Principles Of Effective Email Marketing


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Email provides one of the best returns on investment in the standard marketing arsenal, but are you doing all you can to get the most out of this medium? This presentation was developed for a workshop hosted by the Enterprise Center at Salem State College in Salem, MA. It is geared towards small businesses seeking to improve their email marketing techniques and maximize the return on their email investments.
1) Why Email Marketing?
2) Trust, Reputation & Permission
3) Authentication
4) Know Thy Audience
5) Goals & Creating Calls to Action
6) Layout & Design Considerations
7) Testing & Real Experiments
8) Monitoring Performance
9) List Building Techniques
10) Ideas & What’s Next

Published in: Business, Technology

Principles Of Effective Email Marketing

  1. 1. Eric<br /><br />Principles of EffectiveEmail Marketing<br />
  2. 2. On the Agenda:<br />Why Email Marketing?<br />Trust, Reputation & Permission<br />Authentication<br />Know Thy Audience<br />Goals & Creating Calls to Action<br />Layout & Design Considerations<br />Testing & Real Experiments<br />Monitoring Performance<br />List Building Techniques<br />Ideas & What’s Next<br /> email<br /> marketing<br />
  3. 3. About This Presentation<br />This presentation is:<br />A 60-90 minute discussion about good email practice and topics that impact email marketing campaigns in positive and negative ways.<br />An assembly of ideas that can help improve the return on your email marketing investments.<br />A representation of only one person’s perspective in a sea of talented marketing professionals.<br />This presentation is not:<br />A comprehensive guide to all email marketing tools or email clients<br />A technical guide for designing HTML emails.<br />An evaluation or critique of HTML aesthetics/designs.<br />A definitive guide to developing an email marketing strategy.<br />The last presentation on email marketing presentation you should look at.<br />
  4. 4. Why Email Marketing?(Isn’t that sooo 1998?)<br />ROI<br />It’s almost impossible to beat email’s ROI. The DMA says that on average, every $1 spent on email marketing in 2009 returned more than $43 in sales. (more on this number later)<br />$<br />Flexibility & Speed<br />Although there are design limitations to email when compared to web or print (and even that is debatable), the low cost and speed with which a wide variety of targeted messages can be sent is unparalleled.<br />Customer Preference<br />Recent research shows that consumers, and particularly B2B contacts prefer to receive their permission based, promotional and transactional messages via email.<br />
  5. 5. Is Email’s ROI Even Higher?Is that number relevant to you? What can you expect?<br />More on email’s ROI<br />According to the Direct Marketing Association, every $1 spent on email marketing in 2009 returned more than $43 in sales. But how relevant is that number?<br />67% of subscribers say they've purchased products offline as a direct result of receiving an email from a retail company.<br />33% of permission-based email recipients say they usually visit sites directly, instead of clicking on an email link.<br />These numbers don’t consider the influence email has on generating interest in catalogs and social networks.<br />Source: MediaPost’s Email Insider“Email Marketing's ROI Probably Closer To $130 Than $43.52” Chad White, July 14, 2009<br />
  6. 6. Trust, Reputation & PermissionWinning friends & influencing people through the inbox.<br />(Without ticking off your customers)<br />Trust<br />Although intangible, it’s one of the most valuable assets you have, but as everyone knows it has to be earned.<br />Reputation<br />Your reputation is related to trust. With no reputation, trust is harder to earn… with a good reputation trust is easier to gain… with a bad reputation, well, let’s just never get there. By earning trust, you can improve your reputation one contact at a time.<br />Permission<br />Almostall reputable email service providers (ESP’s) require subscribers’ permission to email them. Do not violate the trust given to you by your subscribers by taking advantage of their permission. Clearly state your communication plans and acknowledge variances from the plan.<br />Don’t make your subscribers regret signing up for your content.<br />
  7. 7. Trust, Reputation & PermissionWinning friends & influencing people through the inbox.<br />(Without ticking off your customers)<br />Relevancy Trumps Permission<br />You might have permission today, but don’t squander it. According to Merkle’s “View from the Inbox” report, the top reason (73%) subscribers opt-out of permission based campaigns is that the content was not relevant. <br />Keep in mind that some people consider clicking the Spam button the same as unsubscribing!<br />Reputation Trumps Everything Else<br />According to the same report, 32% of respondents say they stopped doing business with at least one company because of its poor email marketing practices.<br />
