My Inbox Is Gonna Keep On Keepin’ On

In my current copywriting gig, I write a lot of sales-related e-mails on behalf of clients. So it’s not lost on me that people feel flooded with irrelevant e-mails, or simply ignore a ton of them. I’ve also taken notice that quick posts on Facebook and Twitter have reduced the amount of personal e-mails I tend to write.
So does the inbox still have a place in the marketing plans of tomorrow?
Writing in Ad Age, Steve Rubel takes a look at what some e-mail services are doing to keep it relevant. It’s one of his more coherent Ad Age columns, as he throws in examples of companies working to improve standard e-mail marketing.

e-mail marketing, which, to some degree, has been beaten down by regulation, and has taken a backseat to social networking. Nielsen revealed last week that e-mail’s share of time declined 28%, putting it in third place, while social networking, the leader, climbed 43%.
Despite these attention currents, however, the reality is that e-mail is stronger than ever. According to an eConsultancy study of 1,400 U.S. consumers, 42% said they prefer to receive ads for sales and specials via e-mail compared to just 3% who said the same for social-networking sites and 1% who preferred Twitter.
Savvy marketers are beginning to see that if they leverage all of their channels effectively, they can increase their overall ROI and, in the process, establish a deeper bond with customers and influencers.

E-mail marketing is big business. It’s gonna stay that way. But some of the e-mail marketing “best practices” guides I’ve seen are really bleak–emphasizing repetition and urgency over clever writing and creative thinking. It’s reminiscent of the old-school direct mail gurus who preach a standard way of sending a mailer, right down to the “Johnson Box” in the top right corner.
What moves you to open and read a piece of e-mail marketing? A snappy subject line? The word “FREE”? Nice HTML graphics? Personalized content?



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.