Secrets To Email Marketing SuccessPresentation Transcript
Secrets to Email Marketing Success Stephan Spencer President, Internet Concepts [email_address] www.netconcepts.com
Opt-in, not opt-out. Get recipient’s consent in advance!
Opt-in: recipient volunteered to receive your email
Opt-out: recipient didn’t have the opportunity to avoid receiving your first email, only to avoid receiving subsequent ones
“ Hand-raisers” are a lot more likely to not only tolerate receiving your emails, but also to respond favorably
Read Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE)
Typical spam has a bogus sender address, bogus unsubscribe instructions, and bogus offers
Spam is in the eye of the beholder
Ensure recipients don’t misconstrue your message as spam
Distance Yourself from Spammers
Remind recipients that they’ve given you permission to contact them
Provide an easy way to unsubscribe
Be sure reply works
Have it signed by a real person
Improve the Odds that a User Will Join Your List
Provide numerous opt-in opportunities all with low barriers to entry
Make sure the amount of work required to sign up is minimal
Many sites only require the email address and all other personal information is optional
Place the email list sign-up on all forms on your site, including inquiry, order, and feedback forms
Ok to have the sign-up checkbox ticked in advance?
Address what you’ll be doing with the user’s information, both now and potentially in the future
Post it in an obvious place on your site
Link to it from your email campaigns
Abide by it, no exceptions
Don’t revoke or weaken it once you’ve published it (Remember the hot water Amazon got into?)
Consequences of Spamming
“ Flames,” i.e. hate email
Harassment from spam vigilantes
Badmouthed in discussion forums
Blacklisted (SpamCop, etc.)
You may even have your Internet privileges revoked by your ISP
Remember, perception is 9/10ths of reality
Email should be relevant, timely, and beneficial
“ Value" can take the form of:
newsletters, discounts, contests, last minute availability, event reminders, invitations, prizes, memberships, bonuses, coupons/discounts, exclusive sales, free samples, or demos.
Surveys - give free report or enter them in a draw
Go paperless - specs, price lists, statements
Types of Outbound Email
Regularly scheduled messages that deliver timely and interesting news, tips, and other informational tidbits
Inform recipients about special offers
Discussion forum posts
Soft-sell marketing strategy for becoming an accepted and trusted member of your target audience’s online community
Discussion Forum Posts
Discussion forums include Usenet newsgroups, email discussion lists (listservs), and web forums
Often overlooked by e-marketers
Key is to respect the forum’s non-commercial nature
Don’t blatantly advertise
Add value by answering questions in a vendor-neutral manner, then soft-sell solely through your "signature"
At the bottom of your discussion post
Should be short - no more than 4 lines
Your company name
Your email address (include mailto: in front)
Link to your site (include http:// in front)
Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
Components of an Email
Most important ~35 characters of the email. Focus on it!
A promotional message should contain a compelling offer and a call-to-action
An e-mail newsletter should contain a header, a table of contents, a welcome, and multiple ‘departments’
Privacy statement, Disclaimer, and Unsubscribe instructions
Unique open rate
Total open rate
Can separate HTML vs. plaintext clickthroughs
The Bane of the Email Marketer: the Delete Key
The split-second decision - keep it or delete it
The basis of their decision: the From and Subject line
Your open rate may be overstated
Your message may be getting displayed in recipient’s preview pane as he selects it just to delete it
Depends on expectations of target audience
Email newsletters tend to be weekly or monthly
Monitor number/variety of contacts to avoid burnout
Tuesday through Thursday
10am to 2pm
Varies depending on your audience
In general, keep it short and sweet. Use links.
Weekly newsletter should be no more than five sections, with three or fewer paragraphs each,
Monthly newsletter can be double or triple that.
Promotional messages should be significantly shorter than a newsletter.
Include whole articles or just abstracts with links to the rest?
Spam filters built in Outlook, Hotmail, AOL etc.
Corporate email firewalls
Don’t trip the spam filters
“ Free”, “opt-in”, “!!!”, “forward to a friend”, etc.
‘ To’ line doesn’t include recipient’s email address
HTML vs. Plain Text
HTML emails typically have twice the clickthroughs
HTML offers more control over layout
HTML looks more ‘polished’ (could be good or bad)
Some old email clients can’t do HTML, e.g. Outlook 95
“ Sniff” for HTML open or send multiple versions multi-part
Old versions of AOL only support a crippled form of HTML
Plain Text Emails
Precede URLs with “http://” and emails with “mailto:”
Limit the line width to 65 characters
Headlines in ALL CAPS
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
Tables - to control placement & avoid long lines
Graphics - <30k, will cause the recipient grief if reading email while offline, increases download time
Color - color text or color a table background, doesn’t impact download speed
Font - face, size, and color
Forms - embed in the email to make it easy for the recipient to respond to an offer, e.g. seminar registration
Auto fill-in as many form fields as possible
Scripts, Flash, Streaming Video - not recommended!
Collect more than just the email address
Name (first name should be a separate field)
Zip code, interests, and other relevant demographics
Also ask for info that you plan to use in the future
‘ Text to Columns’ feature in Excel
In-house lists typically perform much better than purchased or rented lists
Tailor the offer to the individual. Beneficial offers are relevant offers
Provide customized content specific to recipient location and interests
Greet the recipient by first name. Perhaps even in the Subject line too.
To line should specify the recipient’s email address
Let the recipient control the contact frequency
Increases the likelihood of being at the right place at the right time with the right value proposition
Segment Your List
By demographics, psychographics, clickographics (visiting behavior and transaction history)
Target who’s most relevant, most profitable, or most likely to respond
Buy or Rent Lists?
Avoid the use of purchased lists
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
Rented lists from reputable list brokers may be worthwhile
Is it double opt-in, fastidiously clean of unsubscribes, and finely segmented?
A Veritable List Goldmine
Email addresses of prospects, potential distributors and business partners, journalists
Member lists - associations, clubs, etc.
Find them with Google
Introduce yourself. Be personal and informal.
Careful! Potential spam territory
Test, Test, Test!
Treat your email campaigns like experiments
Have a control group
Vary only one thing at a time
What to test?
The offer, the Subject line, the From line, the message copy, the layout, the message length, the timing, the contact frequency
Test, Test, Test!
Track response rates of each test by making call-to-action URLs & e-mail addresses unique for each test group
Special attention should be given to the frequency
don't allow recipient burnout, particularly with a regular mailing such as an e-mail newsletter
Test and refine, test and refine
Software and ASPs
Reduce the administrative headaches - the bounces and unsubscribe requests, the tracking, reporting, segmenting, and personalizing
Do-it-yourself software. e.g. WorldMerge (www.coloradosoft.com)
Or outsource to an e-mail service bureau, e.g. MessageMedia (www.messagemedia.com) or GravityMail (www.gravitymail.com)
Now you know how to get permission, build your database, personalize,segment, test, measure success