  8. 8. SPF Records, Domain Keys and Sender ID’s<br />What are SPF Records, Domain Keys, and Sender ID’s? These are records you can set on your domain to improve email deliverability. They are used to authorize an email service to send messages on your behalf. SPF Records are often set by the Email Service Provider.<br />What is a Feedback Loop?<br />A feedback loop (FBL), or complaint feedback loop, is an inter-organizational form of feedback by which an internet service provider (ISP) forwards the complaints originating from their users to the sender's organizations. The most common methods of communication in a feedback loop is the use of report spam buttons on webmail pages, in email clients, or via help desks.<br />What is a Whitelist / Blacklist?<br />These lists are maintained by ISP’s and spam filters. Unfortunately just a few spam reports is all it takes to land yourself on a list.(1 spam report per 5,000 emails is an industry acceptable norm – that’s just .02%)<br />
  9. 9. Know Thy Audience<br />The weaker the relationship, the less acceptable it is to market to them digitally.<br />Email is not the equivalent of Direct Mail<br />Consumers accept direct mail from companies they have never interacted with more easily than email.<br />
  10. 10. Know Thy Audience<br />However, email is still the preferred channel over all.<br />Email is not the equivalent of Direct Mail<br />Consumers accept direct mail from companies they have never interacted with more easily than email.<br />
  11. 11. Know Thy Audience<br />How do your subscribers want to hear from you?<br />Different types of contacts might want to hear from you at different frequencies. This might also vary based on your content – weekly coupons might be highly valued but daily updates on your latest musings probably are not.<br />How often do they want to hear from you?<br />Permission is not a carte blanche to send messages anytime or all the time. Each time you create a campaign ask yourself if you are re-earning your subscribers’ permission.<br />
  12. 12. Know Thy Audience<br />Why not ask your prospects how often they would like to be emailed?<br />Sometimes it’s the simple questions that make all the difference. You might not have thought to ask for frequency preferences, or perhaps you did, but weren’t sure how to go about collecting and utilizing that information.<br />Email Sign Up<br />Name<br />Email<br />Company<br />Interests<br />How often would you prefer to receive emails from us?<br />?<br />Create a segment based on the frequency answer.<br />If your email marketing program allows you to create custom fields, use one of them to ask for frequency preferences. You can then segment your list based on this single field to ensure you’re sending just the right amount of content.<br />Special Deals<br />Daily<br />Monthly<br />Weekly<br />Anytime!<br />Submit<br />
  13. 13. Know Thy Audience<br />Would your subscribers prefer to receive emails in text format?<br />The answer will depend on your target audience and the content you are sending.<br />The only way to know for sure is to ask!<br />Tip:<br />Send a preferences update campaign designed to generate segmentation data.<br />
  14. 14. Know Thy Audience<br />Can you segment your target market by age?<br />If you’re aiming at the 18-34 year olds, consider incorporating SMS text message campaigns into the mix.<br />
  15. 15. What is a persona and how does it help?<br />“Personas are fictitious characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product. Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of the users in order to help to guide decisions…"<br /><br />Know Thy Audience Part II - Personas <br />Sally Bromfield<br />Stay at home mom<br />Sally is a busy mom trying to make the best choices for her family. She left the workforce when she had her 3rd child and used to be a quality control engineer. <br />She is constantly pressed for time with kids in 3 different sports. Her husband works downtown and has a well-paying job. She lives in the suburbs and drives a mid-size SUV. She is trying to eat organic, but is often chooses not to because of the cost. <br />Goals / Motivation:<br />Seeks praise for good decisions<br />Wants to find ways to save his company money<br />Seeking information resources that give him an “edge.”