Day 4: relevancy, first impressions and other crucial email tips

Live blog from the MarketingSherpa Email Summit ‘08 in Miami

Today Michon Van Doorn followed the other presentations on the Email Marketing Summit ‘08 with great interest. In addition to that, she also presented her case in an excellent way. Read her thoughts and findings on the first two days at the Summit, with a smart focus on her core business. Thanks, Michon!

This is her story:
After my performance as a speaker at this Summit (read: after a very nervous morning), I finally found some time to give you my observations of this conference. I’ll report from my objective as an advertiser doing email marketing in Belgium for Unilever, a Fast Mover Consumer Goods Company.

Besides the fact that I’m impressed by the interactivity of the public and the high professional level of the cases, my overall conclusion until now is: we are doing a good job at Unilever Belgium. There is still room for a lot of improvement, but given the sector (FMCG) and the market (Belgium) we are in (no direct sales channel, no e-couponing), email marketing is a tough job in the long run. Relevancy is key, but also credibility and especially sustainability play a leading role.

My notes include the following observations I want to take away for the next months:

  • Research shows that newsletter opt-ins are the highest quality opt-ins when compared to other sources (e.g. sweepstakes). This proves to be completely in line with our own observations
  • Shorter subject lines are better: I think we can really do better on this point at Unilever. I’ll be working on that.
  • Vary your templates: eye tracking shows that consumers need variation to keep their attention. Now this is a tricky one. We work with templates for 2 major reasons: firstly the cost and secondly the fact that we want consumers to know where they can find the content they are interested in. Would be worth testing.
  • Landing pages are crucial: I realize that maybe we are focusing too much on our email content and lay-out, and not enough on the pages that follow. Apparently, they are what it’s all it’s all about! Food for thought…
  • Navigation summary (”in this issue”) should always be on the left hand side: Hmm, I should check our templates on this one…
  • “You can’t be relevant if you don’t know your target audience” – I’m sure that we don’t know enough about who we are really talking to via email…
  • And this one is a give away: “100% relevancy is more important than a fancy lay-out!” That’s a good one for our marketeers AND our agencies…
  • Never underestimate the effect of the “first impression”: if you don’t deliver as you should on your first email contact, you will lose your readers instantly (open rate & click rates going down…)

As you can see, these elements are not very surprising or entirely new, but they make me think that a good screening of our email marketing programs would be useful in Belgium!

If you have any questions about these observations or my intervention here as a speaker, just drop me an email!

Michon Van Doorn
michon.van-doorn@unilever.com

One Comment

  1. Posted February 27, 2008 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the quality of your speech, a good screening of our email marketing programs wouldn’t be a ‘michon impossible’ I guess!


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