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Email Marketing – A Conversation Not An Ad

Create a Conversation Not an Advertisement
Email is one of the most influential channels of digital communication and can significantly set your business apart from the competition. A recent email marketing report stated that:

  • 77% of consumers preferred to receive permission-based promotions via email
  • 63% of business respondents cited email as the channel offering the best ROI
  • 68% of small businesses surveyed listed email as their preferred marketing channel

Whether you are perfecting your email marketing strategy or beginning the implementation process, make sure your promotional and automated emails are relevant, data driven and integrated.

Relevant
Some believe the myth that if people subscribe to an email list, then they will always make time to read the emails sent–after all they did choose to subscribe, right? This myth is not true, especially if the emails are neither personalized nor relevant. Personalizing emails is more than inserting a name into the subject line.

Here are three ways to better personalize emails to your subscribers:

  • Allow the subscriber to choose the frequency of the emails
  • Ask the subscriber in the email if the email was relevant to them
  • Provide content based on the subscribers browsing behavior

When you empower the subscriber to choose the frequency and the content of the emails, they will have higher expectations of your emails. In addition, when the content in the email contains items they have actually clicked on or browsed, the content becomes more relevant. These raised expectations will increase the open rates and click-through rates of your emails better than any catchy subject line could.

Data Driven

Your email effectiveness depends on knowledge of your target market and your customer segments. How do you learn about your customer’s email preferences and habits? TEST, TEST, TEST! For example, the timing of when customers receive your emails can significantly increase email success. At my previous company, we found that changing the email time by only one hour raised our conversion by two percent! Your customers will be different than your competitor’s customers, and chances are, they will have different email preferences. Learn about your customers by testing everything. Try and test:

  • Subject Lines (length/capitalization/subscriber name)
  • Layout (more pictures vs. more text, messaging)
  • Messaging/wording (use of the word free, sale, etc.)

Remember just because you have tested something “back in the day” doesn’t mean the results today will be the same. Retest!

Integrated

People don’t want to just read emails, they want to engage! An email is no longer a digital letter or a postcard sent to an inbox; an email is an information hub that directs people to different destinations through clicks. The last thing a customer wants to do is sort through the information in your email, then open a new window, then type in the url (or copy and paste), then navigate the site to the destination mentioned in the email. No! People want to click on the picture or link and be done with it.

For this reason, you want to integrate your emails with all of your communication channels. Integrate your email with your website, with your social media, with your blog. Sometime you need to think of an email as a mini-website that you are sending out to a customer. Remember that your email is only as good as the landing page, so create landing pages that expand upon the email’s content and inspire more engagement. Utilize personalized URLs, or PURLs, to create a more unique customer experience. Your aim is to have a “clicky” email –an email that inspires click engagement through pictures, text links and other forms of content.

“Though each company has different customers and target markets, every company’s email marketing strategy will be built on the same foundation – create data driven, relevant and integrated email conversations”

Avoid Mishaps
Every email marketer will have their share of email mishaps. If you are new to email marketing, here are a few things to avoid:

Keep it Simple: People tend to give your email 3 to 5 seconds before they decide to delete it or keep reading. Avoid emails that are too long and make sure your main message isn’t lost in piles of content. So, step back or get a fresh pair of eyes to make sure your main message comes across instantly.

Holiday Messaging: Holidays provide great marketing opportunities, but make sure you think about the messaging and the holiday – for example Happy Memorial Day may be offensive to veterans.

Broken Links & Misspelling: Remember that spell checker only corrects words that aren’t words. “Their” and “they’re” get by spell checker but not your savvy reader. Also, broken links ruin conversion opportunity and credibility. Double check both of these areas.

Email Provider Testing: It is a good thing to send out a test email, but it is better to send the test email to multiple email providers like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, Earthlink and other email providers your customers use.

Bounce Rate: Monitor your bounce rate and try to continually decrease it. When you constantly have a high bounce rate, email providers may black list you.

Measuring Success
Different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measure the varying success of your email campaigns.

Open Rates: (#of people who open your email/ total emails sent) This metric helps you understand how effective the subject line/theme is and how credible your brand is to your audience.

Click Rates: (#of unique clicks/total opens) This metric helps you get a gauge of how engaging and relevant your emails are to your customer segments.

Conversion Rate: (# of people who convert to customers/total emails sent or opened) Ultimately, you want that your emails convert prospects to customers.

Revenue-per-mail: (Total revenue/ number of emails sent) This metric helps you gauge the revenue each email potentially brings.

Profit-per-mail: (total profit/number of emails sent) This metric helps you gauge how much profit each email potentially brings.

Both the revenue-per-mail and the profit-per-mail help you determine how effective your email channel is in your business. Depending on the nature of the campaign, an email’s KPIs can be very high in certain categories and very low in others. It is important to establish the goals of the campaign and then choose a few KPIs to measure your success in reaching those goals. If you have specific questions on how you can make your email campaign more effective, contact a local AlphaGraphics Marketing Professional.

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