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Thinking Outside the Inbox: Email Marketing Best Practices

Thinking Outside the Inbox: Email Marketing Best Practices



A presentation I gave at IBC that provided a background on email marketing, as well as industry tips and best practices.

A presentation I gave at IBC that provided a background on email marketing, as well as industry tips and best practices.



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    Thinking Outside the Inbox: Email Marketing Best Practices Thinking Outside the Inbox: Email Marketing Best Practices Presentation Transcript

    • Agenda
      • Overview of email marketing
      • Email design best practices
      • Examples
      • Guidelines
      • Email copy & content
      • Developing content
      • Words to avoid
      • Subject lines
      • Subject line writing
      • Words to avoid
      • Subject line activity
      • Testing
      • Importance
      • An IBC example
      • Benchmarking
      • List hygiene & maintenance
      To get you PUMPED about the potential that email marketing offers for us to communicate to our brokers, customers, and prospective members effectively!
    • Email marketing
      • The use of email in marketing communications
      • Direct promotional emails to acquire new customers
      • Retention for existing customers
      • Emails sent to encourage customer loyalty
      • Email to enhance customer relationship
      • Newsletters
      • Exclusive offers
      • Electronic equivalent of direct mail, print newsletter, or advertisement
      • Much cheaper
      • Larger ROI
      • Measurable
    • “Email marketing works because…
      • …of trust between the sender and recipient.”
      • …it enables you to send targeted messages and see instant, measurable results.”
      • …it allows you to send your customers what they want, when they want it.”
      • …you are reaching customers who have opted in and you know they are interested in what you have to say.”
      • …there is viral potential.”
      • …you can prove that it does.”
    • Email design BPs
      • Email is the black sheep of web design
      • Readers don’t always know what to expect
      • Utilize your space
      • Preview panes
      • Space above-the-fold
      • Subject lines
      • Code like it’s 1999
    • What makes a good email design?
      • Legally required details
      • Physical street address, prominent unsubscribe link, viewing options, permission reminder
      • Simple HTML
      • Different from web design
      • Simple or no CSS
      • Maintains visual connection to the brand
      • Webpage extends a print brand
      • Subscribers make a connection
      • A clear call-to-action
      • Short URLs
    • Building the email
      • Use very basic code
      • Email clients have limited support for modern HTML and CSS
      • Use basic HTML tables to display content
      • Keep designs to a single or two-column layout
      • Most important content should always be above-the-fold
      • Top left is where most look first
    • Single column email
      Header containing logo or link to parent site
      Body content with links to longer stories or articles
      Footer which includes links, physical address, unsubcribe link, permissions, deliverability instructions
    • 2-column email
      Header containing logo or link to parent site
      Narrow side column to house other features, links, call-to-action, etc.
      Body content with links to longer stories or articles
      Footer which includes links, physical address, unsubcribe link, permissions, deliverability instructions
    • Taste Our Penne Alfredo with Chicken & Peas Tonight
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    • MoneyWhys: Putting your finances in perspective
    • Increase Your ROI with Customized Marketing Efforts
    • FREE SHIPPING on Select Lenox® Bridal Gifts!
    • FREE SHIPPING on Select Lenox® Bridal Gifts!
    • Test your design
      • Set up various test accounts
      • Test to multiple email clients to identify problems
      • Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail
      • Test in multiple browsers
      • IE, Firefox
      • Avoid JavaScript
      • Avoid Background images
      • Host all of your own images
      • Set fixed heights and widths for all tables and images
      • Make sure all links open in new window
      • Avoid large images above-the-fold
      • Make sure image looks decent w/ images turned off
    • Email content & copy
      • Developing content
      • Make sure content is relevant to audience
      • Keep a content folder to avoid pressing deadlines
      • Everyone in organization should contribute ideas
      • Develop reserve content that won’t lose its relevancy
      • Watch your numbers
      • Use those reports to learn about your readers’ interests
      • Examine your website’s reports
      • What sections are most popular?
