It seems like I have been working in the email and digital marketing space for as long as I can remember. I still think back to the days when I was working at NASCAR.com, and we realized the value of personalization in emails and noticed significant increases when we simply mentioned a fan’s favorite driver – let alone if we put their photo in the message rather than the generic NASCAR.com logo. A lot has changed over the years, yet it seems like many of us in the delivery space are still talking about the same best practices over and over.
As I look back at all of the various suggestions and recommendations that I personally have given over the years, there are two pieces of advice that I still believe are the most important for everyone to remember:
- Don’t compare yourself to others; focus on what works for your business model and customers
- Relevancy is the key
First, let’s talk about how much we all try to keep up with the Joneses and how it can actually hurt us more than help us. In just about every aspect of our lives these days, we seem to want to compare ourselves to each other. It might be comparing your house to those in your neighborhood, or maybe you are a car person and you always need to have the nicest car. I think this tendency comes from a need to feel like we are doing better than others – and the same thing happens in the digital marketing space. Too many of us want to look at what others are doing and then assume that we should be doing the same thing—if company X can send mail like that, I should be able to as well.
A perfect example of these type of observations and wanting to be like everyone else in the industry is when marketers come to me (or others) and say something like “Well all these other daily deal sites send messages to their entire list every day, I think we should do that too.” The problem with this perspective is that many times it doesn’t make sense for their business model. Maybe the company doesn’t have a model that generates enough new and relevant content to send to all of their users at that frequency, which takes us to my next point—it is all about Relevancy.
I can still remember talking with Dave Lewis over 5 years ago, when he was one of the few people at the time that was really talking about relevancy. Every time I say the word, I hear it in his voice. At the time, I didn’t always understand all the nuances, but as time went on, I soon became an equal proponent of relevancy. In short, sending messages to users that don’t connect in any way will not help your brand and may actually hurt it. If you continue to send irrelevant messages, fewer people will open them and more will eventually unsubscribe or even mark your messages as SPAM.
So try to think back to when you got started in the digital marketing world—has anything changed in the way you view things? Are you still telling your executives or your co-workers the same best practices as you were back then?