Dear all you great companies making awesome products,
For most of you, I like to be informed of new products, and some I already bought your product and really don’t NEED to know about promos for gadgets & software I already have. So, If I were running the communications for the company, I would do what I have done on my blog, but better. Read on for my idea of how to make the most of your communications.
I would setup a push notification via subnet or page for each area that might interest end users, and consultants (like me) that recommend hardware & software to companies. I think 3 natural feeds (via RSS or push) would be promotions (discounts, specials, etc), technical (updates being released, betas, bug notices, etc), and marketing (new products, new versions, paid upgrades, etc.). That way people could filter their feeds and only receive info that is pertinent to their needs without cluttering up their email box.
Internally, you could even have this replace departmental email if your company is big enough. The reason for this is simple: data-overload. Our email boxes are bursting as it is. Sure for home users with no business uses, email newsletters are fine, but for pros we have marketing material, updates, business, feedback, client reports, etc. In an every flowing river, and your email, while welcome just adds noise when I am trying to sort an get through emails in the morning or in the evening. So, despite wanting to hear about your new multi-connection bluetooth keyboard, or your beta program, often for the sake of efficiency, I unsubscribe.
If you already have set up some sort of in app notification, great, just don’t encourage people to sign up for your email newsletter instead of using your in app push service — I am a lot more receptive to info about your app when I am using your app. Just make sure it’s not a modal dialog that gets in my way. IMO a simple badge would do nicely, like AgileBits has done in 1Password.
I know many companies rely on third party email services to push their marketing material out for them, but is it really the best channel? If your email mentioned a new release is near a request for info, most people are going to answer the thing written directly to them over a mass email, and if they are luck, go back to your newsletter when they have time and read it. However, when people are browsing, pushing links to newsletters via RSS or push notification will have a high click rate because they are already in the browser, and more people use browsers when they aren’t working in my experience. FYI: AppleInsider does this with great results. I can say this about email because I used to admin a medium sized cluster of Exchange servers. I noticed a majority of mail that was marked read (and responded to) were overwhelmingly things that were not broadcast emails. (No, I didn’t snoop — and good admin has better things to do. I just made sure to monitor usage and check the logs for abuse.)
I thought of this because marketing emails I saw this week. Having a communications degree makes it blindingly obvious where the gaps and inefficiencies are. Being a consultant that tries to help instead of lining my pockets, I try to find way to streamline things and make use of resources — whether it be money or time — more efficiently. My ultimate goal is not about leveraging this or that tech, but about the true end game: making people aware of what you have, what you know and what they can do. I always keep this in mind: “Computers and all technology associated with it are the means, not the end — even if you sell the technology. At the end of the day you want people to be able to accomplish what they set out to do as easily as possible.”
Thanks for reading & I hope this helps someone out there. If so, let me know in the comments.