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How To Keep Spam Off The Menu When Implementing An Email Marketing Campaign

January 8, 2010

Email marketing continues to evolve. In the early 'send to many' days email marketers believed they had discovered the best way to reach customers. However, the realisation that the 'one size fits all' message doesn't work has led email marketers to re-think the strategy.

In a recent survey of 1,500 consumers commissioned by ExactTarget, 53% of marketers said that they believe that email marketing will be as effective in two years as it is today, while some (35%) believe that it will be even more effective. However a significant amount of marketers are still struggling to address customers via the most effective channels. This uncertainty manifests itself in many modern email marketing campaigns, causing them to be less effective.

The good news is that marketers don't need a huge budget or advanced technology to field a great email campaign. What marketers do need is good planning, creativity, and above all, a respect for their list members; the essential individuals that have ticked the box for marketing.


The internet is largely impersonal when it comes to business use as customers often receive a mass communication rather than an individually targeted message. With simple web analytic tools or purchase history data it is possible to track customers behaviour and make relevant incremental offers based on past customer engagement. This helps to engage customers, increases brand loyalty, and provides a cost-effective way of introducing new and relevant products.


In the midst of the economic downturn many marketers have turned towards quick sales rather than investing in the development of long-term relationships with consumers. This strategy is largely flawed as bargain-savvy customers know that the nearest competitor is only a click away. It is therefore important to demonstrate that you value your customers in order to ensure they do not take flight in the name of frugality.

Marketers must use all the customer data they have - both behavioural and preference based - to allow them to map a customer-centric communication strategy. This should take in data from multiple sources and allow marketers to visualise how different customer segments will receive communication. As such, messages can be tailored to suit different segments and will ultimately give customers the feeling that a bespoke communication has been created just for them.


Marketing is no longer a monologue. Marketers should avoid being complacent and ensure they continually review their service by offering customers the opportunity to provide feedback. An effective method of encouraging interaction between customers and companies is through the use of e-newsletters whereby replies can be sent in response to the e-newsletter content. By allowing customers to comment and engage with your messages you are opening up a valuable two-way communication that will ultimately improve your marketing strategy and make customers feel like their opinion counts. Customer feedback also generates ideas on how to continually refine messages and ensures you are communicating in the most effective way possible with customers.


Accurately communicating your company's message is critical when you have multiple people or locations communicating with consumers, they need to be talking the same language. By creating consistent messages within all emails and adding personal touches where relevant, every email will carry the same tone and reassure customers on who to contact when they have a problem or a question. This is important when it comes to making sure that customers are not confused and will aid in the establishment of brand loyalty.

Subscribers Rule!

Subscribers are those all important individuals who tick the box allowing to be contacted in future. Consumers understand that they have choices, and expect marketers to deliver meaningful information, tailored to their individual needs. Consumers do not want to hear from marketers whom they have NOT invited to contact them. Serve the individual, honour their unique preferences with regard to communication, content, frequency and channel, and deliver them timely, relevant content that improves their lives.

So, whether you're delivering a monthly email newsletter or sending thousands of real-time transactional messages, your subscribers want marketing messages that matter to them as an individual. You, in return, want visibility into marketing campaigns so you can analyse the success of your efforts and continually refine your email campaign. Therefore by following these five steps you can deliver a campaign of Michelin - starred quality, rather than a load of old SPAM.

Author:  Peter McCormick, co-founder and general manager, ExactTarget


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