Tips to Maximize Email Marketing

Everyone is emailing

Electronic Mail (email) has, over the years, emerged as one of the most talked about frontiers for marketing enthusiasts across the globe.

  • Let’s face it; almost everyone now has an email address. From the dusty bowls of Kenya to the sprawling concrete citadels in the West, the explosion in internet connectivity has made it extremely easy for people to communicate.
  • Although the emergence of social media networks has diminished its comparative effectiveness, email still represents a potential goldmine for marketing strategists.

Tips on Effective Email Marketing

Successfully converting an email marketing campaign into leads and sales is not, however, a simple matter of flooding the internet with one’s emails. Far from it. The effective email marketing strategist follows a few simple steps;

  1. Don’t be a spammer.

If you have owned an email address for any given amount of time, you have probably received in your inbox an email from your dead Uncle’s lawyer, claiming that you are the sole beneficiary of a million dollar estate.

  • Any firm that hopes to run a successful email marketing strategy should not behave like one of these Nigerian scam artists.
  • While, admittedly, sending out a flood of unsolicited emails is bound to get you a click-through or two, it is more likely that this approach will not yield the desired results.
  • The best approach, involves the use of permission based emails. Rather than blindly sending out campaign material, it is much more effective to get people to voluntarily give you their contact details by getting them to register through your website.
  • The leads that you generate in this way are more likely to be converted into sales.

 

  1. Follow a potential client’s interests- List Segmentation

Email marketing is all about your ability to divide your mailing list into various segments, towards which you can better direct your campaign.  This is what is called List Segmentation.

  • From online retailers such as eBay and Amazon, to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, big companies have mastered the art of giving people what they want based on their previous searches.

Tips to Maximize Email Marketing

  • Based on the recent search history, eBay recently sends the offers like above.
  • An effective email marketing strategy does not just flood people’s inboxes with spam.
  • To be successful, you actually need to send emails that are tailor made for particular people’s particular needs, based on their previous interaction with you (through your website or by any other means.)
  • A recently updated study by MailChimp highlighted the fact that segmenting an email marketing list is an effective way of yielding better open and click-through rates.

 

  1. Run a flexible email marketing campaign

An effective email marketing campaign should be organised in such a way that it is possible for people to change the frequency of reception of, say, your newsletter from, as an example, once a week to once a month.

  • Giving them this option reduces the chance that they will unsubscribe from your list.

 

  1. Personalize your message

Another strategy that can be used in order to run an effective email marketing campaign involves not only having a properly structured message, but also going a step further by personalizing the emails.

  • People are much more likely to respond to messages that are directed to them as individuals, and most email marketing companies include this service.

 

  1. Measure your success and make changes where necessary- Email Analytics

An effective email marketing strategy involves more than just reaching out to the right segment of the market with the right content.

  • As a marketer, you also need to be able to take a step back in order to analyze the effectiveness of your campaign.
  • You need to know, as an example, the number of people who are actually opening your emails.
  • It is also important for you to track how many of these are being converted into leads and sales.
  • This is where Analytics tools such as Google Analytics come in handy.

Email marketing is, at the end of the day, all about generating more leads and more business for your firm, and there are various other methods out there that can be used to make this possible.

 

 

 

Subject Line Research – a 70 Character Opportunity

For a couple of years I have been the author of the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Marketing Benchmarking Report.  Its aims are fairly modest – to share average campaign metrics from about 26 of the email service providers working on UK campaigns and provide some insight into trends and issues.  If truth be told, I have a bit of a problem with averages, and here is why…

 – The report covers BtoB and BtoC
– It includes service and product marketing
– It includes all industry sectors
– It includes best, recent customers and worst, lapsed customer

Maybe the slide below explains it better…

Subject Line Research - a 70 Character Opportunity

In short, averages conceal the really interesting behaviour of segments that we as digital direct marketers shold be investigating.  We walk away content that our “average click through rate” is not so bad after all.  But what if your email file contains less than the “average” number of active customers who tend to respond better than prospects?  You have no idea if you are doing better or worse than average, and that’s not very good.

So this brings me onto research that Alchemy Worx has been promoting recently about the relationship of email subject lines and success:

“In summary our findings show that shorter subject lines optimise open rates, while longer subject lines optimise both click and click-to open rates. We were also surprised to identify a “dead” zone! Subject lines of between 60 and 70 characters (6-10 words), optimise neither the open rate or click to open rates.”

This kind of research, in my humble opinion, gives marketers false hope.  It oversimplifies the complex chemistry that determines email marketing success and suggests that a specific length of subject line will deliver results.  Alchemy Worx then proceed to reel off a lorry-load of qualifiers about the proposition itself as to make their sweeping generalisations redundant.

So, the report just looks at 1 of many factors in un-weighted samples and comes up with some “rule of thumb”.  This is not necessarily good direct marketing because:
– It deals in big, bad, lumpy averages that hide the best/worst performing segments
– It treats active, loyal customers and old prospects as equal in proposition responsiveness
– It did not test long versus short, so we have no control to gauge their impact
– It does not mention different From Fields, or how well the “preview pane” area was exploited – critical “open rate”   influencers.

Out of respect to direct marketers everywhere we should qualify and re-phrase how to use this report

“In summary our findings show that some campaigns with shorter subject lines got high open rates, while longer subject lines got a high click and click-to open rates.  Because we never ISOLATED subject lines as a variable and TESTED long versus short we cannot say with any confidence that the extra opens and clicks were down purely to the subject line length.”

So here’s my advice based on 10 years of email marketing:
– Go and do your own tests – your products, brand, customers are unique and special
– Segment your file to identify the extremes, not the averages
– Test short and long subject lines, but use proper “control” groups
– Test different From fields – they have a huge impact on open and click through
– Don’t be too prescriptive – use the right words to persuade regardless of length.
– Be relevant and engaging – show people you know and value them

And finally, now I’ve got my angry hat on, here are 5 subject lines that are in the Alchemey Worx “dead zone” (60-70 characters and 6-10 words) that I would definitely have opened and clicked…more to do with my interests in life than the word count?

– Sleep better – stop your springer spaniel barking at night
– Crystal Palace win race to sign Ronaldo, Lampard and Crouch
– Welsh Rugby Union offers free tickets to email marketers
– 20 fun family activities when its pouring with rain in West Wales
– Why averages are a bad bad thing in digital marketing