Fundamentals Email Marketing


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Fundamentals Email Marketing

  1. 1. Getting Started with Email Marketing by Stephan Spencer, Founder & President of Netconcepts
  2. 3. Poll Question #1 <ul><li>What is your level of experience with email marketing, on a scale from 1 to 5? </li></ul><ul><li>(1=Never done it, 5=Expert)‏ </li></ul>
  3. 4. Poll Question #2 <ul><li>What are your most pressing concerns about email marketing? Check all that apply: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting and keeping permission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting the right offer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Targeting the right audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Copywriting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tracking & reporting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting it to “go viral” </li></ul></ul>
  4. 5. Why Market via Email? <ul><li>Critical mass : reaches 93% of internet users (Jupiter Research)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Response rates : 10x greater than direct mail (DMA)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Lower costs: 1/10 the cost per communication (Andersen)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship builder : 80% of visitors never return (eMarketer)‏ </li></ul>
  5. 6. Reaching Today’s Consumer <ul><li>Corporate scandals erode trust </li></ul><ul><li>Growing marketing resistance </li></ul><ul><li>Receives 100 emails a day (10-20 from people you know)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Want to be treated as people, not a mass market </li></ul><ul><li>Spam is in the eye of the beholder </li></ul>
  6. 7. Coping with the Deluge <ul><li>32% of email messages are official SPAM (Radicati Group)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Costs $8.9 billion in lost productivity annually (Ferris Research)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Spam filters in Outlook, Hotmail, AOL etc.; Anti-spam tools at the ISPs; Corporate email firewalls </li></ul><ul><li>15% of permission-based marketing messages are wrongly blocked (Assurance Systems)‏ </li></ul>
  7. 8. (Nothing reeks of SPAM more than a message claiming not to be SPAM.)‏
  8. 9. Define Business Objectives <ul><li>Audience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prospects, customers, advocates, partners </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Registrations, Signups, Sales </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Newsletter, Promotions, Reminders, Invitations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Metrics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Click through, Registration, Visits, Booking/Purchase </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. Spam <ul><li>Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Typical spam has a bogus sender address, bogus unsubscribe instructions, and bogus offers </li></ul><ul><li>Spam is in the eye of the beholder </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure recipients don’t misconstrue your message as spam </li></ul>
  10. 11. Get Permission <ul><li>Opt-in, not opt-out. Get recipient’s consent in advance! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Opt-in: recipient volunteered to receive your email </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opt-out: recipient didn’t have the opportunity to avoid receiving your first email, only to avoid receiving subsequent ones </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Hand-raisers” are a lot more likely to not only tolerate receiving your emails, but also to respond favorably </li></ul><ul><li>Read Permission Marketing by Seth Godin </li></ul>
  11. 12. Improve the Odds that a User Will Join Your List <ul><li>Provide numerous opt-in opportunities all with low barriers to entry </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure the amount of work required to sign up is minimal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many sites only require the email address and all other personal information is optional </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Place the email list sign-up on all forms on your site, including inquiry, order, and feedback forms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ok to have the sign-up checkbox ticked in advance? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 13. Privacy Policy <ul><li>Builds trust </li></ul><ul><li>Address what you’ll be doing with the user’s information, both now and potentially in the future </li></ul><ul><li>Post it in an obvious place on your site </li></ul><ul><li>Link to it from your email campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>Abide by it, no exceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t revoke or weaken it once you’ve published it </li></ul>
  13. 14. Distance Yourself from Spammers <ul><li>Remind recipients that they’ve given you permission to contact them </li></ul><ul><li>Provide an easy way to unsubscribe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unsubscribe urban legend </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Be sure reply works </li></ul><ul><li>Have it signed by a real person </li></ul><ul><li>Publish and abide by a strict privacy policy </li></ul>
  14. 15. (Thanks United. You make it oh-so-easy to unsubscribe.)‏
  15. 17. Be REAL! <ul><li>Develop a voice and unique personality </li></ul><ul><li>Relate to their problem </li></ul><ul><li>First few lines are key (WIIFM) </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘gift of education’ </li></ul><ul><li>Be honest. Full disclosure - No hidden advertorials </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid ‘chest pounding’ and promotions </li></ul><ul><li>People trust people, not marketing speak </li></ul>
  16. 18. (Lands’ End’s relaxed tone and voice match the brand. Newsletter delivers entertainment value – not just product promotions)‏
  17. 19. Attention to Detail <ul><li>Shoddy workmanship in your email campaign reflects poorly on your business </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Typos & grammatical errors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting the facts wrong </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formatting problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Otherwise illegible (font size too small etc.) or unintelligible </li></ul></ul>
  18. 20. (Typos AND broken links – in a newsletter from an email marketing agency, no less!)‏
