Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
Email marketing is a highly effective marketing tool, but to be successful, you need to have subscribers. Active subscribers, to be precise. Unfortunately, it’s a constant struggle to keep subscribers engaged and to prevent them from unsubscribing from your list, never to come back.
How can you keep your email unsubscribe rate as low as possible? Here are some tips to help you out.
Understanding the reasons people unsubscribe
First things first, before you can begin decreasing your unsubscribe rate, you need to understand why people are unsubscribing. According to this study by Epsilon, the common reasons people unsubscribe include:
- Irrelevancy of emails
- High frequency rates
- Fears of email addresses being sold or shared
- No recollection of signing up for emails
You could also try to survey people as they unsubscribe from your list, asking them to please take a moment to let you know their reason for unsubscribing. Of course, the survey would have to be done on a volunteer basis, but you’d likely get at least a few responses from it. You may even want to offer something in exchange for completing the brief survey.
Things you can do to reduce your unsubscribe rate
Now that you understand some of the reasons people unsubscribe from email lists, let’s discuss how you can mitigate this problem.
- Learn your subscribers’ preferences—Because irrelevancy and high frequency rates are the two top reasons for unsubscribing, you need to make an effort to learn the preferences of your subscribers. Encourage your subscribers to update the preferences of their profile, so you can learn what type of content they wish to receive and how often they want to receive it.
- Segment your list—Not everyone on your list is the same. You need to divide your list up based on subscriber preferences and other characteristics (e.g. products purchased, location, etc.). This will allow you to target your subscribers with higher accuracy, and it will help prevent irrelevant mailings.
- Let people know what to expect up front—In your pitch to get people to sign up for your email list, let them know exactly what they’ll be receiving from the start. If your emails are mostly for special offers, make sure that’s clear so someone doesn’t sign up expecting to receive something different.
- Assure subscribers that you protect their privacy—On your signup forms, reassure new subscribers that you will in fact protect their privacy and never sell or share their information with anyone else. This can increase subscribe rates and reduce fear with your current subscribers.
- Send a welcome message to new subscribers—Many people unsubscribe from lists because they say they don’t remember signing up for them in the first place. That’s why you need to send a welcome message to new subscribers immediately. Start building that relationship and familiarity, and make sure they actually did intend to sign up for your list.
What are some of your best tips for reducing email unsubscribe rates? Share them by leaving a comment below.
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
Most companies think they can slap a signup form on their website and start building their list without much effort. While your signup forms might generate some activity, it probably won’t be enough to generate the amount of signups you’re hoping for. Just because it’s free and fairly simple to sign up, doesn’t mean people will take the action you want them to.
Remember, you are asking them to take an action. You’re selling them something, even if it’s free. Naturally, you need to sell people on the idea of signing up for your email list. It’s the same concept as selling your product. You have to view it that way.
Simply put, you have to answer the question “Why should someone sign up for my emails?”
Are you going to be sending them exclusive deals they can’t get anywhere else? Will you be offering a freebie (e.g. whitepaper, free trial, ebook, demo of your product, etc.) in exchange for signing up? Are you going to be sharing helpful information in your emails?
Before you start asking for signups, you need to have the answers to those questions. You need to make a list of the benefits people will receive by being on your email list. Once you’ve come up with a list of these benefits (e.g. exclusive sales, advanced notice about important events and product releases, helpful information, etc.), you need to promote them in your signup space. Let people know exactly what they stand to gain by taking the simple action of signing up for your free email list.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to test different offers to see which one gets the best response from your target audience. Just remember, having a basic signup form with no offer or no call to action isn’t the way to grow an email list.
Monday, December 19th, 2011
Autoresponders can be a highly effective marketing tool for virtually any type of business. An autoresponder puts your email marketing on autopilot. Whenever someone signs up for your list, downloads one of your free reports, or takes some other action that lands them on your email list, a series of messages is sent out to them. This eliminates follow-up mistakes, and when fine-tuned correctly, it can drive sales to new heights.
Here are 5 simple tips for creating a great email autoresponder series.
- Let subscribers know what to expect—At the beginning of the autoresponder series, you need to welcome the new subscriber and give them an idea of what to expect from you in the coming weeks. If you just start randomly bombarding them with emails, you’ll probably tick off a lot of people. But if you build their excitement for what’s to come, that’s when you’ll see results.
