Email Marketing has lost some of it’s power due to rampant abuse and spam that have the effect of desensitizing peoples perception of the medium and confusing users as to what is legitimate or junk. That being said outside of a dominant organic SEO position, email marketing still outperforms all other marketing channels in terms of cost and return on investment and there are steps you can take to effectively build relationships online that will mitigate the discontent where it exists.
If you have never created an email campaign the easiest way to get started is to simply examine the marketing emails you receive. There are numerous online resources that can assist the newbie email marketer but for those of you who have some experience with email marketing campaigns this post will cover optimization of your email marketing and improvement of your email marketing results.
Formatting the copy
The format of your email is critical. Important information goes at the top and I mean the very top of the email. Though it is common practice in most businesses to put a graphic header in the email this is a classic mistake. Most email readers now block images by default forcing your recipient to take an extra step to see your graphic content. This is unlikely as your reader scans through several dozen or more emails. Business users typically use the preview pane in outlook to aid in the scanning of email content. An image header in this view will appear as a blank space or just the alt tag for the image. These users give far less weight to emails that are not formatted for their ease of use.
The Subject Line
Subject lines should be short, catchy and relevant to the email content.
Webinar – Learn how to maximize your email marketing for increased productivity and ROI
Email marketing roundup, productivity and ROI
Top 5 Tips email marketing ROI
Start with a well defined subject line. In the three examples above you can see how each subject would lead you to take a completely different approach to the same content.
There are two primary layouts used in business email. Single link Event/Promo style and Multi-link Newsletter style. Each has a specific use. You have probably seen and may even be tempted to create a newsletter style marketing email with offers and special sales and incentives but this is a mistake. Our research has shown that customers respond far more favorably to a single purpose marketing email but wont scan through a newsletter style promotion to compare the various sales offers. Newsletter subscribers on the other hand will anticipate the longer newsletter format and scan through multiple story excerpts looking for relevant content but will also be turned off by newsletter disguised sales promotions.
Using Layout style to your advantage
Do create a newsletter that outlines headline news and interesting story lines and then send separate periodic single purpose marketing emails to promote events or special promotions. Studies have shown that an average customer takes 3 marketing touches for brand awareness and 5 marketing touches before the sale. So it is to your advantage to send separate emails over a period of weeks rather than trying to jam everything into one newsletter style email.
Tracking and Metrics
Most any email marketing service provider will have the standard tracking tools available.
You want to track:
Deliver-ability and Bounce Rate (Are my emails being received?)
Opens (Are my emails being read?)
Click-through (Is my content generating interest?)
Keep a log of these metrics and compare percentage change from email to email and month to month. This will allow you to measure the impact of subject lines (Opens) and content offers (Click-through) . Over time you may see certain offers resonate with your customers better than others. Use this information to improve your email marketing effectiveness.
Create a calendar of your fiscal year and break that into four quarters. Now notate all trade shows dates you will be presenting/attending. Around each of these dates you can anticipate sending an invite to your prospect list. You can also plan your monthly newsletter. Now look at what remains in each quarter and plan another 3 to 5 promotions that will go to your house list and other rented or 3rd party promotions. This calendar approach will commit you to driving a full force email marketing effort that will give you the highest possible returns.