Send more email
One of the most profitable things I’ve ever been taught by a marketing consultant is send more. It sounds simply, buts it’s amazing how many companies fail to listen.
I’ve worked for a variety of different organisations in my career, but one thing they’ve all got in common is that email is their most important marketing asset. Yet, they all under-exploit it as a channel for revenue growth, even in today’s economic outlook. Maybe they’ve listened to too many so called experts claim that the rise in instant messaging and social would undoubtedly see the death of email. Whatever the cause, too many in my opinion under invest in it as a channel.
It’s a fact that email marketing gives one of, if not the best ROI (return on investment). 73.89% of my current company’s revenue is directly attributed to email as the source. CPM (cost per thousand) varies dependant on ESP (email service provider), list size and send volume. But I can tell you that we currently pay just 70p a 1,000, meaning that the cost of communicating with 1 million members is a mere £700. Compare that to other forms of marketing such as TV, radio or direct mail and it all becomes clear.
Email is number one
Time and time again we hear about inbox overload and companies such as Atos declaring email bankruptcy. The truth of the matter is email is the preferred method of contact by the majority, either work or personal.
Without an email address you literally don’t exist online, even Facebook requires one. It puts the user in control and it’s an unobtrusive method of communication when compared to (junk) mail, SMS or phone. People on your list have requested or given their permission for you to send them emails. So, if they haven’t specifically asked to receive less, why try and send less?
Over the years standards of best practice have been introduced, meaning any marketing mail must have an unsubscribe method. Therefore anyone has the option to opt-out as and when they wish, unlike other channels. However, what I’ve found is that the majority simply emotionally unsubscribe, a phrase coined by Dela Quist. Meaning people wish to carry on receiving your mails, but at that precise moment in time they aren’t interested in your proposition. When it does become of interest again they will simply re-engage. Therefore, can you really afford to segment and cut down you list?
Increase frequency, it’s your friend
Many people are under the assumption that the days of spray and pray, batch and blast or shotgun marketing are over. I could not disagree more. Yes, I know there are more intelligent ways to send mail and I’m not discounting them, they all have their place. But, more often than not they are more time consuming or technical and generate less income per send. Until you reach the point where sending another bulk email to everyone on your list doesn’t increase ROI, keep on doing it. Only then should you begin to look at segmentation, tighter targeting and behavioural. Get the basics right before trying to be clever!
Too many marketing executives have become obsessed with improving open rate and click metrics to sell product or brand space within emails, or simply they live in fear of being labelled a spammer. I used to work for a well-known household brand that was obsessed with consumer opinion, marketing relevance, timing and targeting. We’ve been brain washed into thinking everyone hates email and is on the verge of rioting because of the quantity received.
Email isn’t rocket science, its common sense. In any other form of marketing that was giving you fantastic ROI you would be trying to push the boundaries by increasing frequency, not the opposite. I can tell you that I increased our frequency from 9.2 million sends in Jan 2013 resulting in 378,000 gross offer clicks to 18.1 million sends in Jan 2014 resulting in 552,685 gross offer clicks. An increase of 46.21%
The above increase in frequency generated an extra 46% of revenue for the month compared to the previous year. I can hear you all saying, yes but that’s not a true test because other factors need to be considered and you can’t compare year-on-year. The above is just a small example of a much larger evolutionary A/B testing plan with statistical significance and sample segments. You’ll just have to trust me.
Not only did revenue increase, but I saw absolutely no change in unsubscribes or spam complaints MoM (month-on-month) or YoY (year-on-year). Plus, the NET growth of our database increased 8.7% between Jan 2013 to Jan 2014. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying go from sending 1 a week to 7, but rather increase your frequency and test the tolerance level in a controlled way. It’s time consuming, but I promise you’ll see the rewards.
Dela Quist once said to me “which is better, having a mailing list of 1mil members spending £100,000 per email, or 100,000 members spending 2 million per email”. Personally I’ve always been slightly nervous about jumping into this mind-set and destroying a mailing list that has taken years to acquire. However, it definitely opens your mind to a fresh way of thinking. As marketers we get so obsessed with growing our list, when what’s really important is the quality of it and the return per person.