Email Blast or Email Campaign
Hint: They aren’t the same
Are you wondering what the difference between and Email Blast and an Email Campaign is? Those of you who know me will attest that this topic makes my blood boil. When people think of these two concepts as being the same thing I cringe. Quite often the smart aleck in me will say something like this: “email blast? Wow….the ‘90’s called and they want their word back”. I understand that I should take the higher road…but gee! So here we go with one man’s version of email blast or email campaign.
In my view an email blast is like fishing with a stick of dynamite in a murky lake. Email campaigns are fishing for bonefish with a fly rod, on a saltwater flat in Belize. The former brings me back to the late 1990’s. We were trying hard to speak to our customers across a national and segmented platform. Traditional print media told the same old story about paying them a lot of money, spending some serious cash on photography and then sitting back and hoping for the phone to ring. Direct mail campaigns with incorrect addresses, postal employees to deal with and the lack of measurable results were no more enticing. So off we went down the MS Outlook mail merge bunny hole. It sounded so simple. Just craft a message in MS Word and merge it with your email contacts in MS Excel. Needless to say it was a little clunkier than that in the execution.
However, the real issues of these mail merges or email blasts were a little more granular than just the user friendliness of the Microsoft products.
- It was not easy to manage the database in order to send different messages to different types of client. Basic segmentation.
- De-duping the database to prevent duplicate sends was imperfect.
- There was no reliable way to measure how many recipients opened the piece. Much less, who they were.
- Sending images was a minefield. Imagine dial up for a minute!
- Attaching a .pdf was really not going to happen.
Worst of all, your action plan for a follow up effort was based strictly on direct reply to the email. In other words, not much of a plan.
Today, properly run email campaigns and the technology available have solved the contact merge issues, the segmentation and database management issues and the “how many and who” opened the mail problem. Sending images in the piece or via linked download is a breeze and ditto for pdf type content. But best of all, hard metrics allow you to craft strict follow-up plans to maximize the Holy Grail of marketing….ROI.