Establishing a recognizable identity with your customers

16 Apr 2007

Ryan Allis

Ryan Allis is the CEO and co-founder of iContact, a leading on-demand email marketing service. As CEO, he's managed iContact from its start in July 2003 to its current size with more than 90 employees and 25,000 customers worldwide. In 2005, Ryan was named by BusinessWeek as one of the "Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25." Ryan is also the author book Zero to One Million: How I Built a Company To $1 Million in Sales and How You Can Too, published by McGraw-Hill. As an email marketing expert, Ryan will provide guidance in his blog posts on how to enhance and improve your online marketing campaigns.

For most people, the majority of emails we receive are junk. As a result, we’ve developed an unconscious little ritual when we open our in-boxes. It seems at first glance that we would look to the subject line of a message to decide whether or not to open it. However, recent studies have shown that most readers check the ‘From’ name to see if they know the sender. At first, I was surprised; then I remembered another important rule for email marketing: the rule of identity.

When you send an email, you have to remember that the identity of the sender is just as important as the message content. Of course, part of establishing an identity requires providing premium content that gives value to your customers. But it’s just as important to use a recognizable ‘From’ name and address. This could be the name of your organization, or the name of a highly visible person within your organization. Most importantly, I have found that you must be consistent. Think of it like establishing an electronic friendship: over time, our customers will get to know our companies. Only after they get to know who we are will they check our subject lines for the message’s content.

Of course, this means that your subject lines should also serve to establish your identity. Next time, I’ll explain how to use your subject lines to continue developing familiarity.

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