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February 12, 2010

Triggers in Viral eMail Campaigns

eMail Week continues: If there is one thing I think I was born with, it is my ability to find viral triggers on e-mail landing pages. It was my first encounter with a real entrepreneur that taught me that virality was all in the copy and not in the monetary value. I applied some Game Theory to that and a few months later I managed to make it a predictable science.

This blog post gives you the basics of what to think about when working with viral e-mail campaigns and viral triggers.

What is a viral trigger?

Well a viral trigger is basically a phrase or a word that makes people share what you want them to share. This viral trigger has evolved throughout the years. It started out as a “share this”, then became “invite a friend”. Later it took the form of “check which of your contacts have already…” and so it has evolved. Currently I use variations of the word “claim” and it works even for the most obscure verticals.

Where should you put the viral triggers?

Well, in this case we’re talking about an e-mail campaign in which case the viral trigger should be put in a natural link if longer than two words, or in exemption cases, put in a button in the bottom right corner of what ever landing page you have. It works as a call to action, but it has no definitive “now” demand in it.

Viral triggers shouldn’t be put in an e-mail. Viral triggers shall be put on a landing page. I don’t know why, they simply don’t work in the e-mail. They only seem to work if they are put in a place that is “stable” such as a landing page.

Complimentary triggers

You need to combine your viral trigger with some complimentary triggers. The most important of which is the “max” or limit to how much you can share something. Even though there is no limitation, you need to add a limitation. In best case, they will reload the form and notice that they have “broken the system” and continue sharing your stuff til the end of day.

They’ll be laughing about it as they managed to exploit a crack in the system, you’ll be laughing as you’ll get a lot of contacts.

Another complimentary trigger is the “invite everyone, if x joins, then”. This trigger is perfect for viral campaigns with a guaranteed something and a bigger other that will come if the x amount of other people join. Let me exemplify this with a sentence I used not that long ago.

“Join and you will gain access to our full services. Invite your friends. If 5 of them join, you will receive a premium account upgrade.”

It really works miracles.

Share and invite functionality

Some people argue that you shouldn’t use those “get your contacts from gmail” import apps. I say you have to. Usually I get about 10-20% type in errors if I don’t. People simply don’t type in e-mail addresses the correct way and in order to help them share your content you SHALL always use import functionality if you can.

If you are running a cross platform viral with Facebook then Connect works miracles as well as people get to select their friends from a list. One thing you should keep in mind though is to always have a link to an option where people can type in manually or put them next to each other with a “invite your friends manually or use a simple importer to add them from xx”.

The e-mail as a notification

If you keep the graphics to the landing page, I always find it most convenient and effective to use very non-designed e-mails that look more like Facebook notifications than a newsletter. Short and possibly with a hello phrase from the viral sender. Don’t over make it. It should be convenient, clean and never messy. Put your logo in there for some authority, then focus all your strength on the landing page instead.

Possibly related posts:
February 10, 2010

Drop-Basket eMails and Conversion

If there is one thing next to Win-Back campaigns that has proven itself to be great for conversion, it must be Drop-Basket eMails. The most excellent thing with Drop-Basket eMails are they are a product of a well implemented analysis and CRM system. This means, you’ll have to do all your homework before you get the Drop-Basket eMails to really do the trick for you.

What is a Drop-Basket eMail?

A Drop-Basket e-mail is an e-mail that is sent to a user if they have put stuff in their shopping cart in your online store, but haven’t checked them out or payed for them.

With their actions they have told you that they are ready to buy the products that you are offering, but for some reason they didn’t complete their purchase. Why is that? Well, if this is a first time customer, you simply don’t know. However, what you do know is that this customer is willing to buy these products under some circumstance.

Your main purpose becomes to find out why they didn’t buy. Then send them a Drop-Basket eMail that has rid that specific hurdle.

What many of you IDIOTS don’t do, that you should do

There is one important step that some of you reading this post are thinking about right now and that is “but but but… to be able to send them an e-mail we need to have collected their e-mail before they put stuff in their shopping cart”. Well, no, and yes!! Not necessarily before.

