“How Intimate Are You with Your Email?”

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Hustler Marketing is a different kind of agency. For example, we invite “Guest-Star Marketers” to present the latest aspects of email marketing. They’re not a job requirement, but each Zoom is filled with dozens of interested faces and includes a lively Q&A.

Recently veteran ecommerce crusher Tim Kilroy joined us for an eye-opener based on his decades of experience. The most meaningful lessons to me were the ones that differentiated email marketing from that of other digital channels. “Email marketing is very intimate, while social and search marketing are very public,” Tim began. 

Intimacy has a distinct advantage. Having a great brand, he warns, is not enough to maximize the value of your customer base. Instead, the most profitable lists combine a great brand with great targeting technologies. And targeting matters these days more than ever.


Relationship Marketing’s Age-Old Track Record?

Actually, not more than ever. Just more than it has in a long time. After all, relationship marketing isn’t new. It’s come full circle, following an interruption by the Industrial Revolution. Before then, business success depended on relationships. Purchases came from personal referrals.

But consumer demand for lower prices and wider selection ushered in a new era. We began marketing products and services, with features and benefits instead of  relationships. This new Product Marketing Era was less personal but vastly expanded offerings while reducing costs.  

Then “smart marketers began to question this approach,” according to Responsys President Scott Olrich in the Econsultancy Blog. “Why…were we marketing to similarities? Why not differences?” Enter segmentation, mail-order catalogs like LL Bean and the (re)birth of Relationship Marketing. 

But mail-order segmentation was just the first step. Newer marketing tools, including databases linked with email, Internet search and social media, have refined niche markets into highly personalized groups. These tools allowed marketers to develop individual, or 1:1 (personalized) marketing campaigns.



Personalization Power?

But Tim reminded me that email marketing is the Segmenter-In-Chief. It makes its offers far more personalized than any other channel can. “The most profitable dollars come from email marketing because they are from your current customers. It’s not rushed and expensive, like new acquisitions suddenly thrust into a sales funnel.” It’s an intimate, personal conversation.

I came away from our Guest-Star Marketing talk with key steps to make emails more intimate.

  1. Use longer split tests. Because you control the environment, you can see what works.  (This is unlike any other marketing channel except PPC-fed landing pages.) So don’t merely dabble! Dive in by repeating tests usually 6-10 times until the results form a consistent pattern. Then you will accurately profile your best customers.
  2. Survey your recipients to find out how they want their emails, and how often. Google forms work great for this, especially if you promise a gift like a small discount. Once results are in, you can segment your list by desired email frequency, among other things. Open rates and engagement improved considerably, even among non-buyers (see chart).
  3. Include in your nurturing campaigns teasers for the next newsletter. This gives recipients another reason to open — and even look forward to your next email.
  4. Send thank-you emails to repeat buyers. Skip the coupons and the upsell pitches, because transactions dilute genuine gratitude.
  5. Segment better to personalize better, not just for campaigns, but for flows as well. (In fact, Klaviyo Senior Product Manager Alex Edelstein reports that behavior-triggered and lifecycle flows outperform nurture campaigns.)

More information is in the chart about effective personalization tactics below by In a report by WBR Insights, but these five steps can each make dramatic improvements in the “conversation” between you and your list. This deepens the relationship. And deeper relationships help your customers get more out of what you have to offer, while strengthening your bottom line–a genuine love affair.

How do you create your sparks through email marketing? Comment below to let us know. Who knows? You might be our next Guest-Star Marketer!

Thomas McClintock

Hustler Marketing

Thomas McClintock

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