I was facing a rainy Thursday afternoon and the candle of TGIF was flickering, if not outright snuffed, when I noticed a new message in my inbox from a name I didn’t recognize. Ah, sweet relief, “what could this be about” I thought as I clicked on the message. It was all downhill from there…

“Dear NO INTEREST GREGG,” the email shouted, “We are an Online marketing firm, specialized in Customer database with e-mails, business and consumer lists, e-mail marketing and data appending solutions…”

Really? So, from what I can gather, not only did I get a badly written and poorly targeted email. Not only was I getting an unsolicited spam email. But, I was also clearly segmented as “No interest” as well. Ouch. Not a very successful email campaign. However, all that got me thinking about CRM and using emails to actually nurture a lead, turn a lead, or heck, even staying in front of paying customers. While I have had some duds as campaigns, and even made some mistakes, this campaign is fundamentally flawed. Why? Horrible strategy used in their list segmentation planning.
I won’t touch the argument concerning unsolicited vs. solicited emails, and I won’t hash out technical flaws with the mail I received, but I did think there were three takeaways to apply to all segment marketing:

Takeaway #1 Manage your time. Contacting engaged leads or customers makes more sense if you are trying to drive your bottom line. They will convert quicker. Given limited time, budget, and usually resources, you should be driving revenue first.

Takeaway #2 Be compelling. If you are already working the discard pile or scrap-heap list, then you better be compelling. Those people are in that category for a reason, and a broad-messaged generic email will not drive the needle. You need to be compelling, you need to be unique, and you need to offer value or no interest will quickly be “Report Spam.”

Takeaway #3 Do it well or don’t waste the money. If you can’t get the data feeds populated correctly, pull them correctly, be case sensitive and get stellar copy out, why are you doing it? Rather than spray and pray to a bad list, start working on content on your site to build a real list and get you actual prospects, not just names in a database.

While it is pretty common to see people spend hours and hours of time in the minutiae of identifying and planning their segments, a couple minutes at the top-level looking at the strategy driving the segmentation in the first place makes a lot of sense. Yet, that top-level strategy is often skipped because it takes time. Spend the time at the start of the project, not trying to explain why Dear No Interest emails didn’t work.

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