Make E-mail Pay (2,097 words)
Boost ROI by Doing e-mail campaigns right
By Alicia Orr
For very little upfront investment, you can contact thousands of prospects at the click of a button. That's the power of e-mail marketing—but it's also a potential problem.
The ease and speed by which a marketer can get out an e-mail campaign makes it inherently dangerous. Just as in our own personal e-mail communications, it's tempting to type away and hit "send" without really thinking about what we're saying and how we're saying it. All too often, the same care that would go into writing a direct mail letter doesn't go into crafting an e-mail message.
"Never before has there been a medium that makes it so easy to communicate on a regular basis with your customer," says Barbara Tallent, CEO of BoldFish, an e-mail marketing provider. But in order for it to be successful, she says, "An e-mail campaign must be properly targeted, have the right offers and be well-executed."
To create a successful e-mail campaign, Scott Hardigree, president of Push Interactive, an interactive marketing agency, recommends marketers start at square one. "Budget first, and then take a test approach, just as you would in the mail."
Hardigree asserts that today, direct marketers should be allocating 25 percent of their marketing budgets to interactive marketing. It may seem like a lot, he notes, "But once you start, you'll discover its worth and the ROI [return on investment] you'll get."
Craft the Campaign
Formulating a marketing strategy and creating an offer for an e-mail campaign requires just as much care as in "snail mail." Of course we all know the dangers of sending spam, but equally as destructive to your marketing efforts is "perceived" spam. According to Tallent, that perception occurs when you don't set the recipient's expectations correctly. "If recipients sign up for a monthly opt-in newsletter and you send them weekly product offers, they're going to perceive those offers as spam."