Do the Right Thing with Email
E-mail marketing has rapidly developed as a key online marketing technique over the past decade, being seen as a highly cost-effective form of direct marketing. This can still be the case, with careful planning and management, but the rise of e-mail spam now makes the task much harder and, together with email regulations, means that implementing a campaign can be fraught with difficulties.
When planning a new campaign, consider the general advice offered on our main e-mail marketing page, but also follow these tips to help develop a successful response:
General planning for e-mail marketing
- E-mail marketing is not free but is considerably less expensive than direct mail. However, your business reputation depends on a professional, targeted campaign as recipients – whether customers or prospects – will still expect a high standard of communication and relevancy to avoid attracting the ‘spam’ label.
E-mail marketing lists
- When building or renting e-mail address lists, these must be opt-in and relevant to the message being sent.
- Wherever possible, use segmentation techniques and vary the message or offer to different groups.
- E-mail lists can decay at a faster rate than direct mail lists – as much as 30% each year – so you need to ensure that ‘bounce backs’ will be recorded and deleted from your database.
- Ensure that every e-mail has a clear and easy to use option for recipients to unsubscribe, and that these numbers from each mailing are recorded.
- Use a recognised address in the ‘Sent From’ field, particularly if you are contacting people who will be familiar with your company or products and therefore will be more likely to accept and read the e-mail.
- Test different subject lines for the message as this will be a key factor in determining whether the recipient bothers to open the e-mail.
- Avoid the use of a subject line that may look like a ‘spam’ email and check the possible occurrence of ‘trigger’ words in the content that spam filters may use to automatically delete messages.
- Make sure that there is effective text (or graphics) included ‘above the fold’ in the preview area as many e-mail users will regularly use the preview panels to determine which e-mails are read or deleted.
- Many e-mail recipients and software packages block images in e-mails, so an over reliance on these could mean part of the creative message is lost.
Testing e-mail marketing campaigns
- Before sending out bulk e-mailings, send out a sample to known recipients to check how the email is being received and, if in an HTML format, that it displays correctly in different e-mail systems.
- When the full mailing is sent out, include ‘seed’ addresses to check that the messages are received correctly and at the right time.
- Track all the different e-mail marketing initiatives, creatives, offers and results so that you build up a record of what is successful and what isn’t. However, don’t test too many elements at the same time.
- Use e-mail as part of a broader online (and offline) marketing strategy to get feedback that will help your future activity. Where possible, provide alternative response mechanisms (such as through a website) and involve or incentivise your recipients and customers to provide feedback that will benefit both parties.
If you would like to discuss the planning and implementation of email marketing campaigns for your business, please contact us now for more information. Alternatively, why not request our FREE marketing assessment to discover what online marketing opportunities may exist for your site.