Sunday, September 11, 2005
Less is More

Bill Nussey is a man who knows all there is to know about email marketing. As CEO of iXL Inc., a publicly traded e-business consulting firm he grew revenues from $10 million to $120 million per quarter. In his book, "The Quiet Revolution in E-mail Marketing" Bill talks about why with email marketing more is less and less is more. Standard tenants of direct response mandate that the bigger the audience and the higher the frequency, the greater the response. This would seem to make sense. If you e-mail millions of messages, someone is bound to respond. But as Bill proves in his book, sending email too often and to too many people leads to the phenomenon of the incredible shrinking list. Unless your customers are so highly engaged that they want to hear from you as often as possible, the more e-mails you send, the more they will opt-out, stop reading messages, or finally hit the "spam" button. Just because a campaign produces a certain amount of money in one month does not mean it will produce four times as much if you send it four times in a month.

So what's the solution? Nussey talks about what he calls, EBV. If you get a message from your mother, he suggests, can you find that message amid the clutter of your inbox? Most people immediately say "yes." This is because the people whom you know and trust have a high E-mail Brand Value, or EBV. You are able to find your mom's message because her name has value to you. The formula for EBV is:

EBV = existing brand (+/-) relevancy + content value - frequency

EBV can help you understand how your customers perceive your company in the online world, and how that online perception affects your overall brand.

Thanks for the Quiet Revolution Bill, your concepts tie beautifully with the rules of attraction. Chasing customers just doesn't work anymore. Today we must find more ways of getting them to come to us. So if you are considering an email campaign, think again. Perhaps less could be more in your next initiative.


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