Thinking Outside the Inbox: Email Marketing Best Practices

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A presentation I gave at IBC that provided a background on email marketing, as well as industry tips and best practices.

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Thinking Outside the Inbox: Email Marketing Best Practices

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Agenda<br /><ul><li>Overview of email marketing
  3. 3. Email design best practices
  4. 4. Examples
  5. 5. Guidelines
  6. 6. Email copy & content
  7. 7. Developing content
  8. 8. Words to avoid
  9. 9. Subject lines
  10. 10. Subject line writing
  11. 11. Words to avoid
  12. 12. Subject line activity
  13. 13. Testing
  14. 14. Importance
  15. 15. An IBC example
  16. 16. Benchmarking
  17. 17. List hygiene & maintenance</li></ul>To get you PUMPED about the potential that email marketing offers for us to communicate to our brokers, customers, and prospective members effectively!<br />
  18. 18. Email marketing<br /><ul><li>The use of email in marketing communications
  19. 19. Direct promotional emails to acquire new customers
  20. 20. Retention for existing customers
  21. 21. Emails sent to encourage customer loyalty
  22. 22. Email to enhance customer relationship
  23. 23. Newsletters
  24. 24. Exclusive offers
  25. 25. Electronic equivalent of direct mail, print newsletter, or advertisement
  26. 26. Much cheaper
  27. 27. Larger ROI
  28. 28. Measurable</li></li></ul><li>“Email marketing works because…<br /><ul><li>…of trust between the sender and recipient.”
  29. 29. …it enables you to send targeted messages and see instant, measurable results.”
  30. 30. …it allows you to send your customers what they want, when they want it.”
  31. 31. …you are reaching customers who have opted in and you know they are interested in what you have to say.”
  32. 32. …there is viral potential.”
  33. 33. …you can prove that it does.”</li></li></ul><li>Email design BPs<br /><ul><li>Email is the black sheep of web design
  34. 34. Readers don’t always know what to expect
  35. 35. Utilize your space
  36. 36. Preview panes
  37. 37. Space above-the-fold
  38. 38. Subject lines
  39. 39. Code like it’s 1999</li></li></ul><li>What makes a good email design?<br /><ul><li>Legally required details
  40. 40. Physical street address, prominent unsubscribe link, viewing options, permission reminder
  41. 41. Simple HTML
  42. 42. Different from web design
  43. 43. Simple or no CSS
  44. 44. Maintains visual connection to the brand
  45. 45. Webpage extends a print brand
  46. 46. Subscribers make a connection
  47. 47. A clear call-to-action
  48. 48. Short URLs</li></li></ul><li>Building the email<br /><ul><li>Use very basic code
  49. 49. Email clients have limited support for modern HTML and CSS
  50. 50. Use basic HTML tables to display content
  51. 51. Keep designs to a single or two-column layout
  52. 52. Most important content should always be above-the-fold
  53. 53. Top left is where most look first</li></li></ul><li>Single column email<br />Header containing logo or link to parent site<br />Body content with links to longer stories or articles<br />Footer which includes links, physical address, unsubcribe link, permissions, deliverability instructions<br />
  54. 54. 2-column email<br />Header containing logo or link to parent site<br />Narrow side column to house other features, links, call-to-action, etc.<br />Body content with links to longer stories or articles<br />Footer which includes links, physical address, unsubcribe link, permissions, deliverability instructions<br />
  55. 55. Taste Our Penne Alfredo with Chicken & Peas Tonight<br />
  56. 56. Discover Special Offers For One Last Summer Escape<br />
  57. 57. MoneyWhys: Putting your finances in perspective<br />
  58. 58. Increase Your ROI with Customized Marketing Efforts<br />
  59. 59. FREE SHIPPING on Select Lenox® Bridal Gifts!<br />
  60. 60. FREE SHIPPING on Select Lenox® Bridal Gifts!<br />
  61. 61. Test your design<br /><ul><li>Set up various test accounts
  62. 62. Test to multiple email clients to identify problems
  63. 63. Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail
  64. 64. Test in multiple browsers
  65. 65. IE, Firefox
  66. 66. Avoid JavaScript
  67. 67. Avoid Background images
  68. 68. Host all of your own images
  69. 69. Set fixed heights and widths for all tables and images
  70. 70. Make sure all links open in new window
  71. 71. Avoid large images above-the-fold
  72. 72. Make sure image looks decent w/ images turned off</li></li></ul><li>Email content & copy<br /><ul><li>Developing content
  73. 73. Make sure content is relevant to audience
  74. 74. Keep a content folder to avoid pressing deadlines
  75. 75. Everyone in organization should contribute ideas
  76. 76. Develop reserve content that won’t lose its relevancy
  77. 77. Watch your numbers
  78. 78. Use those reports to learn about your readers’ interests
  79. 79. Examine your website’s reports
  80. 80. What sections are most popular?
  81. 81. Sign up for competitor newsletters and newsletters you like
  82. 82. Talk to sales reps
  83. 83. Customer interests, issues, questions in the context of your products and services
  84. 84. Ask readers what they’re interested in</li></li></ul><li>Email content & copy<br /><ul><li>Spam words to avoid
