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One strike and you're out and other email marketing rules

One strike and you're out and other email marketing rules

January 26, 2011 by rogier van der veen

There is so much focus on social media that it is easy for marketers to forget that email is still an equally important part of the marketing mix. However, email is only a powerful tool if it is used intelligently – and as technology advances, the rules change rapidly. But by always respecting the customer, you can see a significant return-on-investment.

1. Respect the recipient

Before sending anything, put yourself in their position to check that the email is of value in some way.

2. Do not broadcast

Sending the same message to everyone is no longer effective — or acceptable. Instead, it is important to send people content that is relevant to their preferences and therefore likely to engage them.

3. Be human

Consumers are real people with individual preferences, interests and life-cycle events. Emails must treat them as such.

4. Engage in dialogue

Social networking has led consumers expect two-way conversations — make sure you deliver.

5. Learn about the customer

Use each communication as an opportunity to develop and strengthen your relationship with the customer by learning more about them.

6. Personal details have a price

If you want consumers to divulge the personal information that you require for targeted email campaigns, you need to “pay” for that by providing something that they perceive as valuable in return.

7. Gather, store and analyse data

CRM is the essence of intelligent email marketing. It requires that as much information as possible about the consumer is gathered, stored, analysed and used to enhance messages.

8. Develop loyal customers

Treating recipients as individuals by sending them emails that make them feel valued and important will encourage all-important customer loyalty.

9. Viral adds value

Getting the recipients of your emails to share the content via social media or forwarded messages introduces a powerful snowball effect to your campaign. Encourage them to do this with easy-to-see, relevant buttons in the body of the email. Spreading the word through recommendations is a fast and straightforward way to develop your subscriber database.

10. One strike and you're out

Some consumers are forgiving – most are not. You usually have only one chance to get it right. Use it wisely!


Rogier van der Veen is the UK business development manager for CRM-focused digital marketing tool, Clang. You can read the full white paper on email marketing here. 


virtuallysorted's picture

Becskr - you don't need to ask them for preferences, but you might analyse where they clicked on your marketing communications and note that they are interested in widgets and gizmos rather than all the services that you offer, then you can send them only the deals or information on widgets and gizmos.

Rosiehep's picture

Agree with the above comment. Tailor content where you can and keep it relevant to perceived needs, but it can be extremely time-consuming to send emails to customers that only relate to their exact interests. I feel this is article is also a little light on the details...

Rosie Heptonstall, 2nd Head

Valerie's picture

I agree with the above comment. Most small businesses don't have the time or a big enough list to customise their content for their contacts. Also re. point 9, it's been shown that the majority of people don't share emails they receive with their own contacts. It's better to put follow me links on the email and get people to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook etc so you can continue to develop and strengthen the relationship.

barbarastopher's picture

Rogier van der Veen is right. There are ways to increase your profile and grow your list but you should not be spamming out to half a million people a week. OK, you make money on it, there are always enough gullible people out there, but, in marketing terms, it is like throwing spaghetti at a wall. Some if it will stick but you are selling, not marketing - you have absolutely no focus on the the customer's individual needs and so their experience cannot be good.

Becskr's picture

I beg to differ on point 2...sometimes that just isn't a cost effective solution for those starting up/with a small recipient list. It also means that customers have to spend more time pointing out their preferences when signing up which means they might be put off if faced with too many questions and perceive the signup as a painful process. If you don't collect this info via signup then you'll need to do DB marketing which can be costly.

We send the same email to 1/2 million people a week and we make a heck of a lot of money on them. Custom content is nice to have but it's not mandatory...

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