Sunday, 4 September 2011

Email marketing is not SPAM! Targeted email delivers results.



Email marketing is often thought of as SPAM


Yet if you consider how many emails are read on a weekly basis (especially in an office environment) then it’s clear that email is an essential form of communication and has a major part to play in helping businesses communicate with their customers.

Whether you are an event promoter looking to keep your customers up to date with your latest events, or a high street retailer looking to offer your customers incentives to purchase, developing email lists should be an essential part of marketing activity. However, even blue chip companies with the largest email databases still fail to follow best practice guidelines. Below we have outlined our top ten tips for implementing best practice email marketing campaigns:

1. Personalise: What do you know about you customers? What do they buy? When did they last buy? How often do they buy from you? How much do they spend? Carry out some customer analysis and group your customers into segments so you can start to personalise your messaging. Consider how you are addressing your customers, Dear first name, second name, Customer? What is appropriate?

2. Make it relevant: People only buy products they need at the time or they purchase products which interest them. It may sound simple yet many businesses still fail to follow this basic rule.

3. Get the timing right: With insurance, for example, there is an annual renewal date so companies should make sure they contact people just before this date, not half way through the year.

4. Test the email: Not only should you test creative and messaging but you should also check that your messages can be read in all the major email browsers. It’s important to revisit testing regularly.

5. Measure the results: There is no point sending out emails for marketing purposes if you are not going to measure the success of the campaign. First you need to decide on what your key performance indicators are. In the most basic form you will want to know:
    - Open rate
    - Click-through rate
    - Click to open rate (number of unique clicks/number of unique opens)
    - Bounce rate
    - Delivery rate (emails sent, measured against bounces)
    - Unsubscribe rate
    - Any complaints?
You may even want to consider joining your email and your web analytics together so you can start to see where browsers go on your website after clicking through from an email.

6. Subject line: What are you trying to say? How can you grab someone's attention? Less is more! Search for common words that are ‘junked’ by Spam filters.

7. Content: Depending on whether you are sending out a newsletter or trying to drive someone to your website to purchase, you will need to carefully consider what you say and how you say it.

8. Images: Try to avoid putting text within an image as most customers will not download images. If you must do this, make sure you use an ‘Alt’ tag reiterating the text within the graphic.

9. Email dimensions: Most people open an email within a window pane so they won’t usually see all of the content if the email is too wide. Try and stick to a width of 650 pixels as a rule of thumb.

10. Do not SPAM! The email marketing industry has developed a bad reputation caused by too many people over exercising their email marketing campaigns. Only communicate with your customers as often as you need to. The number of opt outs should give you an idea of what is appropriate.
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