<br />Background:<br />Lives in Woburn, MA<br />37 years old<br />Married for 11 years<br />3 kids – girl (9), girl (7), boy (5)<br />Household income: $120,000<br />Bachelors Degree<br />Has a Facebook account and posts regularly<br />Reads Boston Magazine, Real Simple and Biographies<br />Frank Azure<br />Financial executive at a high tech company<br />Frank is a conservative, well educated professional that investigates his options and makes well informed decisions. <br />He’s grown addicted to his BlackBerry, but isn’t happyabout it, (and neither is his wife). He lives in a suburb, has three kids and his wife stays at home. He’s like to go out to eat more often, but he isn’t satisfied with the restaurants in his area. He likes to travel and indulges in high tech audio equipment.<br />Goals / Motivation:<br />Seeks praise for good decisions<br />Wants to find ways to save his company money<br />Seeking information resources that give him an “edge.”<br />Background:<br />Lives in Andover, MA<br />49 years old<br />Married for 24 years, 3 kids<br />Household income: $145,000<br />Masters Degree<br />Comfortable with tech gadgets<br />Reads Wall Street Journal, Mass High Tech and Boston Business Journal<br />Develop detailed personas to put a face on your target customers that all employees are forced to relate to. Frame them and hang them around the office so they become real people.<br />Personas create a connection that can improve your communication style.<br />What’s important to them?<br />Paragraph 3<br />
  16. 16. Segmentation: Beyond the name game.<br />Personalization is nice, but go beyond “Dear Mr. Smith,”<br />Try improving your message targeting:<br />Segments can be used to separate contacts by geographic location, communication preferences, interests, gender, birthday month, etc. Craft segment-specific messages and designs to improve campaign.<br />Other ideas:<br />Create segments based on opens or click in previous campaigns or prior purchase history to create more highly relevant content.<br />Don’t have triggered email features? Ask users for the month they were born and set up pre-scheduled campaigns for each month of the year.<br />
  17. 17. Setting Goals for Your Campaigns<br />1 – What defines a successful campaign for you?<br />When your campaigns are really humming, what specific results do you want?[Website traffic, online sales transaction, inbound calls, white papers downloaded, videos watched, information shared via social media, surveys completed, permissions granted… the list goes on.]<br />2– Are there different goals for different prospects?<br />Perhaps you have a complex sales cycle, perhaps you target different industries, or you sell different products to different types of individuals. Do prospects in the early stages of a sales cycle have different goals than those in later stages? Are there different goals based on the season or previous purchase history?<br />3 – Set limits.<br />Stick with primary and secondary goals even if you will be using various offers and content to achieve them. Beyond that and it becomes too difficult to focus readers on the call-to-action.<br />
  18. 18. Developing Your Calls to Action<br />What motivates your subscribers?<br />You could guess or….<br />You could ask them!<br />Your products and services are unique (I hope). So your subscribers’ preferences are going to be specific to what you offer. Find out why they joined your list and what they want more of.<br />
  19. 19. Creating Effective Calls to ActionGetting what you want from website visitors and email recipients<br />Tips & Considerations<br />Be Clear & Concise<br />* Do your emails use alt tags for images to identify their purpose & encourage viewers to turn images on? Do you include a link to an online version?<br />† Are you making it easy for readers to forward to a friend or share with their social media network?<br />Are you putting relevant (and the right number of) calls to action in your emails?<br />Ask your customers what kind of content would be most valuable to them and deliver!<br />Consider the use of animated gif’s to highlight the calls to action within a more engaging email.<br />* Personas: Calls to action may also differ based on the persona, since they may have different motivators. Match your calls to action with personas’ motivators.<br />Your calls to action will vary based on the purpose of each email.<br />Limit the number of calls to action and make sure they are clear, visible near the top and addressed with text & images*.<br />Frequency matters:Too much = annoying Too little = forgotten Test different delivery days<br />Once opened, the goal of your email is to encourage clicks and/or sharing†.<br />
