send, resend, repurpose. all the same, right?

You’ve got some great tools in place, you can see who has opened your email, you can see who hasn’t and now you want to get all those people who haven’t engaged with you yet to open it so why not send it again?  Seems harmless enough, in fact it sounds like a great way to “repurpose” your content, here comes the bad news…it’s not.  In fact, it can do you more harm than good.

Now you’re either angry or confused, that’s ok, let’s walk through this.  The way that the neat little tracking bits work in your email marketing technology or marketing automation platforms is that it embeds a hidden image in the email, when that image is downloaded it registers as an “open” with the tool you are using.  So let’s say the person receiving your email is using Outlook or Gmail a Mobile Device or some other email client that turns off images by default, meaning you get an email that looks like this:

imagesturnedoff

instead of this:

imagesturnedon

What does this mean in terms of your tracking? Well it means it doesn’t register until (or unless) someone turns on the images or downloads them.  Now, let’s just presume that some portion (maybe 1-2%) of your tracking doesn’t register a true open, is it really fair to send those people the same message twice in a quick enough period of time that they will remember? So you get crafty (or so you think) and you send the same message but with a different subject line, is that really fair either?  Again you are running the risk of sending the message again and inviting someone to unsubscribe (at best) or report your message as spam (at worst).  Neither unsubscribe or spam complaint is a pretty picture.  How about an alternative, how about a true reuse of the content.  If someone did not engage with your message via email, why not try a different mechanism for reaching them, maybe the subject line itself could use some work.

The answer to non-engagement is not to resend until someone happens to open it, the answer is to understand the preferences of your audience. Is a specific type of content better (webinar vs. white paper, etc.) or is a specific channel of communication more popular (live chat, email, social, etc.).  The key to understanding the real problem is not to resend your email, the key is to understand how your audience communicates and to tailor your plan accordingly.

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