We have a love hate relationship with email, first step is to admit that. It is an amazing communications tool that has been abused like it were kept under the stairs and fed raw fish heads. Last Wednesday the Professional Independent Communicators group of IABC/Toronto hosted an evening seminar on Email Marketing by Javed Khan of http://empression.ca/.
Turns out what he recommended over the course of the seminar, I’m already doing with the Oakville Camera Club’s email list. Doesn’t matter if you are Fortune 500, small business or an arts organization, the same things apply, this is one of the most important, ask permission to put people on your email list and set expectations up front how much email they will get from you. Canada has CASTL and it’s pretty strict on email spam, companies have been fined into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Picking on the OCC as a handy example, by joining the club you have given permission to receive email updates from it. I usually send two emails per meeting, One the Thursday or Friday before and a reminder the day of. I have that email land in recipients’ in boxes at 6:45 A.M. because I want members to read it over breakfast.
Javed stressed sending an email campaign from your inbox was the biggest cardinal sin a business owner, communicator, or marketing professional could do. There are great platforms for building campaigns, I’m partial to MailChimp, others love Constant Contact, choose what you feel comfortable with. The big advantage of these platforms is you can run multiple lists, build campaigns from templates, schedule them, and most importantly analytics which can be as basic or as in depth depending on the plan you choose.
The obvious take way from the seminar is most email campaigns fail because 1) they are too long, 2) they read like a love child created between the legal and compliance departments, keep it short with an active voice and 3) have no direct call to to action.
Ok for those not in the marketing and communications world, a call to action is a the desired behaviour we want the audience to do. Yes it does sound like jargon and I’m not a fan of jargon but it best describes what we want.
Even though I do a lot of email campaigns, I found the seminar very helpful and re-enforced a lot of best practices I do. Now here’s my call to action, are you frustrated with email campaigns?
Until next time
P.S. I’m playing around on when I upload my blog posts. So fear not I’m sticking to one a week.
Oh, one last thing, had a conversation with a close friend regarding this, one she pointed out, make it easy for people to unsubscribe if they are no longer interested. I agree, nothing is worse than being on a email list that resembles Hotel California, you can check out anytime, just never leave. That is the wrong way to manage a list.