Now some of you are thinking that this pulls down the conversion rate, but I would argue that it doesn’t. What most of you do is that you start reloading pages, putting millions of forms on the screen when you collect any information.

I say, if you collect information where it makes sense to collect it, there will be no unnecessary drop of in your conversion rate.

To exemplify this I would like to give you two examples of how to collect the e-mail address.

Example 1

When the user clicks the add to basket button next to your product a field folds out under the button asking the user to “Save time and your basket by submitting your e-mail.” If the user fills in the details then you’re set to go. If they don’t, then repeat for each item until they do. At some point they will feel the need to store what they have put in their basket in some way.

Example 2

The user has added a million things to their basket but for some reason they try to leave the website without making the purchase. Once they try to leave send a pop-up or a layover to them with the text “Do you want us to send you an e-mail with a link to your shopping chart? This way you will save time when returning” or this text could say “Do you need help completing your purchase. Enter your e-mail and one of our customer support agents will contact you within 1 business day”.

Both of the examples above can be put into practice easily and they both work miracles in collecting e-mail addresses as well as hand you a tool to counter your poorly optimized check out processes.

How to implement an effective Drop-Basket process

As I said above, you have to collect information about your purchasers when it makes sense. The “registration page” is soooo 1998 but so many vendors still stick to it. With Facebook Connect, Open-Id or any other such service you can get the most important contact information to a person.

Make it easy to become a member of your website. If you don’t have membership available then use a member session to store the necessary data. I usually talk about my Value Ladder for Conversion. I don’t do this because it is funny, but because it is logical and because it works. Enough whining from me. Let’s get into the how to.

1. Collect info on what they are looking for

Do not request any membership or registration before you have been able to see what they are interested in. As soon as the user has added a product to the shopping cart they feel as though they have performed a task. They have created something. You can use this believed work effort when making your value proposition to get them to leave their e-mail address.

2. Collect an identifier

As soon as you know what they are looking for you aim to collect the identifier which enables you to separate them from other users. In many countries it is illegal to store IP-address without consent. The IP address is also very bad to collect as it tends to change from work to home and on dynamic networks it changes all the time. Thus the e-mail, a facebook connect or open-id login is the best way to get them to identify themselves.

Using one of the value propositions above with “save time” or “do you need help” are amongst the best to increase the probability of having people leave their e-mail address.

3. Analyze your data

Some of you out there have some nasty piece of information that you really need to collect in order for you customers to complete their purchase. For most of you that information is either some kind of credit card information, postal code or other type of ID-nr that the person might not have accessible where they are there an then.

They might thus be very willing to buy at the price you’re offering, but they might not be able to buy your stuff right there and then cause…. the co-workers might be looking and it doesn’t look that good to rip up the credit card when you should be working towards a deadline.

If you notice that most people drop of on a specific page, then try to measure what fields they filled in, or started to fill in before dropping off. For some of you this will mean you’ll have to look at removing fields that are “nice to have” but that are not “need to have” for the completion of the purpose. But once you’ve rid your check out process of those fields then you should have a look at the Drop-Basket process.

4. Drop-Basket Process

The first Drop-Basket e-mail should always contain the same offer as the complete basket the person had added to his or her shopping chart. If it makes sense to your business model, you can add some related products or maybe give some kind of delivery discount at this time. But you shouldn’t look at discounts just yet. Perhaps there was kind of obstacle information that the person didn’t have at hand when trying to complete their purchase. If you shoot to lower the price of the offer right away you will miss out on some lovely revenue.

You should also always add some kind of time limit to your first e-mail. This time limit should be set to expire within some period of time that makes sense for your product. I can’t tell you the best time, but you’ll have to test and see what works with your customers. Secondly, your e-mail should be sent at a time a day that makes sense. If the person wasn’t able to complete their purchase at noon the first day they probably won’t be able to do it the next day at noon.

