Send Me Relevant Emails, or Don’t Send Me Emails

The 2 things you need to know about the future of customer communication.

Customer communication is your outlet to repeat business, and yet, most of the messages I receive from companies are not messages I want to read. In your inbox today, how many brands have catered to your interactions with the brand? I’m a customer. I’m a business. I think my messages should be relevant enough that I want to open the majority of them.

Email is consumed in a private one to one experience but companies make and distribute email through a one to many production. This makes email - in a way unlike any other medium - both personalized and scalable. Email should be no means be your only form of customer engagement, but it’s a great place to start.

Today I joined as a marketing advisor, and I’d like to share two trends on the future of how companies will talk to customers.

1. Email Production Will Catch Up to Email Distribution

Email automation softwares have come along way toward execution and timing of email distribution, but the production of the email still has a long way to go. I believe marketing starts with content. Email production should be more customized to the reader of the email.

Email templates should not be barrier to content. When you are already posting blogs, producing eBooks and infographics, the production of the email digest should not be a barrier. Smart companies will set up repeatable solutions (read: less man power per email sent) to produce email content.

2. Existing Customers Will Demand More Relevant Messages

Who is the most important person to send an email to? Increasingly it is not the prospect you’ve never met, is the existing customer you want to do more business with. CEO Derek Skaletsky aptly calls this movement, “The Post-Sales World.” You should read his article, but the tl;dr version: there is more value to be offered - and in turn more money to be made - after the first sale has been made (in many software apps, this “sale” is a free signup or trial).

Content is more personalized than ever before. The Facebook ads we see depend on what we like, who we know and where we are. The days of buying an email list and blasting a bunch of strangers aren’t dead, but at the same time, they are not going to create long-term brand equity. I like pages because I want to receive their updates. If you’re a bit like me, when you read the first update of “I F*cking Love Science” you had to like the page. I opted into to receiving ads related to where the humor of science meets the innovation of science. I bring up Facebook because they’re ad revenue from last quarter grew 25X faster than their user growth. That’s the case study of 2014 for customizing marketing content to the interests of an existing customer base.

I’d like to leave you with a status quo and a question. The status quo: brands are satisfied by 20-30% open rates. You can personalize email to customer behavior. The question: if companies know customer behavior and intent, shouldn’t they be able to send emails that customers want to read half the time?

David Smooke is Founder of ArtMap Inc. and a Marketing Advisor to Photo Credit Xavier Vergés.

David Smooke Marketing Advisor

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