Email Marketing Isn't Always Easy, But It's Worth It

Whenever we marketing folks toss around best practice ideas, we aren’t always thinking about what it takes to actually make that best practice turn into reality. Over the past several weeks, we've come up with an example of an internal project where the effort turned out to much more than expected: email marketing.

Email marketing is easy, right? Just find the addresses and start blasting out your messages. But… that sort of one-size-fits-all approach is rapidly losing effectiveness in an era where the information about your customers and potential customers is so readily available. We, as readers, want personalized messages.

Pulling in the Data

We embarked on a quest to get all of our client base into an email marketing system, and the first step was rather simple. We pulled names and email addresses, and we were off to a good start. Of course, I later decided that we’d like to know more than just names — I knew we could pull in more important details, like the products our clients used, their office location, the services they offered their customers, etc.

The only problem with trying for more data was that the information didn’t exist… at least, not in our databases. No, this required good ole fashioned data entry. And LOTS of it.

Could we have found a way to programmatically pull and merge all the information we needed? Maybe.

I know we could have gathered some of the info in that manner, but the issue was more due to the fact that we had data spread out over several locations. Plus, the data in each spot was not complete, and the data was definitely outdated in some of the sources. The combination of information required someone to look at the issues.

Was It Worth It?


Even with the work we've completed so far, we’ve already been able to send out some very targeted messaging to our clients. And, we’ve had a greater response rate than our previous campaigns.

The simple truth is, as much hype as content marketing rightfully receives, it's simply another tool in the marketing toolbox. It's not the solution for every challenge. The same goes for paid search ads, social media, and every other type of marketing. Each tactic is great at addressing specific kinds of problems.

For far too long, we'd let our contact lists grow stale and had not taken the time to engage in meaningful ways in a more personalized manner. I'm thrilled to say that we're turning the corner in that regard.

I'm still not sure which email marketing platform we'll stick with. Each has its advantages and disadvantages (more on that another time), but the system we're using is helping us engage. That's what actually matters most.

How about you?

Have you found a marketing best practice to be a great idea at first -- only to find it was far more work than you imagined? Did you stick with it?

BusinessMichael Roberts