A couple of weeks ago I attended an email marketing conference in the Netherlands at which Bill McCloskey was a keynote speaker. He did an excellent job!
He recently wrote an article for the UK DMA's Email Marketing newsletter Infobox (to which I highly recommend subscribing by the way) that drives away the point he was making in his keynote speach. Namely, that you shouldn't focus your attention on getting more emails delivered (you can pay someone to do that for you), but you should instead focus more on the the message that you are delivering to those that do receive your emails.
Deliverability, the ability to get your message through the often
byzantine gantlet of rules and regulations constructed by the ISPs to
keep your message out of the inbox, is a very hot topic.
Why? Because it is a solvable problem. There are vendors out there with a SOLUTION to that problem. And vendors sponsor trade shows. And so we have a disproportionate amount of conversations about reaching incremental groups of customers, but almost no conversation about what you send to the people you do reach to make your message more compelling. And that is because technical problems are relatively easy. Creative problems are much more difficult to solve.
The real secret to email marketing has nothing to do with deliverability, rendering, or any number of other technical issues we discuss to take our minds off our dwindling response rates. The real secret has to do with Creative. What are you sending to the customers that you reach to make them want your message in the first place? Not only want it, but desire it?
Key to a successful email marketing campaign is providing something unique through the email channel, something that the customer can’t get any other way. Everyone wants to be an insider. Everyone wants to be part of an exclusive club, to get the deal before anyone else hears about it, to be in the know before the masses. Leveraging the inbox to create that exclusive insiders club is the key to a successful email marketing programme.
A great place to start creating that ‘insiders’ relationship with your clients is in your welcome letter. Welcome letters have the highest open rates of any email you will send. People are expecting it. They just signed up for your programme. And yet it is amazing how many marketers throw this opportunity away.
Make sure to read the article titled "The True Secret of Successful Email Marketing", as it contains some examples of companies that are doing it right by leveraging the welcome letter to develop a strong relationship with their clients.