      • Sign up for competitor newsletters and newsletters you like
      • Talk to sales reps
      • Customer interests, issues, questions in the context of your products and services
      • Ask readers what they’re interested in
    • Email content & copy
      • Spam words to avoid
      • Beware of…
      • Exclamation points
      • Quotation marks
      • Dollar signs
      • Percentage signs
      • CAPS
      • Numbers in subject lines
      • Blue Sky Factory recommends…
      • Keep the “naughty list” close by when writing emails
      • Test your emails to various ISPs; make changes and retest
      • Use a spam checker!
      • When in doubt, rewrite it
    • Checklist
      Once you are comfortable with the design and content, go through one last checklist
      • Does the “From” address display properly?
      • Is the contact info correct and visibly obvious?
      • Does the top of the email provide alternative display options?
      • Does the email explain why the recipient is receiving it and give them the chance to opt-out?
      • Does the email contain text asking readers to add your “From” address to their email address book?
    • Email subject lines
      The best subject lines:
      • Are short
      • Are descriptive
      • Provide readers w/ reasons to explore message further
      • Attempts to stand out via cheesy phrases will not work
      • Provide valuable, relevant, necessary information
      • 50 characters or less
      • Avoid the three worst words: help, percent, reminder
    • Email subject lines
      • Personalization and localization helps
      • Mix up subjects for newsletters
      • Newsletter half-life
      • Keep subject content fresh
      • Describe what is inside
      • Only go above 50 characters for extremely targeted audiences and specific circumstances
      • Work in tandem with “From” address
      • Communicate who you are as a sender
      • Try framing subject as a question
    • Guess that open rate!
    • Ibxpress survey test
      • Survey delivered in July 2009 to 5,764 new portal users
      • Tested two subject lines using a sampled campaign
      • 1,510 recipients received subject “Have your say and a chance to win”
      • 1,472 recipients received subject “IBC is looking for customer feedback”
      • 2,782 remaining recipients received email with the winning subject line
    • Ibxpress survey test
      Have your say and a chance to win
      IBC is looking for customer feedback
    • Ibxpress survey test
      • Winning subject sent to remaining 2,782 recipients
      • 24.64% open rate
      • 149 clicks to survey
      • 301 completed survey from initial sends
      • Reminder sent to those who did NOT complete survey
      • 21.48% open rate
      • 240 clicks to survey
      • 541 total survey respondents = 9.4% conversion rate
    • Email testing
      • Other things you can test:
      • Targeting
      • Which segments perform best?
      • Promotions
      • 20% off vs. free shipping
      • 30% off bs. Multiple purchase discounts
      • Design
      • Length of content, images, links, layout, etc.
      • Landing pages
      • Types:
      • A/B split
      • Multivariate
    • Email reporting
      • Reporting shows you
      • Who your email was sent to
      • Who opened your email
      • Who opted-out of your list
      • Who forwarded your email
      • How many inboxes your email bounced from
      • Who clicked on what links
      • What time recipients opened, clicked, etc.
      • What templates/campaigns/messages performed better
      • What you should do next time to improve
    • Individual HMO reporting
    • Benchmarking
    • Benchmarking
      • Recent studies show that benchmarks are going out the window
      • You know your customers best
      • You are in control
      • When you send, how often, how long your messages are, what format, etc.
      • Every campaign is a test for next time
      • Social media changing email marketing
      • Becnhmark yourself!
    • List building and hygiene
      • Never purchase or rent a list
      • Build your own house list
      • Slower, but pays off
      • Bigger response
      • Co-register with partner site or company and share lists
      • Grow your permission-based email list:
      • Place signup form on homepage
      • Link to form throughout site
      • Include opt-in link in your email signature
      • Add link to your company invoices
      • Offer incentives for signing up
      • Ask clients and friends to opt-in
      • Add opt-in checkbox to any “Contact Us” forms
    • Goals for our emktg efforts
      • Reduce our bounce rates
      • Be mindful of timing
      • Stay relevant
      • Test more thoroughly
      • Perform more subject, design, content tests
      • Think more analytically
      • Work closely with web team
      • Research and stay informed
      • MarketingSherpa Benchmark Guide
      • Improve campaigns and apply for awards
      • Thoughts? Questions?