly relevant campaigns to be sent to the people who genuinely want to receive them. Let go of your thought that "one size fits all" works fine, because targeting, segmentation and automation work much, much better.