Home' micenet eMag : micenet December 2016 Contents MARKETING | MALCOLM AULD
n 1999 I wrote Asia’s first white paper on
email marketing. It was called “They
laughed when I sat down at the keyboard,
but when I began to email...” A year later I
published the world’s first non-American book
on the topic, “Email Marketing Made Easy”
and then opened the country’s first email
marketing agency – BuzzMail – eventually
acquiring another email software service.
So I write with some experience on the
subject of email marketing - and it is certainly
a subject about which many still don’t have a
After all, email was the first digital channel
so appallingly abused by marketers that laws
were introduced banning its use unless
recipients gave permission to receive the
messages. Privacy Acts were invented and
spam laws introduced, all because greedy
(and stupid) digital marketers misused the
channel and disrespected customers. A
quick show of hands – who wants more and
more irrelevant email in their inboxes? I
thought as such.
Email is now ubiquitous in society, as is the
term “data”. It’s curious how marketing
language pervades common language.
There’s hardly a person in the country without
at least one email address. Many of us have
multiple addresses, using them for different
purposes, from personal to business,
subscriptions to more secure uses like
banking or online payments.
Yet every day our inboxes are filled by
irrelevant and sometimes illiterate messages.
For example, I am about 10 months into a
They laughed when I sat down at the keyboard, but when I began to email...
two year iPhone plan with Telstra. In the last couple of months I’ve received emails from Telstra
trying to flog me a Samsung Galaxy 7 (whoops) and just last week the new Google phone. This
is one of the largest companies in the country, with all of my sales history and contracts – the
most simplest of small data. Yet they are trying to sell me something for which I obviously do not
have any need, let alone interest. If they just wait until my contract is almost up, they can sell me
a new phone. They seem to be data dimwits.
And don’t believe the social media zealots. Numerous tests and even research by Forrester
have revealed email marketing consistently outperforms social media by a factor of at least
40:1. So here are some tips to help you improve your delivery and open rates – without getting
into technical capabilities of software.
The From Line gets your message opened while the Subject
Line gets it deleted.
By this I mean people will consider opening an email if they know the person/company/brand
sending the message. People do not open emails from unknown sources. If they know who is
sending the message, they will look at the subject line to see if the content is relevant. If the
subject line, or pre-header copy is not relevant, then the recipient will delete the email.
Many people now use their mobile devices to filter their email messages. They scroll and delete,
leaving the messages they want to read for later when they’re at a desktop or laptop computer.
So if you are not known or not relevant to the recipient, you just become deleted data.
It is against the law to send unsolicited email
This might surprise you dear reader, but there are still marketers who think you can simply create a
list of email addresses gathered from websites, business cards, social media and competitions,
etc, and then send commercial emails to that list. Unless you’re the government, a religion or
charity, you cannot. The fines are enormous – thousands of dollars per message sent. So get a
copy of your local Spam Act and Privacy Laws, so you do not put your business in jeopardy.
Email is a personal channel not an advertising channel
The ‘Brand Nazis’ have helped to damage open rates of email by treating it as an advertising
channel. Messages abound that look like ads, or brochures – designed to look like the brand
guidelines, not to communicate to customers – those people who ultimately pay the marketing
Non-personalised promotions are prolific and while marketers have conditioned customers to
receive sales messages, those that are personalised still perform better than those that are
simply a digital brochure. So if you are going to just send a digital brochure, at least put the
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