William Lever, who started the notable soap company Lever Brothers, famously said, “I know half of my advertising isn’t working, I just don’t know which half.”
Thankfully, we no longer live in a time where we have to guess what’s working and what isn’t. In fact, in some ways, the bigger problem today is wading through a myriad of data to glean important insights. This job can be so tedious and difficult that many marketers (or business owners) consistently throw up their hands while trying to make sense of some of the analytics available.
Not true with email, however. Email boasts so many traits that marketers need and want that it should be the number one crush for all of them. But it’s not. And it may not be for you, either. But I’m willing to wager that it might be by the time you’re finished reading.
Imagine this: You have something to say, or sell. A message to deliver to someone you’re certain will benefit from hearing it. You sit down, blank page beckoning, and you write. You edit, you delete, you write some more. You sweat the details, cut half of it out and re-write it. Eventually you get to a place where your carefully crafted message sings: it gets quickly to the point while still retaining enough creative license to sell the sizzle…
Next step: Send it. Yes, send it.
With nearly every other item in the marketer’s toolkit, the next steps are time intensive and energy-sapping. They involve complicated production or lengthy printing or copious editing. They are almost never simply delivering. That’s the first reason email is so powerful: You can literally have an idea one minute, craft the message the next, and put it in the hands of your customers and prospects the next.
But there’s more. Much more.
So your message arrives and one of few things happen. It goes something like this: The person you want to talk to either opens it or they don’t. A really simple decision diagram: yes or no. If they don’t, you can examine your subject line with a critical eye, revise it, and try again.
If they do open it, they will either take the action you want (click a link, send a reply, call you back, etc.) or they won’t. Again, a simple decision tree. If they don’t, you can look at the content with a critical eye, discern what the missing ingredient is or how to improve the message, and try again.

This immediate feedback mechanism and flexible messaging are emails next great trait. At each step of the process, you learn something valuable about your effort, even if it’s knowing that your subject line wasn’t good enough to get me to open and read your mail. All of the additional information can be used to further refine your message.
If they do take the action you want, well done! From concept to conversion in a few minutes. William Lever and his brother would be proud.
Now, one of the things that’s a little lost in this marketing tale is how we know what happens with those messages we send. And that is email’s final big asset: tracking the things that matter. Who opens your message? Who doesn’t? Who clicks and who doesn’t? What did they click and why? Once they clicked, where did they go and how long did they stay?
Imagine having this kind of information about a newspaper ad or a TV spot or an outdoor board. This is very heady, very powerful stuff, and we haven’t even touched on any of the other things you can do with email. Things like A/B testing, list segmentation, triggered sends, or any of the other readily available aspects of email that can really knock your socks off.
Those poor ol’ Lever Brothers built an empire out of soap while knowingly wasting half of their marketing budget. Imagine what they could have done with a tool like email.
Imagine what you could do…
Want to know more? We’d love to partner with you. Rare Bird is a leading marketing agency in Carmel, Indiana, but we work with brands across the United States. Let us know and we’ll be happy to give you a brief tour and some insights you can immediately put to work.