Thus you should look at sending the e-mail some 4-6 hours after the first contact was made. Once the person opens the e-mail you know you have a good time to contact the person. Even better is if they complete the purchase at this time. Then you have a preferred time of purchase for this individual. Many e-mail systems such as EmailVision and SilverPOP have the ability to save and use this kind of data for the future. They are both also very easy to integrate with SiteCatalyst and SalesForce which means that you rich bastards out there are really in for a treat. 🙂

5. Changing your offer

If you don’t get a purchase on your first contact then you should store your Drop-Basket information and future information associated with this e-mail address. Now you can start offering the customer some discounts to get them to convert. However, you can’t just do this without a reason as the user will look through this system and then not convert naturally.

You have a couple of opportunities per year to change your offer price without reason. Holidays, birthdays and if the product is about to expire. Be smart. If you have a sufficient group of people who have dropped out but have selected a product that you have a stock on… then why don’t you just try to get rid of your stock by creating some kind of offer. The more obscure the holiday or reason to celebrate, the more attention you will grab in the e-mail subject :).

Conclusion

By now you should have an initial build of frames in your head about what a Drop-Basket e-mail campaign is all about. The art is probably one of the most sophisticated in the industry and I suggest you get started right away. If you need any help or have any questions, comments or if you feel angry cause I called you an idiot, then you can ask or bash in the comment field of this blog. I am really quite kind, but when behind my keyboard and a screen I turn into a bully mixed with a HeMan :).

February 9, 2010

5 Advice to Improve the Link Building eMail

The perfect link building e-mail consists of a couple of must haves. Here I list five advice that work for me. I vary a lot as I generally don’t work solely with e-mail when building links. Usually the introduction occurs through e-mail, but I try to get everyone I meet online down in my MSN or Skype as soon as possible.

From your Skype or MSN you can build lasting relationships with people that might not only result in more links, but also in lasting online friendships. This naturally requires that you have content worth linking to. Otherwise you’ll be stuck in the sick land of having to pay for your links. Yes, in some verticals you’ll have to pay for your links either way… but like Gary Beal says… then you might just want to consider “buying sites instead of buying links”, as the cheaper alternative.

1. Introduce yourself as being someone

Regardless if you are world famous or a local hero read by two people you need to explain why you are someone to the person you are writing to. What purpose do you fill in this world? Think about it for a while. Everyone in the world is someone, and even though even your mother hates you, she hates you for a reason. That reason might be what you are and thus this is your space to make perfect online.

When you make the initial contact you need to give them a purpose to link to you and not to someone else. Try to put this into one or two sentences and make it your “elevator pitch”. Without being someone, you won’t get that initial curiosity that is needed from the reader of the e-mail you send. Sorry, that’s just how we work as humans…

2. Offer something, don’t ask for something

Second advice I want to give is that you should never ask for anything, but offer something. Either if this something is a post of yours that you think that you believe the receiver should read, or if it is some content that you would like to guest write. The whole rule here is to never “ask” for the link without some restraint.

People are greedy, especially if they know SEO and if a true SEO gets the notion that you are desperate, then they’ll make sure you have to pay more than the link is worth. With pay I most certainly don’t mean money, but it might mean that you’ll have to contribute or offer something in return that vastly exceeds the value of the link.

Put some constraint on the receivers thoughts and demands by proposing an offer.

3. Contribute if possible, source code

Make it simple to link to you right away. Don’t write an e-mail where you put a url to your post in it. But the full anchor text link in the e-mail.

Don’t: http://jesperastrom.com

Do: <a href=”jesperastrom.com”>Facebook Tutorials</a>

Even better is if you can contribute through comments on the page where you want your link. This works even if you don’t have an e-mail address to write to but there is a comment field. If you don’t pose a threat, there is a high likelihood that your suggestions will end up in the main article.

This has everything to do with the introduction of you being someone as well. If you manage to match your contribution with your introduction then you’ll be all set. An example of this could be if you find a social media article that writes about social media in general. Perhaps you could write a few rows about your specialty Facebook and send it over with a link back to you saying “For more specific advice on link>Facebook</link visit jesperastrom.com.

