Does Your Email Pass the Relevance Test?

Email marketing as a tactic has been around for many years now and as marketers we have to be careful not to take it for granted. Initially marketers were very careful with the types of emails that were sent to their database, however as email has become more common place I believe it is worthwhile reminding ourselves that we must keep our subscriber’s trust.

Email differs from other online tactics in that subscribers provide their email opt in to a company with the expectation that they will receive information requested that is especially meaningful and relevant to them or their preferences. This trust does not come lightly and can be revoked very quickly if those expectations are not met.

Email is a one to one medium that has the ability to be personalised and made highly relevant. Like all marketing tactics, email is more appropriate at some times, and not so appropriate at others.

I believe it is a marketer’s responsibility to make sure their email content meets the following checklist for every broadcast:

  • Is the email specifically relevant to the person receiving it?
  • Have I done everything possible to make sure the communication is in line with “one to one” communications principles?
  • Does this email fit within the opt in permission that I have received from the subscriber?
  • Does this email fulfill a value proposition to the recipient (this could be a unique opportunity or offer, relevant information, service information etc)?
  • Is there a relevant call to action or next step for the recipient to follow?

If your email communication does not meet this checklist, then perhaps email is not the most effective way to communication your message.

I received an email recently and it questioned my expectation of what is appropriate corporate email communication. Let me tell you about it…

Some of you may have seen the current Qantas Frequent Flyer ads where Qantas communicate changes to their Frequent Flyer program. Today I received an email from Velocity Rewards which comments on the Qantas program and compares the difference to their own. You can view the email here.

To me, this email is a rebuttal from Velocity on the Qantas campaign and whilst they are entitled to comment on it, I question their use of email as a means of delivering this message. You see I am already a Velocity member which means I am already familiar with Velocity program (already a convert?). I am not completely against Velocity making a point about comparing their rewards program to a competitor, however I do have an issue with a whole dedicated email being sent to me on this topic. When I look at the above checklist, it doesn’t pass as a relevant and meaningful communication to me and I feel it would have been better communicated as a secondary message in one of their regular emails, or through other mediums such as banners online, or TVC/print etc offline.

Email is a tactic that is not typically used for branding and awareness, nor should it be used for non relevant communications. I don’t want to get involved in a company’s sparing match and email isn’t in my view, a suitable way to communicate this message. If however the message was presented in a different, less personal medium, rather than resenting the interruption I might have instead had a chuckle over their point.

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