Companies Need To Learn To Respect The Inbox

Neil Capel

Photo: Mashable/YouTube

Companies have gotten a lot better at how they send emails. They still have a way to go.In a panel on day one of BI’s IGNITION 2012 conference focusing on how data is transforming the world, Neil Capel the founder and CEO of data and communication startup Sailthru, talked about how his company helps businesses make every email unique to individual users.

One of the biggest issues is that companies focus too much on building their audiences, and forget that they need to keep them and get them to buy things. “Flash sales companies — they’re very much focused on user growth but a lot of them have small amounts of purchases from a single user,” Capel said. “It comes down to how you engage users to get the maximum customer lifetime value. That’s about being respectful to users.”

When it comes to emails, respect means actually being responsive and not flooding people’s inboxes with stuff they aren’t interested in. “We notice that you’re not interested in a particular type of email, so we’re going to stop sending it,” Capel said. “It’s realising that you’re getting too many emails in one day.” 

It’s not a complicated thing to do once you have the data, “If you scale back just as the user starts to disengage, you get a great response,” Capel said. 

Changing content and frequency in response to user data helps companies both engage better and keep from alienating customers. 

If companies don’t do it, it costs them. When somebody unsubscribes or disengages completely, it’s very hard to get them back. Either what you were offering was poor or you angered the user in some way. That creates a barrier that’s hard to overcome. 

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