Yesterday a colleague shared this TED talk about one truly clueless email strategy:
After mopping up tears of laughter, we naturally asked: Who oversaw that cluster mess?
Last week, I received a note from Microsoft 365’s admin team. They had changed category algorithms for Outlook users, and did we like it? Um, no. Now, every shade of politically-charged and lewd spam appears in my In box, tempting me to resort to James Veitch’s tactics. Every time I hit unsubscribe, those emails return like an annoying in-law.
According to The Radicati Group, 49.7 percent of the 200+ billion email messages we receive every day are spam. That’s nearly 100 billion e-spams a day.
After we filter out those who will never follow email rules, how many email marketing teams run their protocols by PR pros? Or even think to call them as the next mail program is conceived? Sure, content’s king. But the follow up – how we respond to queries, how we manage lists, how we grow subscribers – is equally critical.
We read a lot about the symbiotic relationship of inbound marketing and PR. It’s time we consistently integrate PR’s Zeitgeist into email campaign planning.
Here’s why you need public relations experts on your organization’s email marketing team.
1. We understand that No does not mean Maybe. When an editor or reporter we pitch says “not the kind of topic I’m focusing on right now,” we don’t send follow up emails to convince them it’s a once-in-their-career opportunity. And while we ask if we can keep in touch for other story ideas, if they decline, we move on. In a similar vein, set up your email program to ask those who ‘unsubscribe’ why they no longer want your information. Regularly include surveys in your e-blasts. This can help you refine your content and list strategy. But if folks don’t respond, you can’t nag them. And when they unsubscribe, that name comes off the list. No more contact. Period.
2. We know the value of the How To. People want to know why your product or service merits their money. They want to know how to use it effectively. And they want a little entertainment value for their time. Only after they know you’ll deliver on these things will they consider letting you into their In box. Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” campaign has done these things for years. They bring people in through a robust YouTube channel and engaging web site. They gain email subscribers by asking them if they want recipes. What is your email team doing to integrate content that educates, entertains and delights your prospective email readers?
3. We make a living counseling our clients on timely, appropriate response. Whether it’s a media request for CEO comment on a new HR policy, a product recall or a vendor’s criminal action, PR pros help organizations hone, practice and, if needed, implement reputation management and crisis response plans. Increasingly, we are asked how to respond (or not) to heated discussion or criticism on clients’ social platforms. We’re the ultimate scenario planners and script developers. Draw upon our insights as your team maps each touchpoint of your next email campaign.
There’s no question that email can enhance inbound marketing and ultimately sales. However, the shiniest email (or blog or social post or news story placement for that matter) won’t save us without conversation and response strategies. So the next time your email team convenes, invite your PR team to the table.
Drawing upon her 25+ years’ PR and marketing communications experience in health care, senior living and home care, education, manufacturing and not-for-profit sectors, Jenny Smith founded Acuity Public Relations LLC in 2012. PR strategy, content development and marketing, media relations and event promotion are what she loves best. When she’s not serving clients, Jenny can be found digging in her garden, in a spinning or weights class, trying a new recipe, devouring a book or planning her next travel adventure.