  20. 20. Layout & Design ConsiderationsComparing website & email design<br />Website Perspective<br />Email Perspective<br />Web browsers have come a long way in supporting different approaches to programming (HTML, CSS, Javascript, Flash, etc.)<br />The market is dominated by 2 major players, but a few others remain very important.<br />Email clients, unfortunately, do not adhere to a clearly defined set of standards. There are also more than 20 email clients that share a significant amount of market share.<br />Email platforms can vary by industry, product, or household.<br />[Feb 2010]<br />Source:<br />Source: Fingerprint analysis tool, February 2010<br />
  21. 21. Tracking CSS Support in Multiple Email Clients can be complex:<br />
  22. 22. Why standards matter:<br />What happens when CSS is not supported:<br />Without inline styles<br />With inline styles<br />
  23. 23. Layout & Design Considerations Landing page design<br />Landing Pages<br />Tips & Considerations<br />Navigation: Limit distractions (nav. links)<br />Build confidence and trust quickly to convert more visitors.<br />Design: Keep cutting edge technology to a minimum to avoid alienating visitors and make testing easier.<br />Test! With enough volume / time, you can analyze visitor data to determine effectiveness.<br />Shake things up – compare landing page performance with a multi-page microsite.<br />Experiment with number of fields in forms to find your audience’s limit (usually ~ 5-7).<br />Try dynamic landing pages that serve unique content based on a visitor’s profile.<br />Check out Google’s Website Optimizer (it’s free)<br />
  24. 24. Testing & Experimentation<br />What works best, text based email or HTML?A: it depends – test various designs on your contact list.<br />What types of subject lines work best?A: try teasers, offers, questions to see what works for you.<br />Run one or more A/B Tests Compare campaign results by changing only one parameter at a time (From address, content, images, subject line, day of the week, etc.)<br />Experiment with your emails.<br />
  25. 25. Testing & Experimentation<br />Tip:<br />Add a graphic or set of text links in a campaign asking subscribers to rate it. Your email reporting will show the results immediately.<br />Direct the traffic to pages with slightly different content based on their response.<br />Please rate this email:<br />Thanks for letting us know! <br />Your compliments will keep our designers working hard through the night with just cans of Dr. Pepper and Doritos for sustenance.<br />Ugh, we feel terrible! <br />Your feedback is valuable though, and we’ll continue to improve our communications. Thanks for helping!<br />
  26. 26. Monitoring Performance<br />General E-mail Metrics:<br />Delivery RateOpen RateClick Through RateChurn rate (% unsubscribe/opt out/undeliverable) Viral Rate (Forwarded)Compare Campaigns to each other!<br />Other Metrics: <br />Sales attributable to campaignProfit/margin per e-mail sentAverage Order Value (AOV) Number of orders Conversion rate (Click, then call to action)Cost per visitorAverage page views from campaign<br />Length of site visit from campaign<br />Tip: <br />Integrate your email campaigns with your analytics package to measure traffic source, conversion rates and more.<br />
  27. 27. Soft and Hard Bounces<br />Soft bounce:Your email message reaches the recipient's mail server but is bounced back undelivered before it gets to the intended recipient.Possible causes:The recipient's mailbox is full, the server is down, the message is too large or the user has abandoned the mailbox. Since delivery of your email will be attempted regularly for a few days, it may take time for it to officially become a hard bounce.<br />Hard bounce:Your email message has been returned as permanently undeliverable.Possible causes:Invalid addresses (domain name doesn't exist, typos, changed address, etc.) or the email recipient's mail server has blocked your server. Note that servers can interpret bounces differently, so a soft bounce on one server may be classified as a hard bounce on another.<br />
  28. 28. Crunching the numbers<br />Email Marketing Formulas<br />Deliverability = ((Number of Email Addresses Sent - Number of Email Addresses Bounced) /Number of Email Addresses Sent) * 100%<br />Open Rate = (Number of Emails Opened /(Number of Emails Sent - Number of Emails Bounced)) * 100%<br />CTR = (Number of unique Emails clicked /(Number of Emails Sent - Number of Emails Bounced)) * 100%<br />Conversion Rate = (Number of unique Emails resulting in a Conversion /(Number of Emails Sent - Number of Emails Bounced)) * 100%<br />Unsubscribe Rate = (Number of Email Addresses who unsubscribed /(Number of Email Addresses Sent - Number of Email Addresses Bounced)) * 100%<br />Viral Rate = (Number of Emails forwarded /(Number of Emails Sent - Number of Emails Bounced)) * 100%<br />ROMI = (Revenue obtained from Email Campaign / ((Cost per Email * Total Emails Sent) + Human Resources + Incentive Cost))) * 100%<br />Value of a Subscriber = (Annual Email Revenue - Annual Email Marketing Costs) / Total Number of Email Addresses * Annual Retention Rate<br />Source: Email Marketing by the Numbers, by Chris Baggott &Ali Sales.<br />
