Email “Experts”: Helpful or Lethal?

30th May, 2012
Email “Experts”: Helpful or Lethal?

One paradox of expertise is that experts are often people who have been doing something for a long time, often in the same way. When hiring an accountant, this is probably a plus. When considering an email campaign to promote your project, this could be a fatal flaw.

Bigger is not Better

Email marketing began almost as soon as the Internet was opened for general use in the mid ‘90s. It soon acquired the nickname “spam” and became the subject of debate, jokes, and legal actions. The foundations used by many “experts” today, sadly, were developed during those 20th century nascent days of the net.

Things have changed. A bigger list of email addresses is no longer a better list. Instead, those impressively bulky lists can now get your company into serious trouble. Laws have been developed over time to act with increasing aggression against the email address harvesting industry and the companies that utilize these brute-force campaign lists. Becoming the target of these legal actions could be deadly to a company, with potential fines in the millions of dollars.

Rather than spamming an angry public, email marketing should consist of clever, friendly campaigns that reach your target audience with the information that you want them to have.

Stealth is Unhelpful

The “experts” may tell you never to use certain keywords (like “free”) and to keep your subject line short and vague. Trick the customer into opening your mail? Really?

Rather than pretending to be long-lost Aunt Bea sending out her beloved recipe for pumpkin bread, modern campaigns increasingly rely on the intelligence of the customer. If you have gone to the trouble of sending your mail to the right list instead of trying to reach every inbox on the net, then you have targeted people looking for your product. Letting them know what you’re offering is then more likely to increase rates of opening and responding.

Likewise, the hotwords to avoid have changed; the customer and email filters have become more savvy. Your campaign has to keep up.

Take the Right Measurements

The brute-force email campaign relied on simple statistics to measure effectiveness. Numbers tracked included emails opened, links clicked, customers converted, and rate of unsubscribing recipients.

We’re still interested in those things, but we’re more interested in subtler numbers. As in any industry that has developed, the tools have developed as well. Modern analysis of a campaign measures not only whether the customer made a purchase, but the relative size of orders, the average revenue generated per email sent, the search engine score of both individual words and contextual combinations of them, and more. (These numbers could be described in industry jargon with lots of abbreviations, but that’s more pathetic than it is helpful—trying too hard to look like an “expert.”)

The next step

Work with an expert who isn’t a drip under pressure. Effective, up-to-date email campaigns are one of the specialties of Visual Artistics. To improve your results and ensure your campaign helps your business instead of hurting it, contact us today.

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