Secrets To Email Marketing Success


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Secrets To Email Marketing Success

  1. 1. Secrets to Email Marketing Success Stephan Spencer President, Internet Concepts [email_address]
  2. 2. 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>
  3. 3. 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>
  4. 4. 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><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>
  5. 5. 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>
  6. 6. 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 (Remember the hot water Amazon got into?)‏ </li></ul>
  7. 7. 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>
  8. 8. 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>
  9. 9. 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>
  10. 10. 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>
  11. 11. 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>
  12. 12. 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 and a 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>
  13. 13. 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>
  14. 14. 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>
  15. 15. 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>
  16. 16. Timing <ul><li>Tuesday through Thursday </li></ul><ul><li>10am to 2pm </li></ul><ul><li>Varies depending on your audience </li></ul>
  17. 17. 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>
  18. 18. 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>
  19. 19. 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><ul><li>Old versions of AOL only support a crippled form of HTML </li></ul>
  20. 20. 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>
  21. 21. 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>
  22. 22. 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>
  23. 23. 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>
  24. 24. 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>
  25. 25. 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>
  26. 26. 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>
  27. 27. 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>
  28. 28. 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>
  29. 29. 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. MessageMedia ( or GravityMail (‏ </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. In Summary <ul><li>Now you know how to get permission, build your database, personalize,segment, test, measure success </li></ul><ul><li>Newsletters vs. promotional campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>Frequency, length, content </li></ul><ul><li>The intricacies of HTML </li></ul>
  31. 31. 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>