Know These Email Marketing Tips
Now is the time to kick off the most fun, frustrating, and rewarding experience you can have: creating your email campaign. This article will help guide you through the details that will make you the best at your newfound craft. This will help you lay the foundation for your email campaign. These are the most critical areas to build in the right way, because they will drive the success of anything else you do in your email campaign.
Preparing Your Resource Arsenal
An email campaign, like anything you do in life, is much easier when you are prepared. To begin building your email campaign, you want to have at hand all the resources and ingredients you will need. You should have a number of items ready to access as you dive into the strategy and content creation.
Many kinds of checklists exist: general, strategic, creative, technical, and assessment. The best way to manage this process effectively is to create a comprehensive resource arsenal, which includes at a minimum the following items:
Make sure you are armed with historical and benchmarking statistics, trends, compliance-related information and insights, and even competitive knowledge. In other words find out whats trending in your niche. There’s no proof like raw data. Try and find email statistics in your niche. Find examples of what competitors have done and follow suite. If it works for them chances are it will work for you.
Creative checklists include lists of what your competitors are doing, including sending frequency, their creative design, best practices for templates and the best strategies for designing for people who are reading emails on the go. Find out whats catching your competitor audience’s attention. The best way to do this is to sign up with the competition. Try finding your top three competitors and sign up for their newsletters. It may take a little patience but over time you will be able to get good marketing ideas from their email send outs.
3. Strategy Resource Sites and Blogs
These can keep you up-to-date on the latest research, best practices, and even give you an outlet to ask an expert a question or two. This is definitely the best way to stay ahead of the curve.
Case studies enable you to learn firsthand from the experience of others about what works and what could be done better. As mentioned before, research and due diligence is critical to an effective email campaign.
What Your Focus Should Be
The focus of this article is to gather all the elements needed for your resource arsenal.
It is estimated that more than 500,000 individuals per week access “self-help” websites and online resources relating to email campaign design, development, and execution.
Googling “email marketing” help generates hundreds of results pertaining to where people can piece together good resources. The challenge with this is, Who has time to sort through all those entries?
Getting smart about email marketing doesn’t mean knowing all the answers. It means knowing what makes email marketing work and what type of resources you need to build something effective. To help you to retain most of what you read, we have decided to condense what you need to know about email marketing into seven key truths. These are facts you should post on a wall somewhere. As you delve into email marketing, you will be challenged to remember these truths.
Truth 1: Email Has Evolved into a Cornerstone of Our Lives
Omniture reports that more than 21 trillion emails were sent in the United States in 2007. These were, by no means, all marketing-based messages. One of the key truths about email you need to retain is that email marketing is just one small facet of a standard person’s “email life”. People use email today for many purposes, both personal and business. In many cases, the use of email is less about reading marketing messages and more about the improved someone’s way of life.
So when you think about email, you must not think about it in the context of a campaign or a single effort, or even as marketing. You must think about it as an extension of personal and life-related communications. This will ensure that your design efforts consistently create a strong brand impact and a sense of personalized loyalty and interest among your readers.
Truth 2: Email Marketing Best Practices Change, All the Time
This is one truth that will help you maintain an edge over your competition. Think about it: When email marketing first started, the world was a different place. Email marketing was new, list growth was simple, spam was a type of meat, and the best practices written at the time did a great job of covering what to do in that environment. Best practices changed for creative, list growth, and delivery. Even as recently as early 2008, changes in the way that email unsubscribes are handled were introduced to ensure that the perception of email marketing remains positive.
What this means to you is that you must always look at the dates of research, case studies, and best practices and hold them up to the standards of the current day’s trends.
Truth 3: Any Type of Messaging Done Electronically Is Email Marketing
Even today, there is still a perception that email marketing is one channel, mobile marketing a second, RSS a third, and even social networking a fourth. In these instances, many companies treat these as separate marketing channels. In today’s online world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep these channels separate because they each act as drivers to the other.
