Less is More

Posted by Matt Blumberg 

I have a challenge for the email marketing community in 2009. Let’s make this the Year of “Less is More.”

Marketers are turning to email more and more in this down economy. There’s no question about that. My great fear is that just means they’re sending more and more and more emails out without being smart about their programs. That will have positive short term effects and drive revenues, but long term it will have a negative long term impact on inboxes everywhere. And these same marketers will find their short term positive results turning into poor deliverability faster than you can say “complaint rate spike.”

I heard a wonderful case study this week from Chip House at ExactTarget at the EEC Conference. One of his clients, a non-profit, took the bold and yet painful step of permissioning an opt-out list. Yikes. That word sends shivers down the spine of marketers everywhere. What are you saying? You want me to reduce the size of my prime asset?

The results of a campaign done before and after the permission pass are very telling and should be a lesson to all of us. The list shrank from 34,000 to 4,500. Bounce rate decreased from 9% to under 1%. Spam complaints went from 27 to 0 (ZERO). Open rate spiked from 25% to 53%. Click-through from 7% to 22%. And clicks? 509 before the permissioning, 510 after. This client generated the same results, with better metrics along the way, by sending out 87% LESS EMAIL. Why? Because they only sent it to people who cared to receive it.

This is a great time for email. But marketers will kill the channel by just dumping more and more and more volume into it. Let’s all make Less Is More our mantra for the year together.

Is everyone in? Repeat after me…Less Is More! Less Is More!

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About Matt Blumberg

Matt Blumberg founded Return Path in 1999 because he believed the world needed email to work better. Matt is passionate about enhancing the online relationship between email subscribers and marketers so that both sides of the equation benefit. It is with great pride that he has watched this initial creation grow to a company of more than 400 employees with the market leading brand, innovative products, and the email industry’s most renowned experts. Before Return Path, Matt ran marketing, product management, and the internet group for MovieFone, Inc. (later acquired by AOL). Prior to that he served as an associate with private equity firm General Atlantic Partners and was a consultant with Mercer Management Consulting. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University. You can learn much more about Matt by reading his email marketing and entrepreneurship blog Only Once – one of the first CEO blogs on the Internet. Last year he wrote a book, Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business.

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