Sunday, 26 August 2012

The three quality cornerstones of well-performing lists

By Jean-Paul De Clerck

Following up to a recent webinar, the always excellent MarketingSherpa, provides five tips to improve the value of your list. W. Jeffrey Rice, who presented the webinar defines the cornerstones of quality and well-performing email lists.
He distinguishes three cornerstones: exclusivity, uniqueness and humility.  Here's a look at all three of them and some comments.
The list and exclusivity
Brand evangelists are more important, certainly now social media becomes mainstream and we have less control over our brands. Rice emphasizes that consumers have interactions on channels of their choice. It's the essence of multi-channel marketing.
However, he advises to be more selective with our offers and the segments of potential brand evangelists we offer them to. Focusing on having conversations with people with whom we can have a mutually beneficial relationship is important according to Rice.  
His arguments certainly make sense. The integration between social and email or even the use of simple tools within email can help identify potential evangelists and influencers and as people rely more on the opinions with others, evangelism can be a goal. And, anyway, your 'best' and thus mostloyal customers are potential evangelists.
Selectivity and exclusivity are potential ways of segmentation and targeting. However, although it's necessary to focus on 'best customers' and including evangelists in there is a good idea, we shouldn't forget to nurture other segments as well. There is always untapped potential and creating a sense of exclusivity for different segments can move them to the next level too.
Uniqueness: give what they don't get
This one is pretty obvious: offer your 'list' and the different segments what they cannot get anywhere else. However, it's easier said than done. Since several years one of the main challenges of email (and other) marketers has been to find relevant information for the people they interact with. It's partially about content (one of the reasons content marketing and the demand for content has grown so much).
But it's also about finding unique offers, incentives and messages that correspond to the needs and appeal to emotions. After all, emotional triggers still work best. The more segmented your list is and the better your profiling is done (ideally with a single customer view across channels and includingbehavioral profiling), the stronger the list. The flipside: the more content you need.
Humility: don't assume and keep your promises
I particularly like this cornerstone. We know that email subject lines and call-to-actions are promises. In order to promise something, we also need to know what our different segments and - ideally - individual customers or prospects want. However, many marketers make the mistake of assuming they know what their customers want. They rarely ask. Equally as important as asking (we do not always know what we want) is properly tracking and analyzing to understand the digital footprints in different online and offline contact moments. Gaining deep insights into what people want and humbly delivering upon our promises to deliver it is more essential than ever.
More tips on MarketingSherpa.
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