  19. 21. (Jupiter should have tested on multiple email clients.)‏
  20. 22. Consequences of Spamming <ul><li>“ Flames,” i.e. hate email </li></ul><ul><li>Harassment from spam vigilantes </li></ul><ul><li>Badmouthed in discussion forums </li></ul><ul><li>Blacklisted (SpamCop, etc.)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>You may even have your Internet privileges revoked by your ISP </li></ul><ul><li>Remember, perception is 9/10ths of reality </li></ul>
  21. 23. Above All, Deliver Value! <ul><li>Email should be relevant, timely, and beneficial </li></ul><ul><li>“ Value&quot; can take the form of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>newsletters, discounts, contests, last minute availability, event reminders, invitations, prizes, memberships, bonuses, coupons/discounts, exclusive sales, free samples, or demos. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Surveys - give free report or enter them in a draw </li></ul><ul><li>Go paperless - specs, price lists, statements </li></ul>
  22. 24. Types of Outbound Email <ul><li>Newsletters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regularly scheduled messages that deliver timely and interesting news, tips, and other informational tidbits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Promotional messages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inform recipients about special offers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discussion forum posts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Soft-sell marketing strategy for becoming an accepted and trusted member of your target audience’s online community </li></ul></ul>
  23. 25. Discussion Forum Posts <ul><li>Discussion forums include Usenet newsgroups, email discussion lists (listservs), and web forums </li></ul><ul><li>Often overlooked by e-marketers </li></ul><ul><li>Key is to respect the forum’s non-commercial nature </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t blatantly advertise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Add value by answering questions in a vendor-neutral manner, then soft-sell solely through your &quot;signature&quot; </li></ul></ul>
  24. 26. Signature Line <ul><li>At the bottom of your discussion post </li></ul><ul><li>Should be short - no more than 4 lines </li></ul><ul><li>Your name </li></ul><ul><li>Your company name </li></ul><ul><li>Your email address (include mailto: in front)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Link to your site (include http:// in front)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)‏ </li></ul>
  25. 27. Components of an Email <ul><li>Subject line </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most important ~35 characters of the email. Focus on it! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>From line </li></ul><ul><li>To line </li></ul><ul><li>Message body </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A promotional message should contain a compelling offer & call-to-action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An e-mail newsletter should contain a header, a table of contents, a welcome, and multiple ‘departments’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Privacy statement, Disclaimer, and Unsubscribe instructions </li></ul></ul>
  26. 28. Measure Success <ul><li>Unsubscribe rate </li></ul><ul><li>Bounce rate </li></ul><ul><li>Unique open rate </li></ul><ul><li>Total open rate </li></ul><ul><li>Clickthrough rate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can separate HTML vs. plaintext clickthroughs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conversion rate </li></ul>
  27. 29. The Bane of the Email Marketer: the Delete Key <ul><li>The split-second decision - keep it or delete it </li></ul><ul><li>The basis of their decision: the From and Subject line </li></ul><ul><li>Your open rate may be overstated </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your message may be getting displayed in recipient’s preview pane as he selects it just to delete it </li></ul></ul>
  28. 30. Frequency <ul><li>Depends on expectations of target audience </li></ul><ul><li>Email newsletters tend to be weekly or monthly </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor number/variety of contacts to avoid burnout </li></ul>
  29. 31. Timing <ul><li>Tuesday through Thursday? </li></ul><ul><li>10am to 2pm? </li></ul><ul><li>Varies depending on your audience! </li></ul>
  30. 32. Length <ul><li>In general, keep it short and sweet. Use links. </li></ul><ul><li>Weekly newsletter should be no more than five sections, with three or fewer paragraphs each, </li></ul><ul><li>Monthly newsletter can be double or triple that. </li></ul><ul><li>Promotional messages should be significantly shorter than a newsletter. </li></ul><ul><li>Include whole articles or just abstracts with links to the rest? </li></ul>
  31. 33. Spam Filters <ul><li>Spam filters built in Outlook, Hotmail, AOL etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Corporate email firewalls </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t trip the spam filters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Free”, “opt-in”, “!!!”, “forward to a friend”, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Bcc’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ To’ line doesn’t include recipient’s email address </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scripts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attachments </li></ul></ul>
  32. 34. <ul><li>Do it BEFORE sending </li></ul><ul><li>Built into some email services (like GravityMail)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Or, free tool available from </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Aim for < 5 SpamAssassin points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Note: This tool is only indicative. Not everyone’s using SpamAssassin to filter spam. Other filters will interpret your campaign differently. </li></ul></ul>Check Your ‘Spam Score’
  33. 35. <ul><li>Play our email filter game! </li></ul><ul><li>The Rules: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Point out things in the email campaign that caused it to be unceremoniously junked by SpamAssassin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must be something that’s displayed on the slide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The thing must be worth at least 0.4 points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See how many problems you can find </li></ul></ul>Name that SPAM!
