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Three types of emails

by Randall Craig on January 30, 2015

Filed in: Blog, Content, CRM, Make It Happen Tipsheet

Tagged as: , ,

Look into your inbox, and you’ll see emails that others have sent to you.  Look more closely though, and you’ll see three types.  From a marketer’s perspective, each has its own place, and each has its own purpose. Used incorrectly, they often will have the opposite impact: annoyance, disengagement, unsubscribes, and complaints.

Three types of emails:

1) Direct emails:  These are the personal emails that are sent from one person to another, with content that is designed to do a specific thing: thank for a meeting, book lunch, introduce the organization, or convey an attachment.  They are customized, specific to the sender and recipient, and sent directly from a person’s email program.  Pros:  Personal and relevant. Cons:  Very time-consuming – doesn’t scale.

2) Broadcast emails:  These are the “eblasts”: the newsletters, alerts, advertisements, and other flotsam and jetsam that are blasted to a list; think Constant Contact, aWeber, MailChimp, and others.  Broadcasts can also be sent mechanically to a distribution list from within Outlook or Gmail.  The key driver behind this type of email is the one-to-many nature of it.  The Make It Happen Tipsheet, which I have been distributing via email for the last decade, is an example of this.  Today, the effectiveness of Broadcast emails is constrained by spam filters (that incorrectly categorize many broadcasts as spam) and legislation – CASL as an example – that requires onerous tracking and permissions to be able to send an email.  It is possible to customize Broadcasts, but it is usually limited to inserting a first name into the body of the email.  Pros:  Fast and (mostly) pain free.  Cons:  Bulk mail content is not customized, and may be irrelevant.  No one wants to be on a “list”.

3) Sequence emails:  Sometimes called nurture emails or drip marketing emails, these are a series of emails that are sent to a specific person after a specific stimulus.  For example, if your organization does a repeated event – say a seminar for prospective clients – then the attendees likely have an interest already.  Yet only a certain percentage – perhaps 5% – will likely commit to the next steps immediately; the remainder are in the negative.  Unpacking this, what are the reasons for those who are not interested?  It is very likely that this other 95% – are not not interested, but are not interested right now.  If they received something of value from your organization from time to time (perhaps every 2-3 months), this would serve the dual purpose of filling in data points/reducing risk, but also reminding them that you provide the service.  The last thing that you want is for them to have the desire to purchase perhaps 6-9-12+ months later – and for them to choose someone else only because they forgot about you.

A nurture email series is written as a Direct email – eg one-to-one – but it is only sent out after the stimulus event.  Unlike Direct emails, however, the sending of a nurture email can be automated.  Pros:  Maintains a connection, and when well-written, highly relevant.  Cons:  Tougher to write, as they must be written to be relevant to all potential recipients.  Investment in technology.

This week’s action plan:  Three key questions if you are considering Sequence emails: What is the stimulus, what is the goal of the nurture email sequence, and what is the “off-ramp” call-to-action for people to self-identify as ready to transact.  You’re likely already doing Direct and Broadcast emails.  This week, consider how you might integrate Sequence emails into the mix.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


CASL: Six Name Recapture Strategies

by Randall Craig on July 4, 2014

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Marketing

Tagged as: ,

The new Canadian Anti-Spam law (CASL) has recently gone into effect.  Canadians are (supposedly) no longer receiving non-consensual emails.  Yet spam continues to pour in from overseas – as do “legitimate” marketing emails from organizations outside of the country.  The only losers are the businesses that actually comply.  If your list has shrunken to a fraction of its former size, what can you do about it?

Of course ignoring CASL is still an option, but given the penalties, few might be willing to take that risk.  Waiting is also an option: perhaps the initial court cases will open additional exceptions.  Unfortunately, following a no-email strategy leads to a no-sales strategy, which quickly leads to a no-solvency strategy. 

The key to recapturing names is to recognize that there are four different groups of people on your list: 

  • Those who have given consent.  No action is necessary: they are already on board.
  • Those who ignored your request for express consent.  This group may have ignored your request for many reasons: they were flooded with requests, or their spam filter deleted your request, or they simply missed your email. Or, they may actually not want to receive your emails, and ignoring your request seemed easier than clicking on the “withdraw” link.
  • Those who have chosen to withdraw their consent.  They may have decided to withdraw consent only because they were inundated with consent requests, and may not have realized the impact of their withdrawal.  Or, they really don’t want to hear from you.  Recapturing someone who has explicitly said “no” is a 50-50, as it is impossible to know which  group they fall into. 
  • Those for whom CASL doesn’t apply.  If a particular person is not in Canada, then you may not require express consent.  (You may, however, need to follow their country’s anti-spam laws when sending to them.)

Here are six name recapture strategies:

1) Pick up the phone and call them, and get their consent verbally.  This is most effective for your “A” list of prospects.  If you do this, follow-up with a double-opt-in email for documentation.

2) Send them something – or many somethings – in the mail.  The cost of a few stamps is nothing compared to their revenue potential.

3) Meet them in person.  For the highest value prospects, an in-person meeting is the best way to strengthen your relationship – and get their consent.

4) Fish where the fish are.  This may mean seeing them at trade shows, industry events, professional association dinners, etc.  Get their express consent in writing, either on their business cards, or if it is your own event, on a sign-up form.

5) Look for opportunities to send them “exempt” communications.  If they make a purchase you are able to send them their invoice – this communication is exempt from CASL.  Within this transactional email, provide an additional incentive (a white paper or ebook) for them to provide their express consent.

6) Rely on implied consent.  For those who have not withdrawn their consent, AND who are clients or former clients, take advantage of the three year transitional period to continue to send them emails.  This ends on July 1st, 2017.

This week’s action item:  The effectiveness of these strategies degrades with each week that your contacts don’t hear from you.  This week, put together your own recapture strategy, and begin executing it.

Bonus marketing insight:  It is critically important to think of your list not as a dumping ground , but as a collection of individual people who have a specific relationship with you.  To recapture individuals means thinking of them as such – and making sure that your technology allows you to do this.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Action Bulletin: Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL)

by Randall Craig May 14, 2014

There is no doubt that SPAM – unwanted commercial electronic messages – is a major problem.  It consumes internet bandwidth, clogs our inboxes, and saps productivity.  The solution – spam filters – often makes the problem worse by wrongly filtering legitimate communications into the junk mail folder. Another solution, legislation, has existed on the books […]

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Viewpoint: Email, R.I.P.

by Randall Craig July 12, 2012

Picture this scene from a few decades ago: you’re working in your office, and your assistant bursts in, with an important announcement:  You’ve received… a FAX!  The correspondence was critically important – and you were too. Then a few years later, the FAX was replaced by AOL’s chirpy voice, announcing to all, “You’ve got mail!” […]

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What Social Media Tier are you on?

by Randall Craig November 11, 2011

Every organization – and every individual – can find themselves somewhere on the three-tier Social Media Engagement Index.  Where are you? Level I, Passive:  At best, passive users have a profile on a few sites, but do very little within Social Media except for responding to the occasional connection request.  Benefit: passive users will be […]

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