Talking E-mail with Bill Nussey

Jun 02, 2005 1:37 AM  By

Bill Nussey is president/CEO of Atlanta-based Silverpop, a provider of e-mail marketing services. We caught up with him last week at the Annual Catalog Conference in Orlando, FL. Here are selected words of wisdom from our conversation.

• On why more marketers don’t use e-mail as a marketing tool: According to Nussey, 32% of the Annual Catalog Conference attendees—who are primarily print and online direct marketers—do not have an e-mail program in place. “The art of direct marketing has not yet really been applied to e-mail,” Nussey said. “Catalogers and other direct marketers made an art form of creating one product that fits everyone,” which is the antithesis of the one-to-one potential of e-mail marketing—and which is also the antithesis of the holy grail of one-to-one marketing that direct marketers have long sought.

Another reason that catalogers and other more traditional marketers aren’t embracing e-mail marketing, Nussey said, is that “never industries are out to adopt anything new. The catalogers aren’t in pain for not using e-mail.”

• On the uses of e-mail: “E-mail is two different beasts: an acquisition tool and a loyalty tool. If you think of it as just an acquisition tool, you’re a dinosaur.”

• On the best way to improve deliverability: A confirmation message is “the single most powerful tool.” When you send even a routine e-mail—say, to let an online buyer know that you received his order—be sure to include a mechanism for a confirmation response. When the recipient sends the response message confirming that he received your message, he is also confirming his e-mail address.

• On how to get the top executives to buy in to an e-mail program: “Show them how to create e-mail programs that are anticipated, and show them the ROI.”

Creating e-mails that are anticipated is a matter of creating e-mail brand value, said Nussey. The three components are the value of the content (for instance, offering recipients sneak previews of merchandise or advance notice of sales), leveraging the existing brand, and a high-quality list. To see ROI from an e-mail plan, Nussey added, you need to have at least 15%-30% of your customer file on your e-mail list.