Email Marketing has been lauded as the most effective tool ever, and much maligned as a necessary evil that just won’t go away.
So which is it? Why does it work for some people and not others?
Let’s take a cold-hard look at the most common list of CRE email marketing complaints, but more importantly, come up with solutions:
There is TOO MUCH email
Yes, that’s true. We’re all drowning in work and personal email. The problem is not email, but the way it gets abused by many a clueless mass marketer
The mass marketing approach quite frankly sucks for everyone. The recipients are frustrated with irrelevant messages and the impersonal approach; the senders are frustrated because they don’t get the result they expect.
So what is the fix?
How about targeted email marketing. Imagine there is a way to map recipients’ preferences so that the senders are reaching only those people who’ve expressed a desire for a certain type of deal. If, as a recipient, your preferences for certain characteristics of deals are known, then messages you receive are highly relevant and based on your own pre-set user criteria.
What’s important here is that, in an industry like CRE where the same party can be on both sides of transaction, targeted marketing goes both ways. The senders are sometimes the recipients the recipients are sometimes the senders. Otherwise, the idea of relevant information exchange via preference matching breaks down.
Yes, it’s difficult to map everyone’s preferences (we know), but if it was easy then you wouldn’t be drowning in email.
I don’t want to miss out on a deal!
There are some people who only want relevant messages; others are more concerned with missing out on deals so they sign up for every email list (or don’t unsubscribe from them). Quite often on Buzztarget, they check off every checkbox on the preference page…just to make sure.
You may be inundated with emails, but the sense of security at being “in the know” is more important. Obviously this is a personal preference.
In this case, customized filters within email clients are very helpful. Yes, it will take some time to categorize and prioritize, but it’s worth it in the end. And email clients like Gmail and MS Outlook make this a super easy process.
Segmentation doesn’t always work in smaller markets
There is an interesting point of view that segmentation works well for large markets (i.e. New York), where you can make quite a nice living specializing in restaurant retail, but not as well for smaller markets, there just isn’t enough volume of one type of deal.
This is largely true, however even in smaller markets, targeting when sending and segmentation of personal preferences when it comes to curtailing email can be used to your advantage. On the recipient side, your marketing platform should give you the flexibility to select whether you’d like to receive everything or only what’s relevant. On the sender side, you shouldn’t be the one controlling who receives what so the choice lies with the recipient
That’s still segmentation, and exactly why flexibility of any email marketing platform is so important. You alone are the judge of whether you’re specializing or not. However, giving CRE folks the flexibility to set narrow or wide filters when receiving emails and enable targeting when sending is a mark of platform that works.
Pulling vs. Pushing Information
Some people don’t want to pull information (i.e. proactively search), but want to have information pushed to them (i.e. receive what’s relevant to them).
There is a reason why we sign up to receive blog posts from our favorite blogs. We’re too busy to actively look.
Search can sport a killer design, but browsing listings all day long is frankly a headache to some people. In this case, preference setting to receive email works. Information is pushed to you, and you’re receiving only things you signed up for…no more, no less.
There’re many reasons why email is still one of the most effective marketing avenues, including:
1. Email is location independent.
2. We have access to it all day long.
3. With user preference setting, it is relevant.
And, while there are many more delivery avenues for marketing messaging to come (we are working on them!), email will be one of them, so we may as well figure it out.
Instead of complaining how email sucks and offering alternatives that don’t fix its problems, let’s discuss solutions like targeted marketing, filter setting, and educating CRE marketers (and their clients) that sending a message to people who specifically indicated their interest is much more effective than spamming a non-performing list of thousands of “contacts.”
What has your experience with mass-marketing vs. targeted marketing been like? What would you like to see happen?