Best Practices for Email Marketing Success


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Instructed by Joe Keenan.

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  • The reason behind segmenting your campaign is to provide more relevant content to your subscribers. Here’s a list of variables to segment to help you created better targeted email campaigns
  • According to the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, 39 percent of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28 percent experienced lower unsubscribe rates and 24% experienced better deliverability and higher revenues. Jupiter Research reports that relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails
  • By the way, that’s an acoustic drum trigger in case you were wondering
  • Trigger emails are sent to individuals based on actions – e.g., abandoning a cart, downloading a whitepaper, completing a purchase, etc.
    Point 1 : Figure out which ones you can do easily and start with those.  Some ideas would be abandoned cart, abandoned search, abandoned site, EBOPP (e-mail based on past purchase), EBOSI (e-mail based on selected interest), we’ve missed you, a celebration (happy birthday, congratulations on the new baby), ask the experts (tips, case studies, podcasts, webinars), surveys, and automatic reactivation promotional programs.
    Point 2: if the list above is overwhelming, start by improving your order and shipping confirmations and/or your thank you e-mails.  Make sure you have nice thank you e-mails for everything that the user does on your site – signing up for your FREE newsletter, requesting a catalog, registering at your site, filling out a request for quote, and so on.  Look carefully at each of those e-mails and figure out what you can do to improve it – what it would take to make someone want to click on it and do/buy/view more?  Does every e-mail you send out look like it’s from a real person?  Is it written like a letter you’d read?  Does it have things of interest that they haven’t seen before?  Will it make them want to click?
    Point 3: Reward them for what they do right (and wrong), at the perfect times.  Always and often!  For example, using one abandoned cart e-mail is ok but using a series of five (or more) is fantastic and really makes a program.  You need to keep in contact with them till they take another action – finish their checkout, add to their order, complete their lead form, request a quote, register for a webinar and so on.   The more you ask for what you want, the greater the chance you have of getting it.   In about 95% of the cases, the first trigger in a series should be sent out within two hours of the action.  So, in a perfect world, if a user goes to your site, puts stuff in their cart and then abandons it, they will get their first abandoned cart e-mail within a couple hours (the sooner the better as long as it’s not in the repeat window.)  If you can’t deploy those e-mails one-by-one and you simply must do a batch process, do it.  It’s not the best choice, but it’s far better than nothing.
    Point 4: Deadlines work because they create urgency and cause people to focus.  Can’t give anything away?  That’s ok but figure out how to incorporate a deadline anyway – there are lots of choices — limited quantity/limited supply, a limited-time sneak peek, etc.
    Point 5: If someone abandons a cart on your site, show them what was in their cart in the e-mail.  Make it easy for them to complete their order.  Never press though – pressing is knowing too much about someone (for example,  “you were at our site at 12:03 this afternoon and you were looking at…” – that’s just too much and users typically don’t respond well to it.)
  • Point 1: The best trigger campaigns are not always the ones that are the most aesthetically pleasing.  In fact, they’re usually the ones from the companies who have the timing and the message down right.  Mailing the right offer (message) at the right time is far more important than having everything just perfect.  (Remember, e-mails are meant to be clicked on, not necessarily to be read or printed out and hung on your wall!)  That’s not to say that the visuals are not important because they are critical – people see things in pictures online – however, it is to suggest that you don’t need to make your designer go through 111 versions of a trigger to get it just right. 
    Point 2: Triggers, just like thrusts, need very solid action directives – big, red, CLICK HERE NOW buttons that get them to click to your site, cart, lead form, or wherever else you want to put them.  Make sure to include at least one button in every view. 
    Pont 4: When it comes to triggers, look at open and delete rates; clickthrough rates; page views/user paths; AAUS (active average user session) and time spent on launch; drills/actions; passalong rate, action rate (carts opened, lead forms completed) and item sales (be sure to include feature items and items that were not in the e-mail.)   Build on your success.  If something works, keep doing it and keep improving it.
  • Best Practices for Email Marketing Success

