You’ve Got Mail

istock_000013136326xsmall_2When my wife and I recently re-watched Nora Ephron’s 1998 iconic romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, I was struck by how much has changed about email since that movie was released.  Back then, receiving an email was a big deal, and the AOL chime notice when it hit your inbox was a recognized part of pop culture.

Today’s reality is that you’ve got mail, and mail, and mail, and … so much of it, in fact, that email management can steal hours from your workday.  Email is a victim of its own success. It’s so inexpensive and so effective that many companies send their potential customers a daily dose, often more.  Response rates and click-through percentages can be less than 1% and still be profitable.  As long as it’s profitable, companies keep cranking it out.

Yes, we do have laws that enable recipients to opt out of the torrent, but those who do opt out are a small subset of those who continue to allow the communications.  For most companies, the drop-outs are merely collateral damage that can be tolerated as long as response rates are high enough to maintain some profitability for the campaign.

But there’s a string attached…

Unfortunately, too many companies don’t realize the financial penalties associated with the opt-outs.  When a customer opts out, the blocked company is deprived of a powerful communication channel to reach that customer and consequently loses significant revenue opportunities.  At one of our customer companies, for example, emailable customers spend almost 50% more per year than customers who will only accept postal communications.

The way through the dilemma of keeping the email channel open without spamming the recipient is to make the email more relevant and thus more attractive and useful for the recipient.  It’s now clear that relevance raises response rates (and thus revenue).  The increase is dramatic.  When one of our customer companies sends out a million emails, each email is unique because it has specific product offers that we know from our customer analytics will be attractive to the recipient.

There may not be an announcement chime, but You’ve Got Mail can once again be an anticipated event.

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