11 Tips To Keep Your Email Marketing Alive and Well
In case you’ve been wondering about the future of email marketing and whether your business should be using email to communicate with clients and prospects you’ll be interested to know that the May 2011 Pew Research & American Life Project reported that email is still one of most popular online activities among U.S. adults. With 92 percent of online adults using email and 61 percent using it daily, according to Pew Research, “Marketers cannot afford to ignore this marketing tool.”
In this post we offer 11 tips to keep your email marketing alive and well, and ready to move into 2012:
1. Write Emails for Mobile Consumers
As the Pew Research study suggests people haven’t stopped checking email, in fact, with the increase and popularity of smartphones, emails are coming before people’s eyes with higher and higher frequency. That being said, businesses will want to make certain that their emails are mobile-user friendly.
Lindsey McFadden suggests changing the font size, type and color to help make your mobile version more readable e.g. darker text can be easier to read on a mobile device; control the width and height of tables and images to fit better on a mobile device e.g. resize a 400×200 image to 200×100; control the spacing so that linked text can be more easily selected with a finger.
2. Use Email for Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing
Wikus Engelbrecht suggests that marketers introduce themselves, and qualify leads by tracking how your would-be customers are interacting with your email newsletters, keep people interested by sending information emails, offering free resources, such as white papers and eBooks or invitations to webinars, make your emails relevant and advantageous to the recipient, follow up with customers after purchases to show you care and keep earning trust.
3. Pay Attention to Your Email Copy
Imagine if you will the inbox of any email account. Messages pour in at all times of the day. What will make one email stand out from the other? For starters, who the email is from and the other, the subject line. Make sure that your email won’t be misconstrued as spam but rather a message from a trusted source and advisor. It may be that your customers know your company name and not the name of your email newsletter and so would be more inclined to open an email from your business.
Or, perhaps the subject line caught their attention. Let’s say someone has already taken the next step, they recognized the name of you or your company, liked the subject line and opened the email. Can you grab them within those first few seconds after the email has opened? One way might be to personalize the message so the individual sees their name in the header instead of a random “Dear Colleague” or “Dear Customer” salutation. Insert the person’s name, establish a more personal bond from the onset.
4. Think Multi-Touch Campaigns and Messaging
Depending on the type of business you may find that it’s important to get in front of your customer multiple times. For example, as a B2C business may you may have a special offer that you think would be of interest to your leads and customers, so a few days before Columbus Day you start off with a subject line such as “20% off until Columbus Day” then two days before Columbus Day your subject line reads, “20% off until Columbus Day” and on Columbus Day, you finally write, Columbus Day, 20% off: Sale Ends Today.”
This is a multi-touch campaign–you make sure your audience has plenty of opportunity to see and act upon your message.
5. Use Double Opt-In
Matthew writes on the MailChimp blog that double-opt-in’s create higher open rates. On a double opt-in list, all email address must be confirmed before they are added. A request for confirmation is sent to the submitted address and the address owner must take some action to confirm that
6. Have a Purpose: Don’t Send Emails Blindly & Wildly
Segment and target your emails according to the user’s location, purchasing behavior, and their profile.
7. Offer Content Variety
Variety is often the best practice for email marketers. Ideas include sharing client stories, videos, interviews, photos, and showing the human-side of your business. While you’re at it, be sure too, to integrate your email marketing messages with your other social networking platforms. It’s a great way to build community, show thought leadership, and re-purpose worthwhile content.
8. Email Marketing Service Providers
Pick a provider for you email marketing services. You can compare features and pricing and many also provide free trials. Look for features such as: analytics reporting; what kind of support they provide e.g. dedicated account manager, email support, campaign strategy consultation, specialized training courses; delivery methods; integration with content management systems; social networking signup form options. Still looking for a company? Ask for recommendations, look at the bottom of an email newsletter you receive from a respected, trusted business and see who they are using.
9. You’re Only as Good as Your Email List
Spend time building your email list and cleaning it up. People move around, they change jobs and email addresses. Make sure your bounce rates aren’t going up disproportionally, remove inactive subscribers, ask people to confirm their email addresses for you periodically.
+ Christopher Penn told me that one of his favorite takeaways from the recent WhatCounts Email Summit in Las Vegas was from Mike Lynch, WhatCount’s VP of Technical Services who spoke about progressive profiling. “Collect the barest minimum pieces of data at signup and then throughout the customer lifecycle, continue to ask for and append a couple of pieces of data at a time until you have a total profile, but gently built so that you don’t scare off the customer.”
10. How Often Should You Send an Email?
Jay Goltz wrote in a NYTimes blog post, “Find a balance where you don’t lose too many people, but you do get your message out. Just like when you raise prices, you have to accept that some people are going to opt out–even if you e-mail only twice a year.”
11. Test & Assess
Test what’s working in your email campaigns and make necessary adjustments in your content and frequency of posting.
What tips do you have to keep email marketing alive and well? Share your ideas in the comments below.