    1. 1. 7 Best Practices for Email Marketing Success Joe Keenan Managing Editor Retail Online Integration
    2. 2. About Me Managing editor of Retail Online Integration, a trade publication devoted to helping cross-channel retailers tackle industry challenges and discover opportunities to grow their businesses in new and profitable ways. ROI publishes a bimonthly print issue and daily e- newsletter, as well as hosts live and virtual events, including webinars and conferences.
    3. 3. About Me (cont.) Managing editor of eMarketing and Commerce (eM+C), a web-only brand that covers the online marketing and commerce industries. eM+C publishes a daily e-newsletter, eM+C Daily, as well as hosts a number of live and virtual events, including webinars and conferences.
    4. 4. Agenda • Introduction to Retail Online Integration, eM+C • Reasons why email marketers are leaving money on the table • A list of seven ways that marketers can optimize their email marketing programs • Contact info for follow-up questions/comments
    5. 5. About Retail Online Integration • A trade publication devoted to helping brick- and-mortar retailers, online merchants, catalogers and brand marketers tackle industry challenges and discover opportunities to grow their businesses in new and profitable ways. • Publishes a bimonthly print magazine and daily e-newsletter, as well as hosting live and virtual events, including conferences, webinars and Retail Roundtables.
    6. 6. Email is Alive and Well • 77% of online consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing messages via email. Direct mail was the closest channel at 9%. (ExactTarget, 2012) • 67% of marketers said email had the best ROI of any channel, with online marketing next at 38% (Direct Marketing Association, 2012)
    7. 7. … Yet Marketers Aren’t Taking Full Advantage • Incomplete or inaccurate subscriber data • Nontargeted content • Lackluster creative • Unclear calls to action • Not mobile optimized • Not integrated with other marketing channels
    8. 8. How to Optimize Your Email Program • A seven-step process, from deliverability to managing opt-outs — and everything in between
    9. 9. 1. Ensuring Your Emails Reach Their Intended Destination (i.e., your subscribers’ inboxes)
    10. 10. Actions to Improve Deliverability Rate • Use seed lists — i.e., addresses that you add to your email list and measure their placement — to monitor your inbox placement rates in real time. • Monitor your sender reputation score, which is affected by metrics such as complaint rate, unknown user rate, spam trap rate and mailing infrastructure
    11. 11. Deliverability Tips • Segment your database based on activity (e.g., sending more email to only your most active subscribers. • Remove inactive subscribers (i.e., those who haven’t opened or clicked on a email in the last six months to 12 months) from your list. • Prompt users to add you to their address book.
    12. 12. Deliverability Tips (cont.) • Set up a feedback loop between the ISP/webmail provider and your ESP or in-house server so that emails reported as spam are removed from your list in the same way bounced emails are. • Use an inbox preview tool to see how your email templates will render in different ISPs’ inboxes, especially those where images are turned off.
    13. 13. 2: Create a Compelling Subject Line That Gets Opened
    14. 14. Words to Use in Subject Lines … • Apply • Opportunity • Demo • Connect • Payments • Conference • Cancellation
    15. 15. Words Not to Use • Confirm • Join • Assistance • Speaker • Press • Social • Invite
    16. 16. Short and Sweet • Between 35 and 50 characters is recommended as consumers quickly scan their inboxes • This is particularly important when considering emails read on mobile devices, where lengthy subject lines can be rendered meaningless when cut short.
    17. 17. Say Something Controversial • “Eat all you want and still lose weight!” • “Work less, earn more” • “The cheapest flights you’ll find”
    18. 18. Numbers Work • Teasing subscribers with a numbered list (e.g., 10 Tricks to Losing Weight, 6 Tips to a Perfect Garden, Top 10 Games of the Year) have proven effective at driving opens.
    19. 19. Ask a Question • Asking a question (e.g., Looking for the perfect holiday gift?) forces the subscriber to think about the answer and piques their interest, leading to higher open rates.
    20. 20. 3. Optimize for Mobile Devices
    21. 21. Do Your Research • Find out how many of your subscribers are opening your emails on a mobile device. • It’s likely more of your emails are being read on an Apple device (iPhone or iPad)
    22. 22. Design for Mobile Viewing • Limit subject lines to 25 characters or less • Limit number of navigation choices to 3 • Use HTML (most email clients default to disabled images) • Increase font size to 14 pixels or more for body text and 22 pixels for headlines • Add padding between links/sections to account for bigger fingers
    23. 23. Design for Mobile Viewing • Design whole sections to be clickable • Use bold colors for links • Create larger buttons and links • Implement a single or double column design layout • Have a higher contrast between content to make images and text more legible.
    24. 24. Design for Mobile Viewing • Link to your mobile website or landing page to create a seamless transition for users • Test how your emails are displaying across the variety of mobile devices available today
    25. 25. 4. Integrate With Other Channels
    26. 26. Tips to Lead You in the Right Direction • Ask your email subscribers to share your content and connect with your brand via social media • Send a dedicated email asking your email subscribers to Like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, etc. • It’s a two-way street: Ask for email sign-ups via your social platforms
    27. 27. • Highlight a particularly powerful, insightful, humorous tweet, Facebook post, YouTube video, etc. in your email campaign. • Add an email opt-in form on Facebook (the social media site allows you to embed this as one of your apps)
    28. 28. Drive Offline Sales With Email Marketing • Segment your list by geography to target sales and events at your store locations to nearby customers. • Add maps and other directions to your nearest retail store in your emails. • Offer exclusive discounts to email subscribers that are redeemable in-store
    29. 29. Acquisition Sources • Collect email addresses via QR codes on in-store signage or on printed receipts. • Have store associates acquire email addresses at the point of sale.
    30. 30. 5. Segment Your Subscribers
    31. 31. Variables to Segment • Geography • Age • Gender • Past purchases • Buying frequency • Shopping cart abandoners • Preferred shopping channel
    32. 32. Benefits of Email Segmentation • Your reputation improves • Your results improve
    33. 33. So why aren’t more email marketers segmenting? • Because it’s challenging. You can slice and dice an email list thousands of ways looking for sweet spots. • You need content (i.e., offers) to be relevant to your targeted subscribers. Content creation takes time — often lots of it.
    34. 34. Why Email Segmentation is More Important Now Than Ever • More and more of your subscribers are reading your emails on mobile devices with dramatically different email client capabilities. • Improvements in email filtering has made it much easier for subscribers to tune out messaging that’s not relevant to them.
    35. 35. 6. Use Triggers
    36. 36. Implementing a Trigger Program • Work in stages • Start simple • Get your timing down • Use an offer with a deadline • Personalize
    37. 37. Implementing a Trigger Program • Don’t waste lots of time on creative • Use call-to-action-buttons • Build your list so your trigger program is more effective • Track results
    38. 38. Triggered Emails Work Consider the following: Triggered email messages had 96% higher open rates and 125% higher clickthrough rates than “regular” emails (Email Experience Council, Epsilon)
    39. 39. 7. Protect Your List
    40. 40. Email Security Best Practices Implement an archiving system that can recognize email that’s consistent with your corporate culture, regulatory requirements and industry.
    41. 41. Email Security Best Practices Pay attention to your IP reputation
    42. 42. Email Security Best Practices Be wary of subscribers’ whitelists
    43. 43. Email Security Best Practices Protect your company with policy management
    44. 44. Thank You! Feel free to contact me at with any questions or comments.