What will the imminent gmail launch spell for e-mail marketers?
E-mail marketers will have to research their audiences further in order to be effective. E-mail marketers will also have to adhere to some guidelines in order to be seen/heard by users of GMail. Guidelines like document semantics and text-equivalent representations of images, but I never talk about those…
Images in e-mail advertisements are going to be much less effective. By default, GMail does not display images from external servers. Take a look at the link and tell me alt tags aren’t important. Sigh. Moving on…
E-mail Marketers rely on HTML code to spice up their advertisements – and to track their e-mails. The problem here is going to be semantics. If your e-mail is easily machine readable it has a better chance of being found by an e-mail search than an e-mail that is not ‘well-formed’. This goes back to something I preach a lot – heading tags.
, etc. are going to tell the Google machines that something is important.
Back to audience analysis: What type of product do you have? How does your potential customer use e-mail? Specifically, how does your potential customer use e-mail relating to your product’s keywords?
Here’s a scenario to illustrate the importance of these questions:
Let’s say Sheila works for Twin Hills, LLC and she’s in charge of a marketing campaign. Based on a server log analysis coupled with customer feedback, Sheila is privy to an e-mail newsletter called “Car Collectibles Weekly” that has my audience’s attention. The newsletter evaluates new collectibles, discusses preservation of collectibles, etc.; according to the Car Collectibles Weekly website they have surmised 1,500 subscribers. She inquires with the newsletter about potential advertisement, and also offers to write a feature article “straight from the horses mouth” in order to give Twin Hills some more exposure.
She also invests in some Gmail AdWords – users reading this newsletter are probably interested in expanding their collection, but more importantly e-mail newsletters typically aren’t mission critical to the user. Reading an e-mail newsletter is a leisure activity. Reading an e-mail from your boss, father, etc., is usually important.
The difference between mission critical email and non-critical email is very important. Which type of e-mail is more probable to have the recipient look around the screen? With critical emails, often you just want your information and that’s it. Non-critical e-mails do not have user’s eyes glued to the portion of the screen where the message is – instead the eye is probably going to wander to the advertisements displayed on GMail.
While audience analysis is a critical aspect of any marketing, the influx of users GMail will get simply based on word of mouth will make their Ad Words that much more lucrative. The difference maker could very well be semantics. The GMail login screen encourages users to search instead of sort. Google’s powerful search technology will find the e-mail for the user. But, since Google’s search algorithms blatantly like semantics getting your email found (with a high ranking) will be just as dependent on semantics.