Jun 24, 2010

Why the time for Branded Email is NOW!

This is a GREAT time for anyone in business to start using Branded Email rather than plain text email messages. Those who don’t will miss out on today’s best deal in “push” marketing.

Every week, I speak with many people about their marketing – what’s working, what’s not, and why. Those that read this blog regularly know that I am passionate about preaching a balanced marketing effort: a combination of Push, Pull, and Personal marketing efforts that, together, generate the results you want. Yet it’s amazing how often I hear, “I have a website, but I get no traffic!” Search engines are great, but you can’t depend on SEO to give you all the visibility your business needs. You need to drive your own traffic.

Here’s where “push” Marketing comes into play. Ads, postcards, email marketing campaigns, and even social media are all great for driving traffic. The most frequent “push marketing collateral” that businesses create is the 20 or so emails that each and every employee sends in the course of a usual business day. Now is time to harness that volume to drive brand awareness and traffic to your website, blog, or Facebook page.

Distinguishing between “Branded Email” and “Email Campaign Management” is important. Branded Email is sent in the normal manner of email generation – one message at a time using your desktop email client, while “Email Campaign Management” is a single message sent to a list of addresses, usually using a special website facility that provides metrics like click through rates, open rates, and opt-out tracking. Both types of email have a place in the overall marketing effort, but Campaign Management is more complicated, requiring that messages are sent from within a specialized website, which is $20 to $50 per month per account and usually limited to a few specialized operators that run this tool for the small businesses. Branded Email, a facility that is common to all the addresses in a given domain, involves some incremental cost but does not generally incur high costs, running about $7.00 per month per address. The benefit from Branded Email comes from the sheer number of emails generated by the business, each containing branding and a marketing link.

Branded email delivers your logo, your image, your marketing message, and even a link to thousands of correspondents every day. And if your addressees choose to forward your message, for a myriad of business reasons, additional people could see and react to your company’s branded message. Best of all, it is very cost effective: a flat annual fee offers you unlimited usage per account.

Not all mail is equal – and that is especially true of branded email. Email began as ASCII character-based messages. Over time, technical innovations allowed transmittal of HTML versions of email. But every email client (the application running on your desktop) decodes HTML email messages a bit differently. As a result, some email clients will display Branded-email in odd ways or may block it completely as suspected SPAM. In such cases, not only is your branded message not seen, your information-laden email, perhaps containing important instructions or data, does not reach its intended recipient.

Fortunately, companies that are in the Branded Email business have figured out ways to keep this from happening. When Outlook comes out with a new service pack, branded email vendors implement changes to their back-end programming to keep customers’ messages from being trapped by spam filters or scrambled by graphics filters.

In considering a Branded Email vendor, here’s what you need to look for:

1. Cost effectiveness – look for an annual cost of about $100 per account without restriction on number of emails sent.

2. Platform independence – look for a solution that will work regardless of the email client being used by the sender or the recipient

3. Spam compliance – seek a vendor that provides some assurance about the ability to get through spam filtering now part of most desktop email clients.

4. Flexibility – make sure you can change template, messages, and content at will.

Start getting that traffic boost today! Start using Branded Email for your routine company email messages.