We received an enquiry for email marketing recently and as part of our proposal pulled together some email marketing critical success factors too. I’ve summarised a few of these below.
It’s easy for marketers to fall back on email marketing because the costs are seemingly low. However it actually requires good planning to execute campaigns that perform well and achieve a good return on your investment.
Many people before and after this post is published will broadcast an email to an enormous database (aka spamming), achieve a poor response and wonder why. Hopefully these few tips will help you to avoid this trap…
You should ensure your contact database only includes people who are fully opted-in. It is easy to think you can email anyone, but in both b2c and b2b environments you actually need permission to send an email communication.
Of course when you are emailing people who have given you permission to do so, your response rates will be a lot higher than when you don’t have permission. Consider the plight of the plucky door to door sales man who arrives at your front door, unannounced. How quickly is he dispensed of..? Trashing email is much easier.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking consent can be implied too. Just because someone is a client, it doesn’t mean that you can add them to your email marketing database.
It is often tempting to broadcast an email message to a large database in the belief that greater numbers will improve performance. This is rarely the case and you will achieve greater performance through highly targeted data segments. This will ensure your content is more relevant to each specific audience.
For example if you are marketing to small businesses, break them out into different sectors, or job titles. The MD of a dental practice has a different set of needs and wants to the MD of a grocery store, so why not treat them differently. Tweak your copy with industry specific content, personalise it and away you go.
Email marketing as with any communications medium relies on good content to be effective. This is both copy with strong calls to action and design.
When it comes to the design if you are using HTML keep it simple, with at least one call to action above the fold. It goes without saying you need a plain text version of any content too.
With the copy, bear in mind the importance of the subject line, the headline and the first paragraph. You have this much space and time to grab someone’s attention. If you haven’t done it by then, it’s probably too late.
Email marketing effectiveness has as much to do with the campaign landing page as it does the creative of the email. It is therefore crucial the landing page is properly optimised to receive traffic.
If you are promoting an event for example, make sure it is simple to register on the landing page and clear where to get more information such as the agenda or venue details.
People often expend enormous energy on getting people to click on an email, without thinking about what to do with them when they arrive at your landing page.
Email marketing is well documented to work more effectively when integrated with other communications. For example you might consider an email broadcast followed up within three days by telemarketing, or an email to follow-up on a print mailing. These additional communications may help to ensure emails are not missed by your audience.
The campaign creative should be consistent across all communications i.e. branding, messaging, tone of voice etc.
The easy metrics to measure are open and click through rates, bounce rate and unsubscribes. Don’t get me wrong, this is useful to measure and can provide some comparative data to assess future campaigns, but can you look a little deeper with your metrics?
Can you measure goals in your campaign such as registrations, or white paper downloads, or requests for information? This way you will create a cost per response, an actual pounds and pence number against which you can benchmark.
I have barely scratched the surface with this post but we’ll be revisiting this topic area over the coming weeks.
However we would love to hear what other success factors you think are important in email marketing. Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.