These kind of extensions or contributions do not work all the time, but they work most of the time if your content has something to offer that is too time consuming to compose that the receiver of your e-mail finds it too much of a hustle to remake what you have made.

4. Be specific, think win-win

One thing I get really upset about are all the e-mails talking about linking that I receive that are so diffuse I don’t even finish reading them. Be short, be specific. Highlight stuff and make it obvious what you are out to get.

A good distribution can be to answer the following questions with less than two sentences each:

  1. Who the heck are you?
  2. Why are you writing to this person?
  3. Where do you want your link?
  4. What does the person have to gain from linking to you?
  5. How are you making it easy for the person to link to you?
  6. Where can the person confirm what you’ve said?

The last point is to make it easier for the person to trust you. This can be a link to a resource of a site that you own where you have already implemented a similar link. Do not use a non owned reference as you sometime contact notorious link builders that won’t reply to your e-mail but will contact the site that you have given as reference and offer them to remove your links for theirs.

Use a website, a Facebook profile or a LinkedIn page where your authority or information is confirmed as ligit. This way you boost your e-mails credibility whilst assuring that you avoid the thieves out there.

5. Be genuine, don’t spam

This is the most important thing out there. Yes you do need volume in the links to your content, however you don’t need that much volume. You are better off social bookmarking your content or using a ping crawler than chasing volume links through e-mail. For volume you should go for domain links without anchor text to the start page.

A few, let’s say 10-15 authority links to a post or a page is generally enough to get a vast advantage in front of your competitors. To get these links you might have to spend some time on finding the sources you want links from, but that is time well spent.

My main point here is that you shouldn’t find 500 websites you want links from, but you should find the sites you REALLY want links from and then do what’s needed to get these links.

Be genuine in the way that you do not lie about your intentions. If you use an alias personality, that’s fine, but don’t say you are offering something that you won’t deliver on. Use a good e-mail program so that you can see whether or not the person you’ve sent the e-mail to has actually opened the e-mail or if they have just let it slide.

If the person has opened the e-mail but haven’t contacted you back then maybe you have to work her/him through some social media site or some other place and get them introduced to you in some other way.

Please don’t spam a person. Not only will your mail server end up in the filters, but your name and site will end up in the forums. That is never fun. There are loads of idiots out there who out you in the forums for building links on purpose.

Conclusion

These are 5 Advice, but please fill the comment field with more advice or argue with me if you don’t like some of mine. There are loads of them out there so, please improve this post and I might just link to you in an update ;).

Possibly related posts:
February 8, 2010

5 Win Back eMail Campaign Examples

A win back e-mail campaign is a set up that helps you recover people that have 1. either dropped out of your e-mail send list or 2. stopped using one or several of your services on your website. Win-back campaigns are almost always automated and they should be as they would otherwise take far too much of your time.

This blog post aims at giving you 5 examples of when and how you can use win back e-mail campaigns. I will try to give you some insight to how I build win back campaigns and hopefully give you one example that works for you.

1. The survey win back

The most common win back campaign is the survey. This win back theme basically sends the user an e-mail saying that “according to our records you haven’t used our service for some time”, and then proposes the user with a survey on how to improve the service.

The trick here is not the survey, but it is what you do once someone has completed the survey. Simply put, you need to “put something in their account that they can claim if they start using it again”. For some types of accounts this is simple. It can be anything from a 5 dollar “free play” bonus or it can be a 5 percent of the top of anything they buy in your store.

The thing is that you can conceal your offer or discount in a reward for something that the user has done. If the user feels they have done something to deserve something, then they are more likely to also claim their reward. So, regardless of what you do, the survey win back is based on the notion that you offer the user to improve your service in one way or another and then you give them some reward for their effort.

2. The special event win back

The special event win back is sort of spammy if the user has not opened your e-mail for some time. You probably should only send these kind of e-mails to people who still open your e-mails, but don’t buy anything. These people need an extra push in the back in order to get shopping.