Well, we have news for you! Any message sent electronically is considered email marketing. Why is this a truth you need to know? It’s because the lines among these types of messaging channels will continue to blur as time goes on, and soon the world will rely on “personal messaging” regardless of the location or the device. These media are all driven through Internet channels and require permission and selection of message interests/types. This means everything you are thinking about for email will also become critical to future messaging strategies for your company. As the famous philosopher Yoda once said, “Choose wisely you must.”
Truth 4: Email Addresses are As Good as Money
We recently heard a speaker at an email conference ask the audience this question: “Who here invests in increasing the delivery rate of their emails?” Almost 90 percent of the hands went up. He then asked another question: “Who here spends money to acquire new customers?” Again, 90 percent of the hands went up. And then he asked this: “Who here builds programs to monitor and target those people who provide you their email address but never respond to an email you send versus just removing them from your list after a certain time?”
After the crickets stopped chirping, he went on to explain that his company’s research has indicated that less than 50 percent of a list will ever respond to email campaigns. And research that Jeanniey has done shows that even if someone on your list is not responsive, once they have provided an email address, they will purchase 150 percent more than those who shop at your company but do not opt in.
This means your list value has expanded. It is worth more than just the opens and clicks it drives. You should always plan to evaluate the purchase or response power that people on your list provide through all channels to identify their value.
Truth 5: This Is Not “The Farmer in the Dell”
Remember that grade-school song? The last line is, “The cheese stands alone.” That’s not a smart attitude for email marketing. Many people in marketing assume that email marketing is similar to the “cheese” in this song—a stand-alone messaging channel that drives revenue and strengthens relationships. The truth is, elements of email marketing live in every aspect of our messaging world. Forms sit on websites, capture points happen both online and offline, banners drive to landing pages with forms, and searches drive to deep pages that encourage engagement.
If email stood alone, none of these would be relevant. But for successful email marketing, you cannot afford not to think about all the touch points of your email marketing campaign.
Truth 6: Technology Partners Often Act Like Military Members
Vendors can be tremendously helpful partners. That said, it has often been our experience that technology partners can easily slip into a “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality. Many times, these partners wait for you to ask for a service, feature, or support effort before they provide it to you. The problem with that is that if you don’t know what you are missing, you don’t know what to request. It is for this reason that we encourage you to read the case studies on technology partners’ sites—not just your own technology partner but the top ten technology partners. By doing so, you will be able to see, in context, what types of services and features you should and could be getting out of your partner.
Don’t allow the money you spend in this area to provide you with just the basics. Push for ultimate service and support.
Truth 7: Ignore the Rules (Except the Law)
Someone once told us that you learn more from your mistakes in email than you do from your successes. In most cases, the best mistakes you make are not planned. When you don’t have productive mistakes to learn from, ignoring the rules and trying something crazy to see how it flies can work pretty well, too. We certainly don’t mean to imply that you should ignore the law. You definitely shouldn’t. But, you should think of new ways to share emails and try them with a sample of your database. Some of the most successful “rule-breaking campaigns” of the past have included the following:
Creating an email that scrolls sideways Sharing an “unsubscribe” confirmation landing page that offers ways to opt back in Posting a call to opt in at the end of a video on YouTube Sending an email with a blank subject line
Now that you know the seven truths of email, you can use them to evaluate your tools and resources.
Whether this is your first time creating an email marketing plan or you are a veteran, a sound email strategy presents new opportunities for overall business improvement by putting into place tools and processes that can solve current performance problems and open new avenues to bolster sales and customer satisfaction.
Before selecting or even evaluating new technology solutions, an organization should start by determining the overall objective and scope of their email program, then identifying current problems and obstacles to meeting this objective, and finally creating an inventory of current resources.
Once a company has a clear understanding of what it wants to achieve, what’s keeping it from getting there, and what is already in place, then it can develop an evaluation and selection plan to find the solution and define the processes to fulfill its email strategy.