Secrets to Email Marketing Success by xug21136


									Secrets to Email Marketing

          Stephan Spencer
     President, Internet Concepts
                 Get Permission
• Opt-in, not opt-out. Get recipient‟s consent in advance!
   – Opt-in: recipient volunteered to receive your email
   – Opt-out: recipient didn‟t have the opportunity to avoid receiving
     your first email, only to avoid receiving subsequent ones
• “Hand-raisers” are a lot more likely to not only tolerate
  receiving your emails, but also to respond favorably
• Read Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
• Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE)
• Typical spam has a bogus sender address,
  bogus unsubscribe instructions, and bogus
• Spam is in the eye of the beholder
• Ensure recipients don‟t misconstrue your
  message as spam
       Distance Yourself from
• Remind recipients that they‟ve given you
  permission to contact them
• Provide an easy way to unsubscribe
• Be sure reply works
• Have it signed by a real person
• Publish and abide by a strict privacy policy
  Improve the Odds that a User
       Will Join Your List
• Provide numerous opt-in opportunities all with low
  barriers to entry
• Make sure the amount of work required to sign up is
   – Many sites only require the email address and all other
     personal information is optional
• Place the email list sign-up on all forms on your site,
  including inquiry, order, and feedback forms
   – Ok to have the sign-up checkbox ticked in advance?
                Privacy Policy
• Builds trust
• Address what you‟ll be doing with the user‟s
  information, both now and potentially in the future
• Post it in an obvious place on your site
• Link to it from your email campaigns
• Abide by it, no exceptions
• Don‟t revoke or weaken it once you‟ve published it
  (Remember the hot water Amazon got into?)
    Consequences of Spamming
• “Flames,” i.e. hate email
• Harassment from spam vigilantes
• Badmouthed in discussion forums
• Blacklisted (SpamCop, etc.)
• You may even have your Internet privileges
  revoked by your ISP
• Remember, perception is 9/10ths of reality
                Deliver Value
• Email should be relevant, timely, and beneficial
• “Value" can take the form of:
   – newsletters, discounts, contests, last minute
     availability, event reminders, invitations, prizes,
     memberships, bonuses, coupons/discounts, exclusive
     sales, free samples, or demos.
• Surveys - give free report or enter them in a draw
• Go paperless - specs, price lists, statements
      Types of Outbound Email
• Newsletters
   – Regularly scheduled messages that deliver timely and
     interesting news, tips, and other informational tidbits
• Promotional messages
   – Inform recipients about special offers
• Discussion forum posts
   – Soft-sell marketing strategy for becoming an accepted and
     trusted member of your target audience‟s online community
      Discussion Forum Posts
• Discussion forums include Usenet newsgroups, email
  discussion lists (listservs), and web forums
• Often overlooked by e-marketers
• Key is to respect the forum‟s non-commercial nature
• Don‟t blatantly advertise
   – Add value by answering questions in a vendor-neutral
     manner, then soft-sell solely through your "signature"
                Signature Line
•   At the bottom of your discussion post
•   Should be short - no more than 4 lines
•   Your name
•   Your company name
•   Your email address (include mailto: in front)
•   Link to your site (include http:// in front)
•   Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
      Components of an Email
• Subject line
   – Most important ~35 characters of the email. Focus on it!
• From line
• To line
• Message body
   – A promotional message should contain a compelling offer
     and a call-to-action
   – An e-mail newsletter should contain a header, a table of
     contents, a welcome, and multiple „departments‟
   – Privacy statement, Disclaimer, and Unsubscribe instructions
             Measure Success
•   Unsubscribe rate
•   Bounce rate
•   Unique open rate
•   Total open rate
•   Clickthrough rate
    – Can separate HTML vs. plaintext clickthroughs
• Conversion rate
       The Bane of the Email
      Marketer: the Delete Key
• The split-second decision - keep it or delete it
• The basis of their decision: the From and
  Subject line
• Your open rate may be overstated
   – Your message may be getting displayed in
     recipient‟s preview pane as he selects it just to
     delete it
• Depends on expectations of target audience
• Email newsletters tend to be weekly or monthly
• Monitor number/variety of contacts to avoid
• Tuesday through Thursday
• 10am to 2pm
• Varies depending on your audience
• In general, keep it short and sweet. Use links.
