Friday, September 18, 2009

What’s Next for E-mail Marketing

The e-mail inbox lies at the convergence point of two trends in advertising: Marketers forming direct relationships with consumers and marketers working to deliver more relevant, specifically targeted messages to consumers. The inbox uniquely allows marketers to address interested consumers in context.

As a result, it verges on becoming a major online advertising medium. However, it remains to be seen how quickly the potential of the inbox will be realized. Much will hinge on eliminating the clutter and aggravation caused by spam, phishing and viruses. These attacks have forced ISPs to adopt draconian measures to protect their subscribers, impeding the medium's creative and functional capabilities. Fortunately, the industry has started addressing these problems and there has been progress. The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) announced that 51% of Fortune 500 companies use at least one technique to authenticate outbound e-mail. Goodmail, and email company, delivered almost three billion certified e-mail messages in August, by partnering with leading ISPs that permit carefully screened and qualified senders to achieve 100% delivery of opt-in e-mail with images and links enabled.

The same level of trust facilitating these privileges today will open the door to a more interesting inbox experience tomorrow. Imagine rich media and video, shopping cart functionality and quick and easy bill pay in e-mail. These features and more are coming. Here are three topics to consider, to prepare you for the inbox of the future.

The medium is the message. Future e-mail will bring new experiences and standards of expectations to recievers, while introducing creative elements and functionality. Think about how you can make e-mails more engaging and useful. Video? Links? Etc? Companies can use video in e-mail to deliver product demonstrations and consumer reviews, while travel marketers can send video tours of the destinations they're pitching. Or send a link to a site with more venues to look at.

All eyeballs are not created equal. The age of “spray and pray” marketing is over. People have gotten good at ignoring irrelevant messages no matter how loud a marketer shouts. Intelligent inbox marketing enables advertisers to inform, intrigue and entertain customers by speaking to an audience of one. With the bridge of trust from marketers through the ISPs to consumers firmly established, the point of action gets moved even closer to the consumer. With diminishing attention spans, the fewer clicks between catching their eyes and driving them to buy something, the better.

Greater accountability means greater revenue opportunities. Firms across each vertical sector can develop e-mail programs to derive incremental advertiser revenue. In tomorrow's world of guaranteed inbox deliverability and provable impressions and click-throughs, a sender can develop a more sophisticated and appealing performance-based advertising pricing model. They'll be able to offer higher-priced ad vehicles like rich media banners, video pre-roll and “big ticket” inventory.

Now's the time to think creatively and prepare for the next revolution in e-mail marketing.

Larson note: And you thought email marketing was dead? Hardly. Just had to retool and work on a way to make the spamers get dumped in the spam folder and ligit emailing to the in box. Should you be using this channel in your marketing attack? Probally.

Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

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