Posts Tagged ‘email strategy’
Posted by Jay Mooney on May 7th, 2013
In our last post we covered some tried-and-true kickstarters for a testing roadmap. Let’s jump into the next level and ask the tough questions about your testing plan.
Is that the right offer?
I’m not asking you if you are setting up the offer correctly in the subject line — that’s more of a basic email 101 test. But, have you looked at your offer and analyzed to see if you are really getting customers moving? You know what I am going to say…Test it!
• Free Shipping vs. % Discount
• Free Shipping vs. Free Bonus Product
• 20% Discount vs. $10 off your purchase this week.
Develop a grid of offers for your company, then test each of them. See which one drives the results you need to maximize the response, the revenue, and the profit you are looking for.
Earlier this year, John Joseph wrote about the benefits of targeted messaging and increasing relevancy through segmenting customer data. These tactics are vital to improving the performance of an email marketing program. However, what additional information can you learn from observing your audience and their interaction with email?
Here is one idea:
Let’s start with the time of day.
Example: You have identified that you’ve optimized your open and click-throughs by sending at 11:35 a.m. (Let’s assume 65% open between Noon and 5:00 p.m.)
Great! You already know that a larger part of your audience is opening their email during the day, most likely while they are at work. Everyone else is checking email at home after they walk the dog or eat dinner, and now you hope they scroll through to the bottom of their inbox to find all the buried messages. So, would you get an even higher overall result if you split your list into an a.m. and p.m. deployment? Test it.
Take a standard send that you do routinely, and capture your open rate and click-through rate. Then pull your open data and split your audience into an early send and a late send. Your a.m. email surfers will find your email close to the top before they go to lunch, and your p.m. audience will find your email at the top when they get home or when they’re opening up an iPad on the commuter train.
Now combine the open and click-through data for both sends of this single message to determine if you really do have two distinct audiences, compared to the single send. You can add this as an attribute to your email list so that it easier to split your list and schedule sends based on this behavior.
Posted by Jay Mooney on March 29th, 2013
In past articles we have touched upon email testing as a topic. But here are the big questions:
- Are you testing?
- Is what you are testing important?
- Are you testing often enough?
If you are not testing as part of your email marketing program, starting now is virtually guaranteed to boost performance. We get questions from our clients regularly about what is the best subject line, what day of the week or time of day is best to send email, etc. By testing effectively, your audience can provide the data needed to answer those questions.
Tip 1: Get going and set up a testing calendar!
Let’s put aside some of the basic testing variables mentioned above. What is important to driving real results for your email program? Sure you have to major in the minors first, but let’s not stop there.
Spring is here, let’s change the scenery. Changing up the design or layout of your email can lend a boost to your response rates. You may be in love with your email design, but have you determined if it is optimized to drive the response you are looking for?
Here are a few things to consider:
Where is your call to action? Make sure you have clear links visible when your email is being previewed with images off and place the primary call to action or promotional button towards the top of your message so that it does not get lost in a preview frame. Where do you place that button? Test.
Single column? Two-column left? Two-column right? Determine what layout is best for customers to digest your email. The answer may not be the same for all communications. Determine what works best for promoting an offer or webinar invite, and then determine what increases click-through rates in your newsletter.
Text and images or HTML? Without a doubt your branding is important to your organization, but don’t sacrifice sales for a pretty picture. Finding the right balance between text and images is important. Most email clients don’t automatically enable images. Help your customers get your message without seeing the picture and try simplifying your design palate.
Completely at a loss as far as where to start? We can help. Ask about the EmailCOMPASS, a comprehensive, unbiased assessment of your email campaigns from our experts.
If you are not sure how to use the email testing tools in the SubscriberMail platform we can show you how! Just email us or give us a call.
In my next post we will talk about testing your offer and your audience.
Posted by Dave McCue on July 10th, 2009
Successful email marketers are constantly looking for ways to tweak and optimize their messages in order to come as close as possible to the elusive “magic” formula that guarantees the best results. But one aspect of email creative that even these folks are reluctant to change is the From address via which their emails arrive in subscribers’ inboxes, and with good reason.
A very valuable—yet exceedingly difficult—component of email marketing is getting subscribers to “safelist” a From address, which ensures that future messages from that sender will be delivered directly to the inbox without issue. This is why many email marketing messages list the From address in the pre-header with a request for the recipient to add it to their address book.
