First of all let me say that as a consumer of vast amounts of email this is a great development from the recipients side of the equation – and it will become the norm. Hotmail is following a similar path and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it turn up in desktop apps such as Outlook pre-configured and ready to go.
So here’s the challenge – what will happen to your email newsletter/marketing campaign? Will it be make it to the priority box or be pushed down the list? Your recipients might be very happy reading your newsletters -and may even enjoy some of it – but is that enough to get them to override any default filters and put it into their priority box?
I think this is a good development for genuine email marketeers – if you are segmenting your lists and sending emails with information that truly interests the recipient, then this can be nothing but beneficial as your emails won’t just be lost among the multitude. Email will become less intrusive and be more likely to lead to improved conversions.
So now you have to start putting a bit more effort into your newsletters, no more spray and pray – it is time to apply all those lessons learned with traditional direct marketing to be applied in the email arena.
1. Be more personal. Personalise your emails with the recipient’s name; make sure that what you send is relevent to them; show them that you know them.
2. Make them more interactive. Do you use a no reply address to send them out? If so I think you need to think again. Just like all other social media, the email has to become more interactive (just look at Google Priority rules), so you need to get recipients to reply to them. A lot of email recipients may not be au fait with Facebook and Twitter, so use this as an opportunity give them a method they understand and like using to start a real dialogue.
3. Test and Analyse. Use each emailing as a test bed to improve what you do and get more conversions. Don’t just look at opens and click throughs but take it that one step further. I’m afraid it’s time to dig out those old statistics text books.
Maybe the Priority In Box is the kick up the butt that email marketing has been waiting for.