There are many reasons to use email in your marketing mix and many marketers do. A recent edition of “DoubleClick’s Consumer Email Study”:http://www3.doubleclick.com/market/2004/10/dc/email.htm?c=0410_smr&id_lead=newsletter&id_source=newsletter_0410 confirms that email marketing done well is effective and desired by consumers. A full 2 out of every 5 people surveyed said they wanted email to replace direct mail. Over half of these people would prefer email to replace telemarketing. In addition, just under half would like email to replace person-to-person sales calls.
The main reason for these feelings is likely the fact that email puts the power into the hands – or inboxes – of the individual. They can chose to read and respond if, and when, they prefer. They can also easily save information that is relevant and interesting, while being able to quickly filter out what they feel is a waste of their time.
With this power in the hands of your customers and prospects, how do you ensure your marketing email is received, read and responded to?
Read on for some valuable tips.
First, if your email message never reaches the recipient it doesn’t matter what else you do. They will not open and read your message. “ReturnPath”:http://www.returnpath.biz has published research that indicates almost 1 out of every 5 marketing emails never reach their intended recipient! Deliverability is about getting the message from you to the intended recipients without getting caught as spam or bulk email. There are many parts to deliverability but here are the main points to consider, and ask about:
* Use a reputable email vendor or partner to send your marketing email
* Stay on white lists (good) while keeping off black lists (bad). Companies covered in the first suggestion will know about this. If they cannot explain it to you and prove it, consider looking elsewhere.
* Get a deliverability audit by a third-party resource to see how many messages really get through.
* Stay on top of creative and content best practices include ways to get people to add you to their address books or buddy lists, which words and phrases to avoid, what to include in headers, etc.
* Stay on top of technology best practices in areas like authentication, Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Sender ID, Domain Keys, relaying, reverse DNS look-up, etc.
Once your marketing email is safely in the inbox of the right recipients you need to focus on what it is that will get them to open each message.
h2. From Line
According to DoubleClick, and other research, the majority of email recipients indicate the From line is the most important part of the email when it comes to getting it opened. Some good tips for your From line include using your brand in it and being consistent with how you use this valuable email “real estate”. Most people quickly view their inbox and filter what they see so you have to catch their attention right away.
h2. Subject Line
Almost equally important as the From line is the Subject line. Again, when recipients quickly scan their inbox they are likely to see only the From and Subject lines. With the Subject line it is a good idea to repeat the company or product name, or name of the email newsletter if it applies. Moreover, you must quickly convey the reason why someone should open your email, and do it in no more than 30-40 characters. If your email is an offer, make that point in the Subject line. In the end, make sure you address the WIIFM – What’s In It For Me!
To ensure people read, and keep reading your marketing emails you have to make sure that you deliver relevant content and offers every time. So, how do you ensure you get the right information to the right people? Ask them!
* Registration forms – Ask people the key things they want out of a relationship with you.
* Subscription Choices – Offer different emails on different topics o products and allow recipients to subscribe to those they want.
* Customer database – Make sure you know who is a customer and who is not.
* Preference Centres – Allow people to manage their preferences and profiles so you can deliver what they want and need.
* Surveys & Polls – Use regular polls and survey to keep learning about those people who are in a marketing relationship with you.
h2. Branding & Creative
In today’s multi-channel world it is imperative your brand is consistent so people know it whether in a store, online, as an advertisement or interacting with it in some other way.
h2. Timing & Frequency
* Monthly newsletters are good
* Less than quarterly is not enough
* More than 4 emails per month is too much
Make sure all communications are relevant and use automated and triggered emails where possible:
* Thank Yous (after purchase – use to up-sell or cross-sell)
* Confirmations (registration, forwarding to a friend)
* Service/Support requests or complaints
Finally, probably the most important part of growing and optimizing results and return on investment (ROI)…
h2. Measure, Test, Measure, Test…
Measure and test everything you can. What affect open rates? What makes someone respond? How do you drive conversion?
* From Line
* Subject Line
* When to send email (frequency, day of week, time of day)
For best results, always stay on top of and follow email marketing best practices and apply them to your industry and business.
If you have any questions or comments about these tips please post a comment and I will gladly get back to you.