Opt In Spam Out
Useful Tips About Permission-based E-mail
By Tim Suther
Our inboxes get filled with unsolicited commercial e-mails that we delete without reading. So how can marketers use e-mail to build solid customer relationships while avoiding the stigma attached to spam? Enabling the customer to decide what, where, when and how they receive the information is the answer.
According to research conducted by sales and marketing advisory firm IMT Strategies, based in Stamford, CT, more than 80 percent of e-mail users have given marketers permission to send them e-mail promotions, and 70 percent of customers respond to these offers more than once. In less than two years, most companies will compete based on their relationships with customers and methods of personalized marketing. IMT Strategies further predicts that if marketers refrain from saturating customers with e-mail, response rates to permission-based marketing will remain high for the next two to three years.
Attention Without Alienation
How can companies get their personalized messages across without overwhelming or alienating potential customers? Choose the right tool for the job. The most effective permission-based e-mail implementation will offer:
• Easily created, yet highly targeted e-mail messages that communicate with prospective customers in a personal, relevant way—an offer written specifically for the recipient is far more effective than a generic salutation.
• The ability to pinpoint, cross-sell and upsell incentives to the segments most likely to respond. Customer attentiveness to your e-mail will wane if your communications continually miss the mark—they'll simply hit delete without ever reading the message.
• The functionality to test everything. Finding the most effective combination of message, offer, timing and audience is the holy grail of marketing: it will dramatically improve response rates as well as improve margins on successful conversions.
• A response manager to monitor audience response in real time, that can then be routed to appropriate departments based on predefined rules. An e-mail campaign is more than just sending e-mails—it's ensuring your responses are efficiently followed up on in a personalized way.