Friday, December 9th, 2011
Working on countless email campaigns over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about email marketing. I’m still learning, in fact. But here are 5 truths about email marketing that I’ve discovered to date.
- ROI is the only metric that really matters—There are all sorts of different things you can track with your email marketing campaign, but if it doesn’t give you insight into the ROI of your campaign, it’s probably not all that important.
- Design is important—I’m a copywriter, so I’m always focused on the message, but I also know that how the message is presented to the subscriber is just as important as what the message actually says. Too many companies overlook email design. They stick to generic templates that are dull and ineffective.
- Email marketing isn’t easy—No matter how much you know about email marketing, the sad truth is that it’s not easy. Nothing worth having is. You have to constantly put in the work to figure out what works for your campaign. And once you figure it out, who’s to say that won’t change down the line? It’s a constant learning process, but if you stick with it and learn from your mistakes, you’ll be successful.
- The money is in the list—You need to devote as many resources as you can into growing a quality list. Yes, it’s important to spend time writing strong messages, but if the right people aren’t receiving them, it’s all for nothing. You should constantly be working to grow your list without sacrificing quality. The larger your list (if it’s of good quality), the more money you stand to make. It’s simple mathematics.
- There is always room for improvement—No matter how great your campaign is performing, there’s always something you could be doing better. You could be writing better subject lines to get higher open rates. You could be doing a better job of building your list. Your calls to action could be stronger. Your links could be getting more clicks. Don’t ever allow yourself to get comfortable. Keep testing and keep pushing your campaign to perform even better.
What are some other email marketing truths? Share yours by leaving a comment below!
Monday, September 26th, 2011
For email marketing to be effective, your messages have to actually reach your subscribers’ inboxes. Duh, right? Unfortunately, email deliverability is a constant struggle for a lot of companies, as many struggle to keep their emails out of the SPAM folder.
The good news is there are some things you can do to increase your email deliverability rate, and they’re actually fairly simple changes.
Here are 5 easy tips for keeping your emails out of the SPAM folder.
- Build your own list—Buying a list is an easy way to harm your reputation as a sender. These lists tend to be full of dead emails and people who will report you for sending them unsolicited emails. Building your own email list not only protects you against SPAM complaints, but it also helps to increase your open rates and conversion rates because the subscribers are truly interested in your content.
- Scrutinize your content—Make sure you avoid spammy words in your emails, and if you link out to any websites, ensure they are quality pages that are trusted. Also, host your images on credible sources only.
- Ask subscribers for whitelist treatment—The only surefire way to avoid the SPAM folder is to ask new subscribers to add your email address to their address book. This guarantees that they’ll receive your messages in their inbox.
- Create a positive reputation for your From address—Have a dedicated email address for your email marketing campaign (e.g. email@example.com), and only send high quality, relevant content from that address. This will help build credibility for that From address, so you don’t earn a reputation as a spammer.
- Track deliverability—Always monitor every aspect of your email marketing campaign, including deliverability rates. If your messages are getting through, figure out what’s causing them to get blocked.
What are some of your best tips for improving email deliverability? Share them by leaving a comment.
Sunday, July 31st, 2011
I’ve been long singing the praises of email marketing. When done properly, email marketing can be very effective at driving sales and improving customer retention. However, the success of your email marketing campaign relies heavily on the content contained in your emails. If the content doesn’t suck readers in, they’re going to stop opening your emails and eventually unsubscribe from your list.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure your eNewsletters contain a good balance of content. I’ve found that it’s usually not enough to send one sales pitch after another to email subscribers. You have to balance out your marketing messages with content that rewards readers.
What type of content is that?
Anything that’s useful or helpful. For example, let’s say you own a home improvement store. While you certainly want to keep customers updated on any sales you might be having, you don’t want every message you send to them to be a sales pitch. They’ll tune out.
You’d need to balance out those sales pitches with useful content. In this case, it could be an article with tips for building a deck on your home, a guide to home improvement projects that add the most value to your investment, or even a funny picture or video loosely related to home improvement.
Content like this keeps readers engaged. It gets them to open and read your emails, and it makes them more receptive to your sales offers.
Take a look at your newsletters and email marketing content. Does it have a healthy balance?
Friday, June 17th, 2011
Every week, I get several email leads through my website. After managing these email leads for the past few years, I’ve learned a thing or two about the best ways to turn email leads into sales.
Here are 5 simple lessons that will benefit you greatly.
- Respond as quickly as possible—Timing is everything. We live in a day and age where customers expect you to be there for them 24/7. If you’re not able to respond to their inquiries within a few short hours (faster during regular business hours), they’ll go to one of your competitors—every single time. So, instead of telling yourself you’ll get to that email later, respond to it now.
- Address all points in their email—Make sure you truly answer their email inquiries, rather than just sending back a generic “thanks for contacting us” email. Before you hit send, look back at the original email and verify that you’ve answered all of their questions. This demonstrates that you’re actually listening to the customer and that you care about their needs.
- Take the bullet points approach—Your responses should be tight, focused, and on point. That’s why I take the bullet points approach to my email responses. I provide short, to-the-point responses to all points in the original email, ensuring my response is well-organized and easy to scan.
- If you don’t hear back, follow up—Don’t just assume that because you don’t get a response from your email that the customer is no longer interested in doing business with you. Give them a day or 2 to respond, and if you don’t hear back from them, send a brief follow-up email to keep that lead from cooling off.
- If you still don’t hear back, follow up again—A week or so has gone by and you still haven’t heard back from them? Follow up with them again. And keep following up on a weekly basis for the next month. You’d be surprised at how many sales I’ve closed by following up on leads that many others would have let go cold.
What are your tips for responding to email leads?
Monday, April 11th, 2011
If you’ve followed this blog for any decent period of time, you know that I’m an ardent supporter of email marketing. I believe a well-done email marketing campaign can generate an unmatchable ROI. The problem is that most email marketing campaigns aren’t well done. They take time to refine. They require constant upkeep to get them performing the way you desire.
That’s why I’ve come up with 5 simple maintenance tasks you can perform to continuously improve your email marketing campaign.
- Customize your email template—Avoid using a generic template for your emails, because they look, well, generic. Email marketing plays an important role in branding, so doesn’t it make sense to create a custom template that incorporates your brand’s unique look? It’s the little details like this that make a big difference in branding.
- Study your data—You should always be tracking everything related to your email marketing campaign—delivery rates, open rates, clickthroughs, etc. Pay close attention to this data, and more importantly, use this information to tweak your email campaign for improved performance.
- Test everything—The best way to figure out what works and what doesn’t work is to test everything. Test out different subject lines, different link placements, and other variants to your emails. Then, you can clearly see which tweaks improve your results.
- Ask for feedback from subscribers–Nobody is more qualified to tell you what they’d like to see in your emails than your actual email subscribers. Encourage them to provide feedback so you can deliver the types of messages they prefer.
- Pay attention to other email marketing campaigns—I receive emails from probably a dozen different companies. It’s not because I particularly care what these companies are offering. I just want to study their campaigns and see what I can learn from them. I recommend you do the same.
What are some of your tips for improving an email marketing campaign? Share them by leaving a comment below.