  34. 37. 6.2 / 5.0 2 things
  35. 38. 9.9 / 5.0 3 things
  36. 39. 5.5 / 5.0 2 things
  37. 40. HTML vs. Plain Text <ul><li>HTML emails typically have twice the clickthroughs </li></ul><ul><li>HTML offers more control over layout </li></ul><ul><li>HTML looks more ‘polished’ (could be good or bad)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Some old email clients can’t do HTML, e.g. Outlook 95 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Sniff” for HTML open or send multiple versions multi-part </li></ul>
  38. 41. Plain Text Emails <ul><li>Precede URLs with “http://” and emails with “mailto:” </li></ul><ul><li>Limit the line width to 65 characters </li></ul><ul><li>Headlines in ALL CAPS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reading text in caps is very slow, because people read only the tops of letters. ALL CAPS letters don’t have enough differentiation to them </li></ul></ul>
  39. 42. HTML Emails <ul><li>Tables - to control placement & avoid long lines </li></ul><ul><li>Graphics - <30k, will cause the recipient grief if reading email while offline, increases download time </li></ul><ul><li>Color - color text or color a table background, doesn’t impact download speed </li></ul><ul><li>Font - face, size, and color </li></ul><ul><li>Forms - embed in the email to make it easy for the recipient to respond to an offer, e.g. seminar registration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Auto fill-in as many form fields as possible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scripts, Flash, Streaming Video - not recommended! </li></ul>
  40. 43. Your Database <ul><li>Collect more than just the email address </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Name (first name should be a separate field)‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Zip code, interests, and other relevant demographics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What else? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Also ask for info that you plan to use in the future </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Text to Columns’ feature in Excel </li></ul><ul><li>In-house lists typically perform much better than purchased or rented lists </li></ul>
  41. 44. Personalize <ul><li>Tailor the offer to the individual. Beneficial offers are relevant offers </li></ul><ul><li>Provide customized content specific to recipient location and interests </li></ul><ul><li>Greet the recipient by first name. Perhaps even in the Subject line too. </li></ul><ul><li>To line should specify the recipient’s email address </li></ul><ul><li>Let the recipient control the contact frequency </li></ul><ul><li>Increases the likelihood of being at the right place at the right time with the right value proposition </li></ul>
  42. 45. (Oops! That’s not my name!)‏
  43. 46. Segment Your List <ul><li>By demographics, psychographics, clickographics (visiting behavior and transaction history)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Target who’s most relevant, most profitable, or most likely to respond </li></ul>
  44. 47. Buy or Rent Lists? <ul><li>Avoid the use of purchased lists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many have actually been “harvested” from web pages, newsgroup discussion posts, or domain contact information (from the “whois” database) – without the knowledge or permission of the affected individuals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rented lists from reputable list brokers may be worthwhile </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it double opt-in, fastidiously clean of unsubscribes, and finely segmented? </li></ul></ul>
  45. 48. A Veritable List Goldmine <ul><li>Email addresses of prospects, potential distributors and business partners, journalists </li></ul><ul><li>Member lists - associations, clubs, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Find them with Google </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce yourself. Be personal and informal. </li></ul><ul><li>Careful! Potential spam territory </li></ul>
  46. 49. Test, Test, Test! <ul><li>Treat your email campaigns like experiments </li></ul><ul><li>Have a control group </li></ul><ul><li>Vary only one thing at a time </li></ul><ul><li>What to test? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The offer, the Subject line, the From line, the message copy, the layout, the message length, the timing, the contact frequency </li></ul></ul>
  47. 50. Test, Test, Test! <ul><li>Track response rates of each test by making call-to-action URLs & e-mail addresses unique for each test group </li></ul><ul><li>Special attention should be given to the frequency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>don't allow recipient burnout, particularly with a regular mailing such as an e-mail newsletter </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Test and refine, test and refine </li></ul>
  48. 51. Software and ASPs <ul><li>Reduce the administrative headaches - the bounces and unsubscribe requests, the tracking, reporting, segmenting, and personalizing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do-it-yourself software. e.g. WorldMerge (‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or outsource to an e-mail service bureau, e.g. GravityMail (‏ </li></ul></ul>
  49. 52. In Summary <ul><li>Your subscribers listen to WII-FM </li></ul><ul><li>Regular contact is required to stand out </li></ul><ul><li>A lot of variables to get right </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Such as frequency, length, content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Now you know how to get permission, build your database, personalize, segment, test, measure success </li></ul>
  50. 53. Further Reading <ul><li>Successful Email Marketing by Debbie Mayo-Smith </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing With E-Mail by Shannon Kinnard </li></ul><ul><li>Permission Marketing by Seth Godin </li></ul>
  51. 54. <ul><li>It’s time for some Q & A! </li></ul>Thank You!