  85. 85. Beware of…
  86. 86. Exclamation points
  87. 87. Quotation marks
  88. 88. Dollar signs
  89. 89. Percentage signs
  90. 90. CAPS
  91. 91. Numbers in subject lines
  92. 92. Blue Sky Factory recommends…
  93. 93. Keep the “naughty list” close by when writing emails
  94. 94. Test your emails to various ISPs; make changes and retest
  95. 95. Use a spam checker!
  96. 96. When in doubt, rewrite it</li></li></ul><li>Checklist<br />Once you are comfortable with the design and content, go through one last checklist<br /><ul><li>Does the “From” address display properly?
  97. 97. Is the contact info correct and visibly obvious?
  98. 98. Does the top of the email provide alternative display options?
  99. 99. Does the email explain why the recipient is receiving it and give them the chance to opt-out?
  100. 100. Does the email contain text asking readers to add your “From” address to their email address book?</li></li></ul><li>Email subject lines<br />The best subject lines:<br /><ul><li>Are short
  101. 101. Are descriptive
  102. 102. Provide readers w/ reasons to explore message further</li></ul>Remember:<br /><ul><li>Attempts to stand out via cheesy phrases will not work
  103. 103. Provide valuable, relevant, necessary information
  104. 104. 50 characters or less
  105. 105. Avoid the three worst words: help, percent, reminder</li></li></ul><li>Email subject lines<br /><ul><li>Personalization and localization helps
  106. 106. Mix up subjects for newsletters
  107. 107. Newsletter half-life
  108. 108. Keep subject content fresh
  109. 109. Describe what is inside
  110. 110. Only go above 50 characters for extremely targeted audiences and specific circumstances
  111. 111. Work in tandem with “From” address
  112. 112. Communicate who you are as a sender
  113. 113. Try framing subject as a question</li></li></ul><li>Guess that open rate!<br />
  114. 114.
  115. 115. Ibxpress survey test<br /><ul><li>Survey delivered in July 2009 to 5,764 new portal users
  116. 116. Tested two subject lines using a sampled campaign
  117. 117. 1,510 recipients received subject “Have your say and a chance to win”
  118. 118. 1,472 recipients received subject “IBC is looking for customer feedback”
  119. 119. 2,782 remaining recipients received email with the winning subject line</li></li></ul><li>Ibxpress survey test<br />Have your say and a chance to win<br />IBC is looking for customer feedback<br />
  120. 120. Ibxpress survey test<br /><ul><li>Winning subject sent to remaining 2,782 recipients
  121. 121. 24.64% open rate
  122. 122. 149 clicks to survey
  123. 123. 301 completed survey from initial sends
  124. 124. Reminder sent to those who did NOT complete survey
  125. 125. 21.48% open rate
  126. 126. 240 clicks to survey
  127. 127. 541 total survey respondents = 9.4% conversion rate</li></li></ul><li>Email testing<br /><ul><li>Other things you can test:
  128. 128. Targeting
  129. 129. Which segments perform best?
  130. 130. Promotions
  131. 131. 20% off vs. free shipping
  132. 132. 30% off bs. Multiple purchase discounts
  133. 133. Design
  134. 134. Length of content, images, links, layout, etc.
  135. 135. Landing pages
  136. 136. Types:
  137. 137. A/B split
  138. 138. Multivariate</li></li></ul><li>Email reporting<br /><ul><li>Reporting shows you
  139. 139. Who your email was sent to
  140. 140. Who opened your email
  141. 141. Who opted-out of your list
  142. 142. Who forwarded your email
  143. 143. How many inboxes your email bounced from
  144. 144. Who clicked on what links
  145. 145. What time recipients opened, clicked, etc.
  146. 146. What templates/campaigns/messages performed better
  147. 147. What you should do next time to improve</li></li></ul><li>Individual HMO reporting<br />
  148. 148. Benchmarking<br />
  149. 149. Benchmarking<br /><ul><li>Recent studies show that benchmarks are going out the window
  150. 150. You know your customers best
  151. 151. You are in control
  152. 152. When you send, how often, how long your messages are, what format, etc.
  153. 153. Every campaign is a test for next time
  154. 154. Social media changing email marketing
  155. 155. Becnhmark yourself!</li></li></ul><li>List building and hygiene<br /><ul><li>Never purchase or rent a list
  156. 156. Build your own house list
  157. 157. Slower, but pays off
  158. 158. Bigger response
  159. 159. Co-register with partner site or company and share lists
  160. 160. Grow your permission-based email list:
  161. 161. Place signup form on homepage
  162. 162. Link to form throughout site
  163. 163. Include opt-in link in your email signature
  164. 164. Add link to your company invoices
  165. 165. Offer incentives for signing up
  166. 166. Ask clients and friends to opt-in
  167. 167. Add opt-in checkbox to any “Contact Us” forms</li></li></ul><li>Goals for our emktg efforts<br /><ul><li>Reduce our bounce rates
  168. 168. Be mindful of timing
  169. 169. Stay relevant
  170. 170. Test more thoroughly
  171. 171. Perform more subject, design, content tests
  172. 172. Think more analytically
  173. 173. Work closely with web team
  174. 174. Research and stay informed
  175. 175. MarketingSherpa Benchmark Guide
  176. 176. Improve campaigns and apply for awards
  177. 177. Thoughts? Questions?</li>

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