Don’t just cast the net

Whether it’s three for two offers on groceries, ten per cent off football tickets or opportunities to claim my nonexistent PPI compensation my inbox is constantly full of offers. Fishing tackle, adjustable high chairs and West Bromwich Albion were just a few of the latest offerings and I can assure you, I’m not interested in any of these things.

By Laura England

For business owners, there are a couple of ways of acquiring e-mail marketing distribution lists. Some purchase pre-made lists, others rent existing lists and some will simply create their own. Inevitably, not all lists are perfect. Thankfully for consumers, a click of the delete button and any irrelevant sales messages can be banished to the recycling bin in a matter of seconds. What’s more, for those of us with a little more patience there’s always the option to unsubscribe, right?

Let them off the hook

As consumers, there’s nothing worse than being asked if we’re sure we’d like to unsubscribe. Some marketers have created irritating labyrinths of tick boxes and confirmations before consumers can remove themselves from mailing lists. I can assure you, if someone has taken the time to scroll to the bottom of the e-mail, find that tiny unsubscribe link and click on it, they definitely aren’t interested in your cut price season tickets. But fear not. Unsubscribes aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

Ok, you may have lost a potential customer. But in turn, you’ve cleared your distribution list of someone who probably wasn’t going to buy anything. Instead of creating a complex system for unsubscribing, make it simple for recipients and use this data to organise and clear out your future lists. As a result, this will make your marketing activity simpler and make you look like more trustworthy.

The dreaded follow up
Some recipients have unsubscribed and a small percentage has simply deleted the e-mail. However, a considerable chunk have opened the e-mail, but taken no action. Where do you go from here? Don’t just wait for these customers to get in touch. Instead, follow up.

We’ve all received the dreaded follow up e-mail of salespeople ‘just checking in’ and ‘hoping to catch up’ with us. This approach not only appears over familiar but also at times, can be a bit rude. If you choose to follow up by e-mail, you’ll need to delve a little deeper than sending out a generic template. If you’d really like some engagement, just pick up the phone.

We have all heard the myth that cold calling is dead, but I can assure you, it isn’t. Rather than bombarding customers with even more marketing automation, speaking to them on the phone is a sure fire way to gage their interest. Many of us are understandably afraid of cold calling, but if the recipient has received your e-mail, viewed its contents and clicked through to your website, is it really such a cold call after all?

Admittedly, some attempts of e-mail marketing will completely miss the mark - I’m looking at you WBA. What is important is that organisations and marketers understand what to do when distribution does go wrong. Don’t hoard subscribers simply to maintain a lengthy distribution list. As cliché as it sounds, when it comes to e-mail marketing, quality really does beat quantity.


Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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