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January 1, 2011
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Here is wishing you the very best for 2011 and here are some MUST DO’s for your digital programs…

1) You MUST grow your list

Look back at your list over the past five years (or longer) and see how many new names you have added. Look at your direct mail file. I have checked with financial institutions, catalogs, retailers, travel, entertainment or other companies to find a common thread – the average percentage of names for which people have email ids is less than 20%. Meaning you have another 80-something percent to tap into. More importantly you have to look for constructive ways to grow your list – email, mobile, & social. This means every name counts, so reduce churn and get creative. Your entire team needs to work on helping you grow the list.

2) You MUST know more

 About your customers and prospects, that is. Just having an email association is not enough. You need to survey your list at different stages – during the sign-up process, various transaction points as well as stages of inactivity. You need to keep this information in a preference table and also build up operational preferences. Operational preferences are tracking information about a particular recipient – whether they open your emails, they click, or they simply haven’t cared. Your approach to asking questions needs to be direct and beneficial; put on your own user hat and see what is really helpful.

3) You MUST interact (across all channels)

No more left hand right hand dislocation – your recipient is on the receiving end of a number of different communiqués. They expect you to make sure they are served appropriately. There is no channel conflict in their mind and you better treat them that way. Some of my friends have started splitting parts of a story across their paper communiqués and online messages… their recipients are beginning to realize that it is the same company that is communicating seamlessly across multiple channels.

4) You MUST sizzle

The three Cs – Creative, copy and overall content; focus on what is inside your newsletter or email offer. Recipients are expecting you to grab their attention, keep them tuned-in and steer them towards the offer. You can leverage the same information you put together across other Web 2.0 channels. Think about every digital message as a piece of art – take time to put it together, and you will see your efforts pay off.

5) You MUST make it to the party

As recipients, we often take deliverability for granted; we expect you to show up in our inbox. As email marketers, deliverability should be monitored and perfected daily. Your other customer touchpoints should be trained on what bounces and deliverability means so they can carry out intelligent conversations with intended recipients. You are legitimate, your offer is legitimate, and you have taken time to put together the offer – make sure you make it to the inbox.

6) You MUST join them on Facebook

Your consumer expects you to engage them on social media channels. They (the consumer) are already there. You have to join conversations and give them good reasons to be part of their inner circle.

7) You MUST be Real

Your brand needs to be transparent and focus on customer service. Brand reputation can be quickly tarnished if the customer is not taken care off. Word of mouth in the social sphere travels quickly.