Email Marketing 101: First in a Series

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Email marketing is a mature technology with a fairly well-defined set of best practices, a number of competitive tool suites, and many experienced professionals writing blogs, articles, and books within the discipline. But just because the technology is mature doesn't mean it's as straightforward as it could be for marketers looking to maximize digital ROI. The legal/regulatory environment, more-restrictive ISP delivery rules, and evolving customer behaviors and contact preferences make formulating and executing an effective strategy seem like a daunting task.

In this series, we’ll cover email marketing strategy across several dimensions, including Acquisition, Welcome Email, Performance Indicators, Engagement Programs, Program Logic, Cross-Sell and Up-Sell, Re-Engagement, and Email Marketing Platforms.


Let's start at the beginning--with a relationship-focused view of the customer life cycle. For most marketers, the key questions are how do we

...Catch a prospect's attention with compelling content?

...Engage to convert a prospect into a customer?

...Give them multiple reasons to grow their business with us?

...Deliver outstanding value and foster customer loyalty?

...Re-engage and reactivate high-potential former customers?

...Rescue customer relationships on shaky ground?

If we had to pick one word to encapsulate what we're trying to accomplish through each of these six questions, we might label them Acquisition, Conversion, Growth, Retention, Reactivation, and Rescue. Many firms find it challenging to address all of these areas effectively.

Acquisition - Sources and Permission

Ever visit a company's website to learn more about them and find yourself navigating through a 'who we are', 'about us', or worse, 'corporate' link path just to find an email contact form?

A simple email signup widget deployed across the site could significantly grow your database of prospects. Simple is the key, here. A quick sentence on what we promise to deliver is all that's needed for this extremely short form to be effective.

Here's an example from Flying Magazine...found on the right-hand side of the page, about halfway down from the top.

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Three things are happening, here. First, there's a value proposition--the text clearly states what the prospect will receive. Second, this is a very low-friction customer engagement--no need to enter anything other than an email address to enroll and move on to the next step. Finally, clicking the button will take the prospect to a profile form that helps the editorial team understand the audience a little better with segmentation-type questions. Here's a snippet.

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Social links can and should be included near this widget if your company already has a presence on facebook, linkedin, pinterest, twitter, google+, or anywhere else that serves social content that you want your prospects and customers to see. Here's parenting.com's widget.

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Next: Best foot forward--Compelling content in the welcome message.

Post by: Patrick Colbert, Customer Effective

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