  29. 29. List Building Techniques<br />Your website<br />Never redirect traffic off your site to sign up subscribers.<br />Limit the number of listed or required fields.<br />Include an archive of your emails on a news page.<br />Social Media<br />Include links to your email signup form/page on your social media profiles and pages.<br />Send links to the online version of your email campaigns to your network.<br />Develop contests for social media activity promoting signups.<br />Print & Special Offers<br />Try requiring newsletter subscriptions to take advantage of offers advertised in print.<br />Advertise the special benefits of being a subscriber in your store or at the point of sale.<br />SMS Text Message Campaigns<br />SMS text campaigns can be used to grow a list. Example:<br />Text pizza followed by your email address to 12345 and enter to win 3 free pizzas!<br />
  30. 30. Email’s Relationship with Social Media<br />Is Email Dead?<br />Tips & Considerations<br />We’ve heard about email’s demise every time something new comes along, but the truth is, social media is driving more efficient use of email marketing.<br />Trends are showing that more people are sharing relevant email content with their social network, increasing the value and viral properties of email when it’s properly targeted.<br />Social media can be used to feed email subscriber lists through promotion and develop better segmentation data if social media is used to engage with subscribers on a personal level.<br />Cross promote your communication channels:<br />Talk about special offers send in email campaigns on your Facebook page, direct Twitter followers to your YouTube channel and email your subscribers about all of them.<br />Create special / unique offers for each channel, so customers or prospects have an incentive to sign up for more than one of your lists.<br />Don’t spread yourself too thin – focus on only as many channels as you or your team can handle at once. Being good at the ones you work in is better than being mediocre in dozens!<br />Adjust your thinking when in Social Media and resist the tendency to apply direct mail approaches. Use social media for a more immediate and personal dialog.<br />
  31. 31. Relationship MaintenanceThe key to maximizing marketing ROI<br />Weigh the risks & rewards<br />Tips & Considerations<br />At its best, email marketing delivers personalized and relevant information to passionate subscribers that respond with increased purchases and recommendations.<br />At its worst, it can turn off or offend once-loyal customers who realize that their choice of retailer or vendor just doesn’t understand or respect them and results in lost sales and negative buzz.<br />The three most important factors for email marketing success:<br />1) Trust 2) Relevancy and 3) Value<br />Rate each of your email communications in these three categories regularly, and it may change how you approach your communication style – for the better.<br />Segmentation ideas:<br />Active vs. Inactive subscribers<br />Customer Loyalty (special rewards)<br />Recent purchase history<br />Geographic location<br />List Growth Ideas:<br />Track referrals & forwards and reward top performers. Provide an incentive to share.<br />Offer exclusive content and deals to your subscribers.<br />Promote your list at the register, on signage, in your email signature, on receipts, etc.<br />Promote someone else’s company in exchange for their mutual promotion of yours.<br />
  32. 32. Ideas and What’s Next<br />Video in email<br />Video in email is slowly developing. It’s mostly technology partnerships right now such as YouTube Videos that play in Gmail accounts and Goodmail certified videos that play in AOL accounts. There are also new services are popping up to convert videos to animated .gifs optimized for email delivery. [Tip: Just insert a screenshot of the player linked to the page with the video.]<br />Personalized URL’s<br />AKA PURL’s, marketing software that generates dynamic landing page content based on the personalized URL the visitor enters.<br />Can increase the response rate of both email and direct mail campaigns.<br />Marketing Automation<br />Drip campaigns, triggered email campaigns, and even more sophisticated rule sets to get more marketing done more efficiently. More of these features are making their way into more affordable email service providers’ toolsets, and marketers need to be prepared to utilize them.<br />
  33. 33. Contact Information:<br />Eric<br /><br />Presentation Download: (4MB)<br /><br />[This link will be emailed to all attendees]<br />Don’t Miss:<br />Mobile Messaging Primer: March 23rd, with Heather Sears<br />