Simple enough. You create an artificial or real event. The event can be a “Wonder wheel shopping spree” it can be a “Big bonus Bonanza Day” or it can be any kind of limited event you build some special offer around. The trick is to make the person feel that the time is limited.

Usually when I set up these types of campaigns I use two main send outs.

  1. First I send an e-mail telling the people of the event. I put the time limit in the subject and use the sender to show event name and brand.
  2. When half of the time has passed I send an e-mail at another time in the day telling the person that they only have “half time left” to join the others in this successful event.

The first e-mail usually doesn’t effect people that much. But when you use the words “success” with a time limit to it, then you start seeing what predictable and irrational people we really are. So, that’s the special event win back.

3. The randomly chosen win back

The “randomly chosen” win back is the most general of them all. You could basically send this one to any selection of your e-mail data base. Only once every year to the same person though, otherwise the random won’t feel that random anymore.

The randomly chosen theme is based on the notion that you have some kind of offer that you want to test. You don’t really have to test it, but you use it as a way to 1. launch a new product 2. receive the initial customer reviews in order to see what you can expect from sales.

The core difference between the randomly chosen and the survey win back is that you have more freedom with your value proposition in the randomly chosen one. It is not as intrusive to say that someone has been randomly chosen, and thus the only thing you really have to care about is that you do not send the same e-mail to too many people from the same social network.

Now you might ask how to know this.. well.. connect your database to Facebook and you’ll know who’s friends with who.

4. The “you have unclaimed benefits/money” win back

The “you have unclaimed benefits/money” win back has the highest conversion rate of them all. This win back should be used if someone has an unclaimed bonus or deposit on an account on your website. Simple enough you remind the person that they have money left.

This type of e-mail can be sent until the user either uses the bonus/money/cupon or if they simply cancel it themselves. One thing you should think of when sending these types of campaigns however is that you need to vary your Sender From name and your Subject, and the time of day that you send the e-mail.

5. The “your account will be deleted” win back

This one is the last way out e-mail. If you have a service that required an invite, it might also be a very effective way to get people to start using your service again.

Simple enough, you write an e-mail explaining that you are not allowed to store the data longer than a year (or some other time period) if the user don’t use their account and thus you are forced to throw the person out. This also works very well if you have a strong brand. People might not care that they have the account, but they do care if you’re trying to take it away from them.

Final reflections

Win back campaigns are quite easy to set up. These are five different themes or examples of campaigns but I am sure you have other ideas that you might be able to use for your members or e-mail lists. The main thing to remember is that different users react to different things. Set up a chain of win back campaigns for everyone who has stopped opening your e-mails or has stopped buying your stuff.

Run them until the person falls into the “out box” where the member value is virtually none. For those people you should not force more e-mails, but you should rather decrease the frequency at which you make contact with them. If a person hasn’t opened your last five weekly e-mails, then only send them one per month. If a person hasn’t opened it for two or three months, then send them one every half year.

This however should be done when, and only when you have first worked with when, during the day, you send the e-mail as well as with the sender name as well as the subject.

The latest email service providers can help you set up dynamic send lists so that you send an e-mail to a person when they are most likely to open it. They also provide dynamic subjects based on previously clicked material, from address and from name.

That’s it for now! Please react and ask stuff in the comment field.

//Jesper

February 7, 2010

Welcome to eMail Week

Welcome to e-mail week. In my titles I will write eMail as I think this looks a bit cooler than e-mail and it is a way for me to write e-mail 2.0 but in another way. lol… THIS is e-mail week on jesperastrom.com and I will use this week to write five posts with some methods on how to use e-mail on the modern web. I will combine each post with either SEO, social media or conversion utilities. We will cover win-back campaigns, link building and most importantly the intersection between marketing and dialogue.

[If you are an e-mail provider out there you should make contact with me cause I want to video review your e-mail tool and put up some evil (meaning effective) e-mail campaigns that you might not have thought about yourself. Contact me through one of the social networks available from the buttons top right on this page or from the about page.]

