eMail Marketing Tips from The Emirates Stadium

by Joe Pelissier on March 27, 2013

Last week I found myself hosting a series of round table discussions about email marketing. This was at eConsultancy’s Digital Cream event at The Emirates Stadium – the home of Arsenal, if you are a football fan.

I enjoyed my David Dimbleby role even if it’s much harder than it looks. Chatham House rules applied which means you aren’t allowed to quote anyone – something I find very dull.  If I hear something interesting or controversial I want to know who said it and why. Don’t you?

The good news is that I can share some of the insights with you. They are rather random as I wasn’t taking notes but I’ve put them into five categories for the sake of clarity.

1. Old Stuff

  • Managing data is still a big challenge. The larger the organisation the more resources available to mine and segment it. Conversely small / new companies have the opportunity to build data libraries that will allow future communication to be more focused and targeted.
  • Relevance remains the most important criteria if good results are to be achieved.
  • eMail remains the best way to get prospects to a specific landing page – 90% of delegates said they use email this way.  Very few reported sending out emails to be read within the email application. eMail is seen as a springboard to something else.
  • Developing a detailed understanding of the ‘customer journey‘ is important if you want good results – it allows you to plot your sequence of emails accurately.
  • Frequency and the fear of bombarding prospects remains a big concern – segmenting, knowing the customer journey and monitoring results are considered the best way of dealing with this.

2. Cool Stuff

  • The chance to use video in email appeals to 90% but everyone remains unsure as to whether this is technically possible.  If they were confident of it working they would find ways of using it.
  • Delegates like ‘behavioural re-targeting’ approaches but it appears that only larger and more advanced companies are investing in this. This supports the opinion that larger organisations invest more time watching and listening to what is going on than smaller companies.

3. Mobile / Social

  • Delegates see the email community as very different from the social community. It’s easier to sell more directly via email than social. One delegate reported that clients had found mentioning price on social not acceptable but perfectly okay via email.
  • It is important to invest in responsive design templates so that the email is easy to read on a mobile or iPad.
  • Delegates perceive that the majority of recipients choose to deal with marketing emails via mobile – it is an easier and more convenient way of managing / deleting them.

4. Editorial

  • Tone and style has a big impact on whether recipients are going to respond favourably. One delegate (who must remain nameless…) was very impressed by the sequence of emails that Barclaycard recently sent out to promote a new Barclaycard.  She found herself taking up the offer based on the positive and credible tone and style.
  • Finding the right tone and style is a big challenge – all delegates wrote copy in-house and did not rely on external copywriters.  As employees know the business best, they felt they were best qualified to write the copy.  But interestingly they acknowledged that the success of the Barclaycard campaign (above) was probably down to professional copywriting.
  • Treat the subject line as a headline and A/B test headlines before beginning a campaign.
  • Emails that took a story-telling approach reported having good results – readers still love a good story.

5. Legal

  • Most delegates are unsure about the legalities surrounding EU data law, opt-outs and unsubscribe. The consensus was that it was legally okay, if bad practice, to send a client/prospect information about something if they had elected not to receive emails on. It was also suggested that it was legally okay to market to someone three years after they has unsubscribed or opted out.
  • There is an interesting grey area around sending customer service emails. Are they a marketing email or not?

No one felt that with the rise of social communication email marketing was going to decline. Far from it. Our dependency on mobile devices means that its influence will only get stronger.

As you would imagine, I particularly like the Editorial pointers. I am sure you will find some of these useful.

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