Email marketing: Ten killer tips

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Modern day marketers need to be aware that their brand messages are at risk of being swallowed up in the abyss that can be email marketing. On average per person, per day consumers are receiving over 30,000 advertising messages, so it is essential that your business stands out from the crowd. Below are my essential, top ten email marketing tips:

  1. Design for the small screen. You have one chance to get someone to respond to an email. As smartphone usage explodes, it’s imperative to design email messages so people can interact with them on their mobile devices.
  2. Have a welcome program. Failing to welcome new subscribers is akin to a store clerk ignoring people when they walk in the door. A welcome message, or ideally a series of welcome messages, will ease people into the email stream, boost sales and minimise spam complaints.
  3. Exercise list hygiene. ISPs are getting more and more particular about delivering commercial email. They want to deliver email people want and filter the stuff they don’t. The key to delivery is engagement. The trick is knowing which email addresses to remove and which are email addresses held by customers who want to hear from you but simply don’t need you right now.
  4. Know your metrics. Intelligent decision making in email marketing is impossible without knowing which metrics are important and what they mean. A lot of email marketers mistakenly put too much focus on process metrics such as open rates when analysing testing or performance - potentially leading to ineffectual decisions.
  5. Have an abandoned-order program. This one’s a no-brainer. A typical abandoned-order program will account for fractional percentages of a marketer’s outbound email volume and double-digit percentages of their email sales.                                           
  6. Have a win-back programme. Another no-brainer. Former customers are your best prospects. The key is defining what exactly a “former customer” is, spotting behaviour that indicates customers are ready to defect, and testing for the right approach to get them active again.
  7. Triggered message series. Your customers expect relevant and targeted emails. If your messages are triggered by actions they’ve taken, such as abandoning a cart or viewing a web page, they are more likely to be engaged and make a purchase. Still, sometimes they need a reminder to get them to take the desired action. Consider using individual behaviours to trigger follow-up emails based on specific or lack of specific actions by recipients. You may be surprised at the additional ROI you’ll see when you add a second or third email to a triggered message series.
  8. Get social. Don’t consider your email programmes to be distinct from the rest of your marketing activities, particularly social media. Suggestions include “share to social” in all emails to increase their reach, using Facebook forms to get new subscribers and including “follow us” links at the top of emails to boost social media take up.
  9. Do Your Emails Need Ketchup? Think of your email messages as if they were burgers. Many marketers automatically add “ketchup” in the form of discounts and free shipping. However, what they really need is a better-tasting burger. Rethink the quality of the ingredients that go into your emails. Creative emails with genuine personality will provide a reason for subscribers to anticipate your next message and will ultimately yield a higher ROI.
  10. Steady, Reliable Growth is the key to Email Success. Acquiring a sizable database of email addresses is a prerequisite of a successful email marketing program, but it’s also one of the easiest aspects to get wrong if you aren’t fussy about how you acquire names. Some email marketers want to blast out their messages to millions of people right away, collecting email addresses any way they can. Others build their databases from multiple sources, from people who have opted in to their messages at their websites and through verifiable offline sources. Assembling a million-address database takes longer this way, but they end up winning the email race in the end.

So there you have it, what is hopefully a guide to successful email marketing. Put these tips into effect, combine with planning, personalisation and patience and you too can be an email marketing hero.

John Watton is senior marketing director at Silverpop.


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