Comments and observations on business, marketing and life: by Martin Donohoe

Category: email marketing

Dear Morgan (Computers), it’s over

Email from Morgan

Email best practice? No? Thought not.

Permission based marketing was a term coined by Seth Godin to describe relevant, timely, and anticipated marketing communication – particularly email. The ideas been around a while, but it seems that the word hasn’t spread.

So many promotional emails, in fact so much online marketing fails to utilise the inherent advantages of the medium.What does that mean?

  • It means that an email doesn’t have to be a facsimile of the flier that your company produces.
  • It means that marketing teams can personalise the content of their communications so that the customer receives content that they find interesting and relevant.
  • It means you can sell more stuff – if you do¬† it right.

A case in point – Morgan Computers is a UK operation that sells surplus and graded IT equipment. They occaisionally have some good kit and I’ve bought one or two things from them in the past. If I’ve received the odd email communication from them, then I’ve looked it over, after all one or two emails over the course of a few months is perfectly acceptable and probably quite effective from a sales & marketing perspective.

However, over recent months and weeks the volume of email from Morgan Computers has gone up massively. But not in a good way. I’ve not expressed a preference for more mail or to hear about particular products, instead my inbox receives a print like list of the same old stuff week in, week out. No offence intended Morgan Computers but it smacks of sloppy marketing and verges on spamming and I bet it isn’t helping our email reputation is it?

So goodbye Morgan Computers, like other organisations that don’t bother considering their marketing effort I’ll be consigning you to the unsubscribe button or even worse for you, I’ll be flagging your emails as spam. If a tiny percentage of your email recipients do the same, you’ll do untold damage to your email program and ultimately your brand.

Online marketing doesn’t have to be hard and with the tools available to marketers, it isn’t even expensive. So why do so many businesses continue to underwhelm on this front?

In praise of the direct mail shot

For lots of SME level marketing, email rules. There’s no doubt that a well crafted email campaign, sent to an engaged and anticipating audience will generate great results. Except, that it seems to that many small and medium-sized businesses in the UK still haven’t “got” email marketing (although it’s probably fair to say that many large operations haven’t got it either).

You don’t have to look too hard to find a litany of graphic only emails, weak marketing messages and ‘electronic leaflet’ mails that break all the rules, but still get knocked out week in, week out. It would be interesting to know just how much email blindness this causes amongst customers of these businesses.

So, what to do when emails just don’t cut it any more? Well, judging by the barrage of direct mail I keep getting from my favourite search engine, direct mail still cuts it. Certainly, in a b2b environment the general amount of direct mail seems to have reduced so maybe now is the time to use mail to get cut through with your customers. Email isn’t going away, but it might benefit from a short holiday!

What does an email address say about you?

Two things have happened recently that made me think about this topic. I was reviewing the CV of a potential recruit. All appeared fine, the qualifications were good, but the email address was something along the lines of thebigdude@yahoomail.con – okay not exactly, but something

what makes a good email address?

what makes a good email address?

like that. This one small detail undermines everything else that is on the page.

But is isn’t just individuals that have odd looking email addresses. The second thing was seeing a van with an email address so long it almost ran off the side! I still see plenty of examples where what would otherwise appear to be switched on and professional businesses have free mail addresses or excruciatingly long URLs with lots of dashes in them.

Now, don’t get me wrong these services have their uses and like most people I have a gmail address and so on, but when presentation really counts why not sort out a decent url and address, especially if you are a small but professional business. Otherwise its the online equivalent of having a handwritten note as your shop’s signage.

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