How We Became An Email Marketing Agency

Our story with email marketing starts back in November 2000 with Chris Price joining a small email marketing Software Company in Auckland.  He had spent over 8 years in the outsource printing and mail house industry and was now ready to take on its electronic alternative.

His team was as small as they get – two programmers and him, acting as sales, marketing and customer services all rolled into one. When he left four years later, the business had grown to a staff of 16, with two offices and over 50 clients.

But it was on the first Friday afternoon of the business launch over 9 years ago that is of interest here.  Chris found himself on a podium of what was then the Direct Marketing Association (now the Marketing Association) luncheon, staring out at 350 direct marketers, introducing an overseas expert speaker on email marketing.

The speaker’s first question was a classic.

“Please raise your hand if any of you receive any unsolicited or SPAM email messages”, he asked.

Nobody raised their hand.

“Well I suppose the spammers have yet to discover New Zealand.  Don’t worry – it will only be a matter of time,” he quickly mentioned and moved onto the next slide to cover his predictions on how the use of email marketing would play out in this country.

How right he was.  We all started to receive SPAM the next month and it has been arriving unabated since.  Nevertheless, there were some positive points mentioned in Derek’s predictions that, like the growth of SPAM, have also eventuated.

Prediction No 1 – Most marketers will have a space for email in their business communications plan.  If you want to deliver a short message to your customers within an even shorter timeframe, then email is the first choice.  You can’t beat it when you want to tell thousands the same message in a morning.

Prediction No 2 – Email will allow your customer acquisition process to take on a whole new dimension.  Now prospects can start to receive your communications by sharing just their first name and email address. This is a first step that most feel more comfortable with, rather than providing a phone number and physical address.

Prediction No 3 – Email marketing will drive down the cost of marketing communications.  What took a marketing department two weeks to dispatch and cost a dollar per pack can now be sent in days for cents.   No surprises that this revelation on its own seduced many to transfer a large majority of their communications into email when not all were fit for the task.  However, marketers were quick to find out how little time customers have when it comes to consuming a 35 page brochure online.

These three statements highlight just a few ways that, since November 2000, email marketing has changed the way in which we think about implementing effective customer and prospect communications.  There is always a part to play for email marketing in our customer’s lead generation and/or customer loyalty strategies.

The problems this type of work solves.

There’s a lot I can add here so here are just a couple to consider.

Customers forgetting about you and your service.  “If only I knew you sold that as well THEN I would have purchased it from you and not your competitor.”

Your prospects failing to make a decision because of the lack of any ongoing communications that nurture them towards making a final commitment.

How it will make your site sell more.

Most websites are built for the prospect who wants to make a decision NOW.  It should not surprise you that this represents a small proportion of your available market opportunity.  Email marketing is for those that will say yes, but in the near future.  In most cases there are more people in this group than you would initially imagine.

What needs to happen BEFORE this type of work is completed?

There’s a mix of technology, content and strategy within any successful foray into email marketing. Some clients arrive with none complete, others come with a couple – we help them produce the necessary detail in each to make a success of their future efforts.

What coaching content do we offer in this area?

There’s been a few.  Try these areas:

Email marketing your way through a recession

Email marketing double coaching pack