Silverpop - Tackling the Relevance Challenge
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Tackling the Relevance Challenge

Bill Nussey, Silverpop
by: Bill Nussey (@bnussey)
21 June 2010

During the past decade, the world of email marketing has changed dramatically. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the struggle to rise above the noise and stay relevant. Email volumes continue to climb every year, and buyers continue to be inundated with unwanted promotional messages across an ever-expanding array of channels.

Lately, this old challenge has taken a new twist. In a marketplace gone social, buyers have less patience than ever for irrelevant messages—but they will eagerly amplify engaging ones. The significance of this is two-fold: first, the more relevant you are, the more likely your content will be shared and spread. And secondly, research shows buyers trust recommendations from other buyers more than any other form of advertising. By sharing opinions and seeking affirmation from trusted sources, buyers effectively control which messages get heard.

Respecting, and effectively leveraging this word-of-mouth characteristic of the social Internet goes deeper than simply sending more targeted communications. It requires a new way of thinking. Instead of one-to-one targeting, think one-to-one dialogues; instead of list-based campaigns, monitor your subscribers’ activity across channels, and create campaigns based on behavioral data. In the new age of buyer control, marketers need to move from a list-centric world to a behavior-centric one, and to realize that their largest asset is no longer the size of their list, but the amount of behavior gathered for each name.

Savvy marketers understand that relevance in today’s digital marketplace is more about participating in a community than blasting messages. To create real conversations that cut through the noise, you must listen, learn and understand your subscribers’ issues and focus content on their needs rather than yours. By approaching each person in your email program as someone you want to get to know rather than a bullseye you’re aiming for, you’ll create a deeper level of engagement, leading to better sales, higher retention rates and increased ROI.


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