Years ago, when email marketing was still in it’s infancy, it was quickly and thoughtlessly adopted by many companies seeking an inexpensive alternative to traditional print media. “Why not email our customers and save thousands in mailing costs?” many executives thought. “Email marketing is cheap, effective, and easy.” Or so they thought.
I’m going to venture to say that email marketing is as expensive, if not more expensive, than traditional print mailings. Why? Consider these hidden costs of mass email blasts:
1) Unsubscribes: It’s extremely easy for someone to opt-out of your email list. If you overmail, you give your customers no other choice. A once interested subscriber can quickly become jaded by irrelevant or frequent emails.
2) Spam reports: If your emails get reported as spam frequently, it can severely damage your reputation. Depending on the size of your list, spam reports from as little as .5% of your list can affect the deliverability to the other 99.5%. Considering that the “Junk” button in Hotmail is now easier to find than the delete button, it’s not very hard to quickly reach a dangerous spam complaint threshold.
3) Reputation Affecting other Business Areas: One customer I worked with had so damaged their sender reputation the even the customer service department ability to get an email to a customer was compromise. Once a domain or IP address has acquired a bad rep, it can takes months to clean things up.
4) The Crying Wolf Effect: Email marketers can learn an important lesson from the Boy Who Cried Wolf. Suppose you send an email to your customers twice a week. These emails don’t necessarily contain important or relevant content, they’re simply sent as a matter habit. Eventually, your email list will languish due to overmailing, and your unsubscribes will go up as your open and click-through rates go down. Now, what happens when you actually have something important to announce like a new product or a huge sale event? Your customers think you’re just crying “wolf!”
What’s the moral of this post? Don’t overmail and be relevant! Effective email marketing now requires a conversation rather than simply shouting generalized messages at customers.
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