We all get ‘phishing’ emails: fraudulent attempts to obtain information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details. Some are highly sophisticated; some – like ridiculous spam emails from Nigeria – are deliberately unsophisticated, to ensure that smarter people who’ll eventually realise it’s a scam don’t respond.
But can we educate ourselves from the effort which has gone into them? That’s the subject of Why phishing emails (unfortunately) work …and what marketers can learn from them on the MarketingSherpa Blog. The author of this fascinating article looks at phishing emails through the lens of ‘relevance, importance and urgency’ – key components of successful legitimate emails.
He concludes: “Email is a permission-based medium. You can often squeeze out a few more conversions from an email in the short term by burning the customer. But when you lead with value — when you put the customers’ needs before your own — then you have earned that permission. You start to build a trusting relationship with the customer. And ultimately, you create a sustainable email marketing practice within your business that you can be proud to call your own.”
Email is alive and well as a marketing channel in the B2B sector, as I’m sure you’re well aware. But where does email fall down? An interesting Marketing Sherpa discussion might prove enlightening. In What Motivates Buyers to Receive and Engage with Vendor Email? it’s made quite clear that the biggest weaknesses in emails are that the content isn’t relevant and the offer isn’t compelling enough. No surprise there of course, although it’s amusing that content not being relevant isn’t considered as big a problem by marketers as it is by customers. It would appear that too many of us think our customers will be interested in us even if what we’ve got to say isn’t of interest to them. Worth bearing in mind next time you email out a newsletter telling the world you’ve got a new financial director.
Once again, however, this emphasises the need to segment your email lists. Don’t amalgamate all your announcements into one email and send it to everyone. You know who buys product A, who buys product B, and who buys both. Send them the right emails.
Recipients also value who the sender is more than marketers think. Could you personalise the sender of your emails more? If your customers in the north deal with salesman A and those in the south with salesman B, why not divide the list that way and send your emails from the person at your company who the customer actually knows?
Here’s a survey which probably just tells us something we already knew, but it’s always good to have your assumptions backed up by some numbers. US website Marketing Sherpa has published the results of a survey of nearly 1,500 “buyers and influencers” in Information Sources for Large Purchase Decisions Changing which shows a thumping drop this year in the number of people using “face to face” events or tradeshows. We’re looking at trends here, not absolute numbers, but it’s interesting to see what’s rising and falling, even if we don’t know the size of the base for each.
The always-fascinating Marketing Sherpa website has produced a fantastic free document which I’d recommend everyone to go and download right now. The Marketing Wisdom 2009 Report is 50 pages of “real life stories and lessons learned” from its readers, many of whom are marketing managers in everyday businesses. There are 94 tips and anecdotes, the majority of which I found interesting – and a few of which I found really noteworthy. Go take a look.