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Why email marketing remains one of the best retention channels (despite the fact that it is getting tougher)

21 Oct

It’s no big secret that email is one of the areas of marketing with the fiercest competition. The average email metrics have gone way down over the past 3 or 4 years. For comparing distribution list types and sizes, open rates rates are down. There is no denying that trend even in retention emails.

Inboxes are getting cluttered, recipients are weary. Folks are buried in email piles and screening them using a number of great inbox tools such as filters (or Sweep from Hotmail).

But despite the fact that it’s getting tougher and tougher for email marketing, there are still tons of opportunities with this channel. I am not talking about acquisition email. This space is down and on the US market, its best days are behind it (still booming in Europe though). The truth about retention email and CRM today is that the fact that this space is getting crowded is creating more opportunities for email marketers.

In the sea of emails that folks receive (and screen), today, if you do email marketing right, you will be Jesus. Relevant, relevant, relevant. There is simply no better keyword to describe successful email marketing today. Relevance and precision. But also of course targeting, personalization and sub-segmenting.

If your email is relevant, personalized, carefully targeted and if you segment your distribution list appropriately and don’t hesitate to segment and sub-segment again…yes…you will be successful. Send smaller and send relevant. No distribution list is too small anymore! So if you follow these golden rules, you will be the king or queen of email marketing. Otherwise, I suggest that you start thinking about your next endeavor.

Mail Man Character


Hotmail is still hot (and promoting Sweep)

11 Oct

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Last year, according to Litmus, Hotmail had a 17% market share and was ahead of Gmail and Yahoo (but behind Outlook). This is according to their Email client usage worldwide study conducted on 250 million users. We (in the tech industry) tend to sometimes forget that Hotmail is still big.

Sweep, New email product built into Hotmail

The new Hotmail is supposed to be “faster than ever”, includes the creation of sub-folders, just like Gmail, and they’ve stepped up their security through additional encryption.

Lastly, some Hotmail features and built-in capabilities are actually interesting. They not only offer free online storage for documents and photos through Skydrive (boy do they know how to name a product! this name is strong!), but they are also heavily pushing ‘Sweep’ these days. Sweep is a tool to organize the inbox and minimize the clutter. Love this ad on their login page. It’s actually 3-dimensional even though it’s simple.

Go Hotmail! (and go Microsoft!)

Email is not dead

6 Jul

One of my recent posts was about social media and the fact that it’s rapidly gaining territory in replacing emails in the way that people share content. However, just to clarify, I don’t think that email is dead. In fact, a lot of emarketing experts will argue that it’s still the best marketing channel in terms of ROI.

We, in the Internet industry tend to forget that email is still growing significantly; a lot of businesses (especially in other industries) still haven’t been taping into this marketing channel at all yet. Retail is one of them: according to an April 2010 Annual Merchant Survey by the E-tailing Group, 79% of retailers looking for ways to improve their web sales are planning to increase the number of targeted e-mails sent to customers. Refining site search is only on the table for 72% of them.

In May 2008, an Ipsos study showed that more than 67% of consumers prefer email over other online vehicles at the time and 65% believed this will continue for five years. They were correct.

Here is some encouraging data as well from Litmus: in the best email campaigns, 77% of people fully read the message. As for forwarding, on the most viral campaign, 9% of readers forward the email. Not bad!