Posts Tagged ‘Effective email content’
Posted by Dave McCue on September 23rd, 2009
There was a time when I was, indisputably, the most feared pitcher in my small town Little League—for all the wrong reasons. Let’s just say that if you were within three feet of home plate, you had best be wearing a helmet, or you might soon be wearing a fastball. It got to the point that umpires asked my coach not to let me pitch, because my taking the bump meant a long afternoon of hit batsmen and/or walking the bases loaded each inning.
But it wasn’t always like that. Early in my Little League career I was a fine pitcher, but one season I got a new coach who decided that I should change my grip on the ball. Being so young, I didn’t know that the grip my coach insisted I start using was a curveball grip. Suffice to say, not everybody can control a curveball.
My being forced to throw wild curveballs is very similar to the situation faced by email marketers who must contend with “coaches” who don’t realize the damage they are causing. It’s a tough situation to be in; defy the authority of someone who could bench/fire you, or follow orders and hope for the best. Marketers are being told to send more often. Marketers are being told to find more people to send email to, permission-based or not. In a survey SubscriberMail conducted earlier in 2009, one reason cited by marketers who were not conducting adequate testing of their messages was “a C-level aversion to testing.” If that isn’t bad coaching, I don’t know what is.
Occasionally I’ll come across an article in my RSS feed or a post to Twitter that says something to the effect of “Email marketing study finds that relevance is key.” My initial reaction is usually to chuckle and think of similar headlines, such as “Drivers report difficulty when blindfolded,” but even though the importance of relevance in email marketing would seem to go without saying, it’s something that can easily be lost when a misguided mindset of “more more more” controls the strategy of an email marketing program.
For a pitcher in baseball, the ability to throw 100 miles per hour doesn’t mean a thing if the ball isn’t anywhere near the plate. The story is much the same in email marketing; the power is only effective if you can control it.
Posted by admin on May 27th, 2009
An email newsletter (aka e-newsletter and eNewsletter) is often the cornerstone of an email marketing program. They are often used by companies to inform and educate their readers on various subjects of interest – anything from fashion to home improvement. Regardless of the industry, most newsletters serve one primary purpose: reader engagement.
Email newsletters typically contain multiple articles in order to appeal to a few different reader tastes. The main goal, more often than not, is to drive readers to your website to engage further with your company or brand. To get the most out of your e-newsletter efforts, plan it out like a 3-course meal.
When a reader opens your message, you literally have seconds before they make the decision to spend time with you or move on to the next best thing. Using a sentence or two to entice the reader with a tease of what’s to come is one of the best ways to drive clicks. This is your appetizer – hopefully delicious enough to keep them wanting more, without making them full.
The Main Course
If readers click on the link you provided in your email to continue the meal, it means an order has been placed for the main course – your landing page. The obvious objective here should be to keep customers interested, engaged and ultimately satisfied. Make the reading experience easy on the eyes to keep your readers focused on finishing what they started. A landing page shouldn’t be a buffet of distractions, it should leave them licking their chops, using a wet wipe and singing to the tune of “mmm, mmm, mmm”.
Dessert is the ultimate customer temptation and should follow the main course quickly before second thoughts pop up. Of course its not for everyone, and should align appropriately with the overall goals and objectives of your eNewsletter. But for those who do see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the prospect of getting readers to buy after a satisfied main course is a good one. The verbiage at the end of your landing page, overall design, navigation choices, etc. should all lead your customers to a product or offering that is too tempting to pass up.
It’s important to remember that no 1 meal fits all. We all have different appetites so do some testing before you offer something that might give your readers food poisoning. By planning your email newsletter like a 3-course meal, you will be well on your way to a more satisfied, more full customer.
Posted by admin on May 5th, 2009
With spring in the air now, many people will begin their yearly routine of yard work and gardening. Just as it takes a proper (and variable) combination of elements to germinate a seed, your email marketing also requires the right mixture for success. I am referring to a strategy known as a drip campaign.
The theory of using a drip campaign in your email marketing efforts is not new. What is a developing trend, however, is the level of complexity that sophisticated email marketers are using in these type of programs today.
A drip campaign describes an email program that automatically delivers emails to customers or prospects on a predetermined and scheduled basis, basically a steady “drip”. In the past, these email events would continue though their pre-programmed linear series of deployments until reaching the end of the cycle. Perhaps this process of treating your prospects like lemmings (all behaving the same way) worked before but it does not with today’s sophisticated consumers; a more advanced drip campaign is required.
Today’s successful drip campaigns are neither linear nor simple. In fact, some of the most successful programs I have seen when all laid out look like a wiring diagram for the space shuttle. These programs are a massive system of triggered events that send pre-constructed messages based on a series of observed customer behaviors. The program will continue to change and deploy varying messages based on the last consumer action.
Posted by Dave McCue on April 2nd, 2009
If you manage an email marketing program long enough, you’re bound to make a mistake at some point. As Forrest Gump would say, “It happens.”
Recently, I received email from two different senders, each of whom made a mistake that forced them to follow-up with a second email not long after. The two different approaches they took showed the value of having a strategy in place for such situations.
The first email was from Barnes & Noble, one of the few marketing emails I look forward to receiving. However, when I opened the message all I saw was what appeared to be a jumbled, text-only version of the message contained within one solid block of text (complete with 60-character tracking URLs scattered throughout). I deleted the message and moved on, chalking it up to an honest mistake on the part of B&N. It happens.
Later, I received a second communication from Barnes & Noble, with the following subject line:
Correction: This Week — Coupons, Exclusive Twilight DVD Offer, Jonathan Kellerman, Walter Mosley, More
Here was the subject line from the original message:
This Week — Coupons, Exclusive Twilight DVD Offer, Jonathan Kellerman, Walter Mosley, More
There are a few reasons I like what Barnes & Noble did here. Using the same subject line as the original message—but adding “Correction” in front—made it clear to any recipients that hadn’t opened the original that this was not just a duplicate send. In addition, they used snippet text to insert an apology and explanation for the mistake in the previous message. In email clients like Gmail, this apology would have appeared right next to the subject line. I was using Hotmail, so the apology, which was called out in bright red letters, was the first thing I saw when I viewed the message in my preview pane. Below that, the day’s intended message appeared—error-free.