Messages from senders not on recipients’ “safelist” will often appear with the content obscured and trigger a warning message such as this (from Hotmail):
Obviously, inclusion on the “safelist” is a big victory for any email marketer. So what happens when you—for whatever reason—need to change your From address?
You could take the approach that Nautica took on a recent email I received. Having been on their mailing list for some time, I was a bit alarmed to see the above “You may not know…” warning display in my preview pane when I clicked on the message. My first thought was that a spammer was trying to trick me by using a familiar sender name as a disguise, but reading the subject line didn’t give any indication that the message would be harmful. So I checked the From address, which was “email@example.com.” This is where the importance of branding came into play, because if that From address had looked in any way suspicious I might have marked the message as junk (remember, the content of the message was blocked in my preview pane, so I had no visual evidence to verify the safety of the message). Seeing the From address with the Nautica domain name eased my fears, and I marked the message as safe.
Upon doing so, the message content displayed in my preview pane, and it was immediately clear what had caused the confusion:
Nautica did a good thing on this message by calling out the fact that they had changed their From address, and doing so in a spot where I would be hard pressed to miss it. In just this top portion of the message, there were two mentions of the new address with the standard request to add them to my address book.
There is a risk involved with changing your From address, as this situation showed. If it must be done, just remember the importance of maintaining a brand-friendly sending domain and—as Nautica did—it wouldn’t hurt to go the extra mile and inform recipients why your message was suddenly being flagged as potential SPAM.
Posted by admin on May 14th, 2009
Trying to get new customers to opt-in to your email marketing program can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Even with the most well written description of how amazing your emails are and all the benefits customers will receive, it still remains a big challenge for marketers in every industry.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything in the book to give people a reason to opt-in, perhaps its time to consider using an offer. Here are a few things to keep in mind when developing a promotional offer for list growth:
1. Evaluate Your Resources - If you are thinking of giving away something tangible as a reward for signing up – consider the fulfillment commitment. Giving away t-shirts might seem like the perfect offering, but if you don’t have the resources or finances for handling the fulfillment, you could be in the midst of a logistical nightmare.
2. Test Your Offers - Depending on the industry you are in and your potential customer base, you will want to first test your offers to see what works best. You might think that your customers would love an XYZ Co. golf towel, but they might prefer a calendar. Testing your offers will give you a good idea of what items are driving the most opt-ins.
3. Consider a Sweepstakes – One of the best ways to generate some interest in your email program is to use a sweepstakes entry as an incentive to opt-in. Rock Creek does an excellent job of promoting their monthly sweepstakes in both their email and on their website.
4. Offer a Special Discount – If your resources and/or finances are limited, a discount (percentage dollar amount off) is another great way to get people interested in your email program. These can be printable coupons that they can use in your store, or a unique code that they can use when purchasing online. K-mart does a nice job with offering their customers a nice $5 off for online and in-store purchases.
By doing a little legwork to see what works best for your company, using an offer could be an excellent way to grow your email marketing list.
Posted by Nic Winters on April 20th, 2009
With today’s economy bearing down on marketing budgets around the country, many marketers are turning to email marketing to maximize the ROI for their marketing buck.
As marketers begin to feel more heat on their email marketing strategies, it is easy to begin considering weeding out email campaigns that don’t directly generate sales. However, in this economy it is even more important than in the past to continue building relationships with your customers/subscribers. Even if your monthly newsletter only provides information and doesn’t include sales opportunities, this doesn’t mean you should begin cutting out these campaigns to save marketing dollars.
Don’t fall into the trap of sending only “sales blasts” that don’t offer up any incentives for your readers to continue opening your future emails. Instead be persistent in strengthening your relationships by offering relevant information that your subscribers can continue to expect when they see your email arrive in their inbox.
If you come across opposition in sending out these emails that don’t immediately lead to profits, consider incorporating an ad banner in a side column of your email newsletter that promotes your products/services without overpowering your relevant messaging. Another option to consider is selling ad space within your newsletters to bring in additional revenue. See my blog post from earlier this year on this topic for ideas on how to optimize your emails with relevant ad banners.
Take a step back and realize that this is a key time to stay at the top of your customers’ minds. They may not be ready to purchase today, but continue to build your relationship… and you could be the first thought that comes to mind when they are ready to purchase in the near future.
Has your company had success in growing relationships through email that eventually generated sales? We would love to hear your story!