You've probably heard of HubSpot. They're one of the world's leading inbound marketing companies, working with clients around the globe to improve their customer and client connections. If you've ever sat in on a content marketing webinar from our Digital Dot Connector, Seth Resler, you know how powerful email can be in shaping a strong outreach strategy. In fact, email has powered more than 30 of our Techsurveys for commercial, public, and Christian music radio.
Whether your goal is to encourage your audience to purchase tickets to your festival, become aware of your new Alexa skill, or get them excited about your new contest, utilizing your email database should be at the core of your tactical activities. And to radio's credit, many stations have built large email databases over the past decade or more.
But that's usually where the strategy stops and the tactics begin. For the most part, radio digital teams tend to “turn it up to 11” when it's time for a missive – your basic email blast that goes out to everyone.
HubSpot's Clifford Chi questioned that logic in a recent blog post aptly named “Why Email Blasts Should Be a Relic of the Past.”
Citing email overload and a striking similarity to direct mail, Chi says the lack of personalization in email blasts encourages even loyal consumers to hit the “delete” key. He notes that nearly 85% of the emails we receive are essentially useless, causing more and more consumers to designate your station's ISP as “spam.”
Chi makes the case for segmenting the email database, something most radio stations are sort of doing, but usually on a limited basis. Aside from zip codes, most radio brands don't even think about the strategic value of learning more about their database members in an effort to provide more granularity. And most know very little about who's in the database and what they represent.
That's a mistake that costs radio, both in audience engagement and target marketing.
On the on-air side, key information about station fans – do they love concerts, designate U2 as a favorite band, or hang out downtown? – cannot only lead to more effective programming, marketing, and contesting, but can also remind the audience your station “gets” them – who they are and what they value.
When you get your hands on those hot Ariana Grande, Wu-Tang Clan, Luke Bryan, or Black Keys tickets, alerting core fans of those artists via your email database makes great strategic sense. Why not activate your most motivated listeners to tune in to your station more often to play your contest? And in the process, you signal to them you are in tune with what they are into.
Then there's the sales side. Radio reps are so used to selling cost-per-point and mass reach numbers, they've lost sight of the fact that marketers are looking for results. If you're a real estate agency, having a dependable email list of locals looking to buy a house is very valuable. If you own a chain of jewelry stores, connecting with those in the market to buy baubles this year is highly attractive. Or if you run a pizza joint, knowing who in the station's audience covets that food group can prove to be a very profitable marketing tool.
The issue for radio sellers is these prospect numbers from email databases are very small, especially when held up against big boxcar cume data. But the fact they are laser-focused on key subgroups that are already vetted for interest in a product or service makes the strategy of keying into targeted email addresses more similar to buying Facebook ads or Google search words.
Unlike some marketing tools – like social media – that radio stations rely on, the email database is an asset they own and manage outright. Maintaining and mining strong email lists, and then strategically segmenting them is the gift that keeps on giving. And it's not that hard to accomplish.
We hear a lot about “big data,” and radio's focus on keeping up with digital media players. A station's email database ought to be the foundation of a targeted marketing program that can be beneficial to both the programming and sales department.
We all get too many emails, a common complaint expressed by most people. Ensuring the digital mail your listeners receive from your station is expected, interesting, and personalized provides value to your brand, your audience, and your advertisers.
In 2019, email shouldn't be a blast.