How to Use e-mail on the Modern Web in general

This post will mention 2 effective ways to use e-mail on the modern web. You have seen your opening rates drop the past few years and you’re starting to question e-mail as a means for your communication. What you really should do is to start questioning yourself. E-mail is by far the most popular activity online, even surpassing search. The problem is not that e-mail has become bad, it is that YOU who have become worse.

One of the truths from Jim Collins book “Good to Great” is that you have to realize that you pretty much suck right now (but in other words :)). So do it. Say out loud!! “I am bad at sending e-mail, that’s why my e-mail opening rates have gone down. It is not e-mails fault, it is mine.”

Now … we can start! Here we go e-mail week!! (and with that build up, I have 2 extremely simple things to tell you.. hehe..)

1. Notifications and Updates

Facebook wasn’t first to employ this kind of e-mail tactic, but they sure as hell took it to another level. The whole evolution of updates of notifications have really proven one thing. If the e-mail is about the receiver, the receiver is highly likely to open it. It is as simple as that. If you’re running a modern e-mail campaign you really need a reason to contact the person you are sending the e-mail to.

Personalization with regards to “custom hello phrase” and “custom introductory text” is not enough. You need to really personalize an e-mail and to do so you need to employ dynamic content. This content can be fetched from some typ of xml file or database table, and it has to be one piece of information that the user has requested updates on.

The relationship always have to be an opt-in. If you’re working with travel, an update can be when travel costs to a certain location has reached a certain prize level. If you’re working with diapers your users might want updates on safety, offers or simply just a “caring advice” from another user. If you are working with electronics then your users might want add-on updates. There are a million updates to choose between, you just have to offer the kind your audience like.

Notifications can also be based upon actions in e-mails. Ie. if a user clicks a link, then the user is tagged with a certain type of content. When you create a newsletter for the future, you create several types of content. The way the content is displayed to the individual recipient is then based upon what kind of stories they have clicked in previous e-mails.

Also, win-back campaigns are extremely effective and based upon the principle of notifications. I will cover win-back campaings in a separate post that will probably go public on Thursday. What you do is that you place a user into a campaign based on the time they open the e-mail, what links they click and what they do on your website.

2. Direct 1-to-1 contacts

Wow, revolutionary right? Not really, but many of you out there are stuck in the mass e-mail campaigns where you rely on your list growth rate rather than your retention rate as your KPI. This is awfully wrong. What you should do is to identify your most important people, the 1-5% that share all your stories, that contribute to your content and who get people to think about what you do. Those people should be communicated to on a personal basis. Not a private basis, but on a personal one…  big difference in those two words.

If you can identify ring/tribal leaders, you’ll be very effective in reaching out to large quantities of people through the people that they listen to. I will do a recap on one of my lectures I held at eMetrics about 6 months ago where I combine social media and e-mail. Together with my co-worker Simon, we’ll dig into how you set up a system to identify your tribal leaders through Google Analytics.

One of the most common questions I get when talking about this is “doesn’t this require a lot of time and resources”. My response is that it doesn’t cost you more than one banner placement on a major website if you are a big company. The effect however is more than a million to that of the banner. So you choose.. either you can work with crappy ways of marketing, or you can work with good ways of communicating. Your choice.

As I said earlier in this blog post, it is not e-mail that sucks, it is you and the way you work with your e-mail.

What will eMail week lead to?

Right now you’re asking yourself; “well, yeah, we’ve heard this before, but HOW do we do this?” Well, that’s what e-mail week is for!! Primarily it will give you some tools to become better at what you do, with regards to e-mail campaigns and member databases. Also I will try to help you improve your work in social media as well as SEO, with the use of e-mail.

As always, I will write what I believe is the best way to do something. If you have a valid objection or idea, I am never late on agreeing and giving link love where it counts.

Please take some time to discuss with me. Also, if you want me to show you something specific or write about something in particular during e-mail week, then please don’t think twice about commenting or sending me an e-mail to jesper dot joakim dot astrom at gmail dot com.

