Archive for August, 2008

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But what does the reader actually care about? We think it’s time we integrate the user experience into our industry’s best practice. Before anybody in my team can start working on designing contact strategies for our clients, we refer to this reader’s checklist to make certain we keep the most important issues in memory.

The reader expects. – Your readers gave you their email addresses because they were expecting something. A invoice, an advert, a report, or something similar. Does the next message you send give them content they expect to see?

Understand that a lot of readers forget quickly. In many situations, readers sign up for your email because they want access to something or as an impulse opt-in. If you wait too long before contacting them, they will forget why you were important. Thin about this when timing your next email.

Where does the email take the reader in the site? Knowing how far in the website the email links your readers is important. Tone of voice and content should match the target page very strictly. That way, the transition makes sense.

Define success metrics first. Reader interest is not determined by the number of emails delivered. It’s derived from the click-to-open rate. Set a target before you send so you can benchmark yourself on success.

Look at the e-mail landscape. Just because it’s not a marketing email doesn’t mean the reader doesn’t receive other email from your company. This is key to determining send frequency. It’s not about what your company’s policy is, it’s about the reader’s experience.

What are your competitors sending? It may not be your company’s email that turns off the reader. It could be the volume of email in the category itself. If the reader subscribes to financial advice email from seven companies and you all send on the same day, the recipient won’t read any of them. This isn’t your fault, unless you knew about the bottleneck. But it’s your responsibility to find out what makes sense from a broader perspective.

These are just highlights from a pretty broad checklist. Yet they paint a strong picture of the challenges readers are subjected to and the marketing and sending side often forget to consider. Ask yourself these questions when you plot the next strategy and see if they make difference.

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An article published on The Register (21/12/06) outlined regulatory changes that will effect UK business email. From the 1st of January 2007 companies in the UK will be obligatory to include certain regulatory information on all business email. This update to the Companies Act requires you to clearly present the subsequent information on your business emails:

  • Company Registration Number;
  • Place of registration (e.g. England);
  • Registered office address.


The article, that was written by Outlaw.com outlined how businesses failing to comprise this information will be in breach of the Companies Act and this will likely result in a payable fine.

Outlaw.com suggest that ”the information is likely to appear in the footer of every email sent from a company, to steer clear of having to decide whether each email amounts to a “business letter” or not. Many companies do this already as the term “business letters” was thought likely to include emails even without this new clarification”.

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The gap between expectation and experience can make all the difference between success and failing. Big gaps usually result in low conversion and high unsubscribe rates. You have most likely heard people say “don’t make promises you can’t keep”. It the same situation, you shouldn’t build expectations you can’t meet.

Manage expectation: Make very clear what your readers should expect. This should run right through your email tactic from campaign timing to email content. Take time to think about how your email campaigns will effect the expectations of your readers. Aim to create reasonable and eye-catching expectations that promote long term reliability.

Monitor experience: It’s awfully important that you monitor what happens during the experience. If you have a high opt out rate, abandonment rate after click through or low conversion rate you may have an problem with the expectation experience gaps.

Feedback experience: persuade your readers to feedback their comments and opinions. By asking if you met their expectations can help avoid any avoidable marketing blunders. Preferably you should ask what they expected and how this compared to their experience.

Addressing balance

Gaps between expectation and experience can happen for many reasons. Identifying them will enable you to develop your marketing and advance customer relationships.

If your customers identify that their experience was enhanced than they expected you’re probably under selling your business. By researching this you’ll also be able to recognize the exact areas that you’re under selling. You can then focus on promoting the areas that this effects and ultimately improve your company’s profitability.

On the other hand you may find that your customers expected more than they experienced. In this case you are over selling your business or you’re under performing. Identifying this gap will help you refocus on the areas where you are falling short.


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Building and maintaining a brand is vital to the long term success of a business. Everything you do has an impact on your brand.  This month we take a look at how you can build a brand.

Building your brand

People purchase a product or service from you because they know, like and trust your business. Sales people often use their skills to help a prospect know, them as an individual. Most will do this naturally during a sales process. Marketers however do not and in fact, often forget the importance of know, like and trust.

How do we get to know, like and trust a brand?

Initially people will judge your brand on face value. That’s right! they want you to look good, sound good and have good strong reputation. They may also judge you on the way in which they established contact with your brand. Was it a referral, a colleague, an advert on a website or a press release?

Every time you have contact with that person it will slowly build their perceptions of your brand. The key is to build a common brand perception and solidify it over time.

Now you’ve got the “Know” and “Like” parts sorted you’ll need to build the trust. Keeping in contact with people is very important. Not enough contact can make a customer feel isolated. This isolation can mean that they question your motives when you do contact them. Do you only email when you want something?

Knowledge can also have a major impact on trust. If you’re business is perceived to be an expert in its field, you’ll immediately gain trust. You can show off your knowledge through newsletters and consistent contact with your customers and prospects. This returns us back to “knowing” your brand and so the procedure starts again.

We must guarantee that you customers continue to know, like and trust you. We also need to show them that you value the relationship and continue to remind them of your brand values. We like to know what to expect and the best way to build expectations is through reliability of appearance and message.

If you have any questions about this article or building your brand through email marketing send an email to [email protected]