Email marketing has changed, we can no longer rely on sending vast quantities of emails out and hope that a suitable number will respond and buy something. It simply won’t and cannot work that way anymore.

The personal touch

Pressing the button to pump out thousands of basic emails has had to be replaced by a hard headed disciplined and scientific like approach to sending out bulk emails. In recent years ESPs have produced a stream of advanced technical features to enable increasing client bases to take that approach. And what exactly was that, and how has that evolved? It’s to do with appropriate and relevant content, it concerns the creation of an email experience that makes the recipient feel good about reading, it’s about making the recipient feel part of your community, to interact with your brand.

The personal touch has to be a key, perhaps we should dispose of the expressions Business to Business and Business to Consumer and substitute Business to Personal instead.

The Tesco example

All email marketers should have absorbed the same lessons that sellers of goods and services have had to take on board since the inception of modern retailing. Get to know your customer base, cater to your clients needs, provide good products and services certainly, but also provide them with memorable experiences as well. Jack Cohen, the founder of Tesco, and a pioneer of supermarkets in the UK, certainly knew his customers. His original slogan was “Pile it high, sell it cheap” and he knew that both the price and the experience of cheap foodstuffs in plentiful supply after the austerity of the 2nd World War, would appeal.

Over the years the company has striven to maintain that brand image of a customer orientated, caring organisation. They have been innovative in providing that customer experience, one of the first to introduce club cards, and probably the first to make online retailing profitable using email amongst other marketing tools. Jack Cohen and his successors knew that product and service wasn’t enough, their target audience had to enjoy their time with all aspects of the organisation, and that experience now includes all areas of online interaction especially email.

The Apple example

Recently I went into an Apple store with a friend who was buying an iPad for her daughter.   She was already sold on the machine so there was little need for the staff to go through its features. When we walked out the first thing she said was “What an experience”, she felt welcomed, treated with courtesy and importantly not patronised. That is exactly what email marketers need to strive for in their emails. Apple are successful because they provide an overall satisfying experience for their customers, likewise these days email marketing should be as much about retention as acquisition, we should all learn from the customer approach of both Tesco and Apple.

Final thoughts

Every aspect of the email, from subject lines to the company information at the bottom of the broadcast should be considered and tested with the recipient in mind. Use a link to a blog in the email, offer special consideration for regular customers, a free training discussion or discounts. In every email give the recipient an incentive to open the next one, either by offers, or the sheer interest and excitement generated by the content. Put yourselves in the position of a recipient, imagine how they will read the email and work accordingly.

Analyse and analyse again to make incremental improvement to your open rates and never, ever be afraid to innovate and think out of the box. Both of our highlighted companies have done all of this to create a trusted brand with consistently loyal customers, now is your turn to use your emails to do the same.