When Email Marketing Won't Work
Email marketers love to tout the benefits, return on investment and successes of our favorite channel. However, there's something I've come to know through my many years in the industry: sometimes email doesn't work. There comes a time in every business when you need to evaluate where to spend your marketing dollars. Oftentimes email is a no-brainer; sometimes it's not.
Is there a place in almost every marketing program for email? Certainly. But too often, companies look at email as their saving grace, the Hail Mary pass, the super channel that will help them reach prospects with the right message at the right time. That's what email does. It's dynamic, powerful and the best channel for communicating your targeted message. And it works for many companies! But putting all your eggs in one basket (ahem, excuse the Easter bunny reference) is never a good idea. (I could go on about using an integrated approach, but that's a topic for an entirely different post.)
There are times when it's not a good idea to invest significantly in email marketing. Here are a couple of them:
1. Your email marketing program is really a lead-generation program, and the goal of your acquisition strategy is to give your sales team phone leads as opposed to marketing leads to nurture. If you work for a B-to-B company or a company with a long sales cycle, the key to a successful email program is lead nurturing. You have to be aware that sending regular "batch and blast" email campaigns isn't going to cause someone to pick up the phone and order a Lamborghini.
It could take months or years of carefully curated and targeted content to get a prospect to a point in which they're ready to take a test drive. If your organization doesn't believe in the methodology, or is implementing a list-growth strategy in order to skip the lead nurture process, you're going to be disappointed on the ROI of your short-term email program — i.e., a newsletter to a batch of new "subscribers" in which nobody buys a sports car.