• Weekly newsletter should be no more than five
  sections, with three or fewer paragraphs each,
• Monthly newsletter can be double or triple that.
• Promotional messages should be significantly shorter
  than a newsletter.
• Include whole articles or just abstracts with links to the
                      Spam Filters
• Spam filters built in Outlook, Hotmail, AOL etc.
• Corporate email firewalls
• Don‟t trip the spam filters
   –   “Free”, “opt-in”, “!!!”, “forward to a friend”, etc.
   –   „Bcc‟
   –   „To‟ line doesn‟t include recipient‟s email address
   –   Scripts
   –   Attachments
          HTML vs. Plain Text
• HTML emails typically have twice the clickthroughs
• HTML offers more control over layout
• HTML looks more „polished‟ (could be good or bad)
• Some old email clients can‟t do HTML, e.g. Outlook 95
• “Sniff” for HTML open or send multiple versions multi-
• Old versions of AOL only support a crippled form of
             Plain Text Emails
• Precede URLs with “http://” and emails with
• Limit the line width to 65 characters
• Headlines in ALL CAPS
   – Reading text in caps is very slow, because people
     read only the tops of letters. ALL CAPS letters don‟t
     have enough differentiation to them
                   HTML Emails
• Tables - to control placement & avoid long lines
• Graphics - <30k, will cause the recipient grief if reading
  email while offline, increases download time
• Color - color text or color a table background, doesn‟t
  impact download speed
• Font - face, size, and color
• Forms - embed in the email to make it easy for the
  recipient to respond to an offer, e.g. seminar registration
   – Auto fill-in as many form fields as possible
• Scripts, Flash, Streaming Video - not recommended!
                   Your Database
• Collect more than just the email address
   –   Name (first name should be a separate field)
   –   Zip code, interests, and other relevant demographics
   –   What else?
   –   Also ask for info that you plan to use in the future
• „Text to Columns‟ feature in Excel
• In-house lists typically perform much better than
  purchased or rented lists
• Tailor the offer to the individual. Beneficial offers are
  relevant offers
• Provide customized content specific to recipient location
  and interests
• Greet the recipient by first name. Perhaps even in the
  Subject line too.
• To line should specify the recipient‟s email address
• Let the recipient control the contact frequency
• Increases the likelihood of being at the right place at the
  right time with the right value proposition
           Segment Your List
• By demographics, psychographics,
  clickographics (visiting behavior and transaction
• Target who‟s most relevant, most profitable, or
  most likely to respond
             Buy or Rent Lists?
• Avoid the use of purchased lists
   – Many have actually been “harvested” from web pages,
     newsgroup discussion posts, or domain contact information
     (from the “whois” database) – without the knowledge or
     permission of the affected individuals
• Rented lists from reputable list brokers may be
   – Is it double opt-in, fastidiously clean of unsubscribes, and
     finely segmented?
     A Veritable List Goldmine
• Email addresses of prospects, potential
  distributors and business partners, journalists
• Member lists - associations, clubs, etc.
• Find them with Google
• Introduce yourself. Be personal and informal.
• Careful! Potential spam territory
               Test, Test, Test!
•   Treat your email campaigns like experiments
•   Have a control group
•   Vary only one thing at a time
•   What to test?
    – The offer, the Subject line, the From line, the
      message copy, the layout, the message length, the
      timing, the contact frequency
               Test, Test, Test!
• Track response rates of each test by making
  call-to-action URLs & e-mail addresses unique
  for each test group
• Special attention should be given to the
   – don't allow recipient burnout, particularly with a
     regular mailing such as an e-mail newsletter
• Test and refine, test and refine
          Software and ASPs
• Reduce the administrative headaches - the
  bounces and unsubscribe requests, the tracking,
  reporting, segmenting, and personalizing
  – Do-it-yourself software. e.g. WorldMerge
  – Or outsource to an e-mail service bureau, e.g.
    MessageMedia ( or
    GravityMail (
               In Summary
• Now you know how to get permission, build your
  database, personalize,segment, test, measure
• Newsletters vs. promotional campaigns
• Frequency, length, content
• The intricacies of HTML
           Further Reading
• Successful Email Marketing by Debbie Mayo-
• Marketing With E-Mail by Shannon Kinnard
• Permission Marketing by Seth Godin

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