Email Marketing: What We Know
“Your email should have a point. If you have nothing good to say, shut up!”
-Sam Mallikarjunan, Hubspot Experiments Manager, @Mallikarjunan
It's probably not a good sign that even the best minds in inbound marketing can't agree on how often you should email your leads base. Watching Hubspot employees and Twitter superstars Dan Zarrella and Sam Mallikarjunan debate email marketing live on Friday was the biggest highlight of the week for the inbound marketing realm. Hubspot spurred viewers to engage on Twitter by offering free tickets to Inbound Conference 2012 for the top users of the #MKTGdebate hashtag, but I'm not sure if that was necessary. There was an explosion of real dialogue on social media about email frequency best practices. How much is too much?
Emailing your leads too much will make your company seem spammy or desperate. But if you don't email often enough, you could be missing real opportunities to convert leads to customers. Mallikarjunan argued that too much email can lead to attrition, while Zarella supported the idea that more emails equal more revenue. Where is the sweet spot? Mallikarjunan and Zarella never agreed on how much you should email your leads. What does a savvy inbound marketer do when there just aren't any easy answers?
1. Focus on Value
The only thing Sam and Dan really agreed on was that no one needs more bad content in their inbox. If you can't vouch for the quality of every marketing email, you should probably slow down your automation. Matt Cutts of Google confirmed the increasing importance of content that actually delivers something unique, real and different to readers. In a world where content curation has exploded and finding the best content is a real job, every email should have a real point.
2. Segmenting Works
How do you ensure that your email matters and your unsubscribe rate is low? Segmenting your email list is always better than bombing peoples inboxes. According to Hubspot, segmented emails have a 40% lower unsubscribe rate. 80% of companies that employ marketing automation don't bother to personalize content. The more specialized your content, the better your chances are that people will open, read and respond with clicks. Segmenting your email list is tougher than sending the same messages to all of your contacts, but it can really give you an edge.
3. Remain on Your Toes
The only hard and fast law in the world of inbound marketing is that nothing is constant . Email lists have an average annual turnover rate of 25%, and the demographics of your contacts can vary widely over the course of a year. The only way to determine what works best for your business is to listen to your customers and respond. If you're seeing an unsubscribe rate that exceeds 5% or a drop in your sender score, you need to adjust your approach. Best email practices vary by industry. The playing field just isn't equal, and it's a fact that “boring” industries have to work a little harder to deliver content that matters to their leads. Giving a dynamic approach to your marketing automation is crucial.
Hubspot and popular opinion both declared Mallikarjunan the winner of the marketing debate. We're also fans of quality over quantity here at Inbound Marketing Agents. Regardless, of who argued their stance best, we think the prize went to the viewers of the marketing debate. The real-time dialogue that exploded on Twitter was fresh and honest. It isn't all about you, and working to deliver high-value content that matters to your leads belongs in any great inbound marketing strategy,
What about you? How much email can you handle?