- Keep it fresh—If you’re sending a long series of messages, you need to mix things up to keep your readers interested. Play around with the style, length, tone, and format of your messages. One email might be 1,000 words long, another could be just 200 words. Mix it up to keep things as fresh and interesting as possible.
- Focus on one topic per email—Each message in your autoresponder series should be focused on one tactic or tip. You don’t want to overwhelm subscribers by cramming too much information into a single message.
- Highlight your expertise—If you’re sending out an autoresponder series on a topic, you’re presumably an expert on that subject. Rather than just providing general information the subscriber can find anywhere, really try to focus on your personal experiences and your true expertise.
- Make your sales pitch stronger with each new message—As each new message continues to provide the subscriber with more useful information and more details about the benefits of your product or service, the sales pitch should get stronger and stronger. You may want to include special offers throughout the series to motivate subscribers to take action.
Do you use autoresponders to promote your business? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.
Friday, December 16th, 2011
Email marketing success boils down to effectively testing all the different elements of your campaign. By testing different tweaks and variations, you can clearly see what changes improve performance and which ones cause a decline.
But what exactly should you be testing out different versions of in your emails? Here are 6 things to get you started.
- Subject lines—The subject line is often cited as the most important part of the email. It’s what recipients first see, and it plays a big role in determining whether or not they’ll actually open the email. Test out different subject line variations to find a formula that gets you the highest open rates.
- Number of links—A lot of studies have been done to see what the ideal number of links is to place inside an email. More seems to be better, but what is too much? You need to test different numbers of links in your emails to see what drives the most traffic and the highest quality of traffic.
- Link placement—Staying on the subject of links, studies have shown that link placement also affects click-through rates. That means you need to test placing your links in different spots in your message to identify the sweet spots that get the highest number of clicks.
- Calls to action—The call to action is always important in getting clicks and making sales. Not only do you need to test different offers, but you also need to try changing the wording and location of your calls to action.
- Personalization—The studies on personalization in emails are so contrary to one another that it’s impossible to know what to believe. That’s why the best thing to do is to test it for yourself. Try personalizing some of your emails to see if it influences performance at all.
- Overall layout—I think too many marketers tend to overlook the actual design of their emails. Email design is very important and plays a huge role in the effectiveness of your campaign. How the information is presented is just as important as the information itself. So, try different layouts to see what works best for you.
What are some other things you test in your emails? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Monday, December 12th, 2011
The holidays are here, and one of the best ways to drive sales is with email marketing. But your efforts have to be sharp and focused to get the results you desire. That’s why I’m sharing these 5 quick and easy tips for effective holiday email marketing.
- Increase your mailing frequency—It’s a good idea to increase the frequency of your emails during the holiday season. Your competitors will be working harder than ever to get those sales, and if you’re not around, you’re risking missing out. If you’re only sending a monthly newsletter right now, still send that, but you should also send promotional emails on a more frequent basis during the holiday season.
- Be very specific in your subject lines—Your subscribers are getting a lot of marketing emails this time of year. My inbox is flooded, and the vast majority of those marketing emails get deleted without me ever opening them. That’s why your subject line is so important. It needs to be powerful and as specific as possible. Don’t use generic subject lines like “This week’s holiday deals.” Be more specific with subject lines like “5 great gift ideas for dad” or “24-hour sale on gifts for mom.”
- Focus on limited-time offers—During the holiday season, it’s even more important to get customers to buy now before they exhaust their budgets. Your offers need to be stronger than ever before, and they have to make customers snap out of their procrastinating ways and place an order right this minute. Putting a time limit on your offers is one of the best ways to get customers to act fast.
- Don’t just focus on Christmas—This is the holiday season. There’s Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. So, don’t just focus your messages on Christmas. Using the term “holidays” serves as a good catch-all.
- Remind last-minute shoppers about shipping dates—Some shoppers will wait until the very last possible moment to place their orders, ensuring they arrive just in time for Christmas. Make sure you remind customers about the deadlines for placing orders to ensure they’re shipped on time.
What’s your best holiday email marketing tip? Share it by leaving a comment below.