I attended the email experience council’s Email Evolution Conference in Miami earlier this week. Besides meeting many of my “virtual” contacts in person, doing some great networking, gathering content for our e-newsletters and acquiring leads for future cover stories, I learned the following three great things from the show:
1. Microsoft will launch its Outlook Social Connector this year. In his presentation, Jay Schwedelson from Worldata mentioned that this new addition to Microsoft Office 2010 will seamlessly bring communications history as well as business and social networking feeds into Outlook users’ inboxes.
LinkedIn will be the first networking site to support the Outlook Social Connector. As a result, LinkedIn/Microsoft Office users will be able to keep up with their LinkedIn connections right from their inboxes, email them directly from Outlook and keep building their LinkedIn networks directly from Outlook.
2. Make it easy for prospects to subscribe to your emails. Sure, you may be thinking, “duh, tell me something I don’t know,” but the message was delivered throughout the conference — especially since email acquisition is expected to increase as the recession wanes. Austin Bliss, president and co-founder of FreshAddress, for example, made the case that marketers should ask for consumers’ email addresses everywhere — on every page of their websites, during every phone call and on every paper form.
Lawrence DiCapua, director of interactive marketing/CRM for Pepsi North America, also discussed the importance of having email sign-up capabilities on your social networking pages, or links to your website’s sign-up pages there.
3. Don’t assume management buy-in. Sure, we all know how wonderful, inexpensive and results-driven email marketing is, but in many cases upper management just want the facts, ma’am. Jeanne Jones and Katrina Kithene, email marketing managers for Alaska Airlines, explained how they showed their executive staff the importance of their email marketing programs to the company’s bottom line. As a result, they were awarded with the resources they needed. They used four techniques to get their message across:
- defined the value of a marketable customer;
- presented regularly scheduled progress audits;
- focused on ROI; and
- presented detailed plans for higher conversion.
All in all, it was a great show!