//Jesper

Possibly related posts:
February 4, 2010

Why E-mail has Been my Best Friend since 1996

There is a lot buzz about this thing out there we call social media. People have a difficult time realizing what this “new thing” is supposed to be good for. At the same time this new thing seems to grow as fast as a flu virus in a crowded room.

People are also starting to question whether or not Social Media will kill other things on the web. I have previously written about this, and more significantly I have written about E-mail & Social media and how to combine the two. I don’t believe for a second that social media will kill e-mail as e-mail, by all means, is in fact an extremely social media. The whole point of e-mail is interaction between one or several people.

Yes, the type of medium can be used for other things such as marketing and spam with a noreply@whatever.com address. But we ALL know that we only have about 5-45% opening rate on those e-mails and at best a click through of 5%. What if that would be the case for your personal e-mails? Would you feel very relevant for your friends, colleagues or next of kin?

Email is our Identity online

And even though Facebook Connect, Discuss and other services are trying to put themselves in the position of being the main identifier online, they still fall short as you need an e-mail to identify yourself with when registering an account. E-mail maintains it’s role in our life and it maintains its purpose as a great compliment to other marketing tactics and conversation handling tools on the market.

What I’m saying is basically that if you are thinking about engaging in social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Bebo or vKontakte, then think twice before you ditch your e-mail marketing tools. In combination, E-mail and social networks have proven extremely helpful in identifying key stakeholders that visit your website.

So why has E-mail been my best friend?

Well basically e-mail is the one thing that has made me be able to do what I like to do. If I combine any experiment with an e-mail setup I know that I will be able to return good numbers on the bottom line. Regardless if I set up my e-mail campaigns with a retention purpose or with a conversion purpose, I know that it is what will turn users into Euros at the end of the day.

I also love e-mail because the most common practice has been an opt-in relationship. A person holds his or her e-mail address to themselves until they decide to opt-into the relationship or deal you have offered them. SpamAssassin has made my life both hell and heaven, but in the end I guess we have all earned from less spam and more true opt-in e-mail relationships with our clients, agencies and retailers.

I have decided to devote my whole next week to writing about different e-mail setups and thus I will not bore you to death with my nerdery just yet. For now I will just leave you with a top list of reasons why you should never turn away from e-mail as a means to communicate.

5 reasons to NOT stop sending e-mail

  1. People see their e-mail address as a part of their identity. If they share it with you, it is a sign of trust. If you don’t break that sign of trust, you are in good when making your value proposition.
  2. An e-mail address can be used to communicate a “billing relationship” through a third party which means you can build trust and let someone else demand the dough.
  3. E-mail can help you communicate privately with each and every person that you have a contact with and thus give you the opportunity to work with price variations depending upon the type of client.
  4. In a database, you can store an e-mail with an IP or a cookie (watch out, this is illegal in some countries) and thus also store the specific actions and interests of a person. With that information you can learn who is important and who is not with regards to your business. (CRM style baby!!)
  5. There is a second hand market for everything, and for e-mail it is highly profitable!!

I say the last thing just to provoke you. But it is a fact and if you have a service or a component to sell that a person buy’s one time in their life, but that thing is complimentary to other things, then you actually offer a service by selling that e-mail as a lead to a company offering that complimentary service. If you are white hat, and a good company, then you ask for permission in an obvious way. If you are a black hat, or a shady company, then you do not ask for permission. What you do is up to you. [Insert legal disclaimer… hrmf… ;)]

I guess that was all I had to say today. If you are bored and read this far, like this blog or just feel like you’re having an extremely good day, then I suggest you vote for me or someone else in Sweden’s most nerdy blog competition called YABA. I was nominated into the category Marketing, which was quite surprising to me. It is a popular vote, so I know I will not win, but you might help me not look like a donkey at least 🙂 You find the YABA competition here!

Don’t worry about the confirmation e-mail. They delete all e-mails after the competition. You’ll find my blog amongst the ones in the first group. SEO & Social Media by Jesper Åström

//Jesper

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