Oh, the batch and blast. One of those necessary evils that every marketing team must contend with, but also one that many email marketers never break from. I see this all the time, and it often starts this way…
Company XYZ draws a line in the sand and decides to modernize their approach to email marketing. They’ve been “doing email” for a long time and are ready to take the next big step. After a rigorous research and vetting exercise, they purchase a full-blown Marketing Automation platform and abandon that old, simple email tool. There’s excitement in the air! This new platform is going to fix everything, right? Well, maybe. This is usually where there Curse of the Batch and Blast shows up, often for two key reasons:
- It’s hard to break old habits. Despite the power and capabilities of today’s Marketing Automation platforms, many marketers simply recreate their old processes in the new tools. This usually starts out of necessity in order to “keep the shop running.” Weeks or months later, innovation and strategy are still taking a back seat to today’s emergencies.
- Not investing in education or working with a partner. We all understand how Marketing Automation should be used to nurture relationships and deliver relevant and timely content. The challenge comes in defining a well-planned strategy and then executing on it. Without the right education or assistance, frustration can lead us right back to our old friend, the batch and blast.
Does any of this sound familiar? You’d be surprised how many businesses make significant investments in Marketing Automation tools, and never realize the benefits of highly targeted and personalized campaigns.
Why you need to break the curse
Nobody likes receiving irrelevant messages on an ongoing basis. We all have examples from our own inbox, like that company that knows a lot about us because we shop on their site or engage with their content, but they continually send things we don’t care about. What do we do? We often unsubscribe, and loss of audience means loss of revenue.
Additionally, when you overcommunicate, important offers get lost in the noise. If you’re sending daily email messages, your audience will become numb to your voice. Nobody is excited to hear from you and all urgency is lost when they know the next message is coming tomorrow.
How do you break the curse?
- Start small. Don’t completely burn down your existing strategy and start over from scratch. Identify one segment, and target it with meaningful, personalized content — perhaps a special offer or call to action based on browsing history or previous purchases. This approach allows you to dip your toe in the water without the disruption that comes with completely rebuilding your strategy all at once.
- Target new contacts.Your newest contacts or customers are still forming an opinion of you. A Welcome or Thank You campaign is a simple way to start down the path of targeted nurture and personalization with a fresh audience. Once you’ve reached out in this way with a virtual handshake, they’ll likely be more open to future offers and information.
- Identify other segments. As you start to see increases in performance metrics, you’ll want to identify other segments to target. A great one to consider are those records I call “emotionally unsubscribed.” These are the contacts that never open or click your emails, and never engage with you online. BUT they’ve also never clicked the unsubscribe button. A targeted campaign can help pull this segment back into a positive relationship with you.
- Start to build a targeted strategy throughout your database. Once you’ve implemented a few campaigns such as the ones listed above, you’ll have the experience and insight to start considering a holistic targeting strategy. Perhaps you’ve formally developed buyer personas or are getting serious about implementing a lead nurturing program for your documented lead funnel stages. With the “low hanging fruit” campaigns now running, you can focus on those that that will drive even greater engagement and revenue.
- Keep batch and blast where it makes sense. Over time, you’ll find you’re sending fewer batch campaigns, which is a great thing! But don’t forget, they still have a place in your email marketing program. There will always be those emergency communications, and batch campaigns can still be appropriate for special events and holiday messages where it makes sense to reach out to your entire contact base. Just be sure to personalize!
If you use this approach and start small, you can quickly break the Curse of the Batch and Blast. In no time you’ll be building loyalty and driving increased revenue through relevant, timely and personalized campaigns.
Greg Huckabee is a Client Engagement Manager at DemandGen, where he advocates for client solutions and resources. He loves helping marketers uncover hidden opportunities and realize the greatest possible value from their marketing automation tools.