10 Tips to Optimize Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing can appear daunting with the multitude of laws, spam filters and confusion over the best method to use. Whether you're an e-marketing novice or veteran, learning the tricks of the trade can make the process more comfortable and successful. Here are 10 tips to help you get the best results from your email marketing campaigns:
1. Start with the reader's point of view in mind. This may seem obvious, but you have to approach all marketing from a reader's point of view. This is especially true for email marketing, where the recipient will usually judge within seconds whether they want to open your email. If you wouldn't open it if it came to you, chances are your subscribers won't either. But that doesn't mean it's hopeless; just think of something that would draw your subscribers' attention and go with it.
2. Choose a compelling subject line. This is probably the biggest success factor in getting yourself exposed. Remember, no one will see all your brand has to offer if they don't open your email. They'll often choose whether to open it based on the subject line. A catchy subject line can be creative or to the point, particularly if you're advertising a basic need that everyone can use (e.g., "Reliable Local Plumber"). What you might view as your top benefit may not be the best subject line. Subscribers need to trust you in order to open your email; you can get to the rest within the body.
3. Structure your email body. This is more complex, but very important. Once again, you need to look at it from the reader's point of view. Think about their eye flow as they read. This might mean leaving wordy information for the end of the email and starting with a compelling question, offer or benefit sure to capture the reader's attention. A few images can enhance your email, but remember it's not a website. Too much content will overwhelm your subcribers and they'll get bored quickly.
4. Think strategically. As a business owner/manager, you must market yourself based on the best reason to do business with you. There might be many impressive aspects to your company, but think about the primary reason people actually choose to buy from it. This can really be different than your first instinct for email marketing.
5. Lead the reader intuitively to buy. Some of the best emails I've seen give very compelling reasons that naturally convince subscribers to "click here" for more information or to get the stellar offer being advertised. Simply adding a link back to your website won't give you as many clicks or sales.
6. Identify your target market. Choose a large enough market for you to get results in the right areas and with the best demographic information (if applicable). Consider who your current customers are and who you'd like to reach. This might not be simply residents nearest your place of business; it could in fact be a more family-oriented suburb a couple of ZIP codes over, for example. You also might want to consider expanding your radius to really saturate your target area.
7. Repetition is key. Email marketing studies have shown that most prospects must see the same or similar email three times to seven times in order to buy. Don't give up after one or two email campaigns that don't get the initial results you're looking for. Remember, it takes time for a prospect to grow used to seeing your offer and to trust you. It won't happen if they only see your emails once or twice. Persistence and continued relevance can and will pay off.
8. Make a good offer. An information or benefit-driven email usually isn't enough. A good offer will entice readers to act, especially if it's a limited-time offer. This creates urgency which drives buying behavior. Typical "limited-time-only offers" include a dollar value savings or giving something away for free that's inexpensive for you but of value to your prospects. If your offer is a percentage off, remember to include the original price. These types of offers aren't as effective unless the reader knows what the initial cost was so they know how much they're saving.
9. Include some information, but not too much. If your industry is one that people may not know much about, it's important to educate them. Give them basic information, often what you take for granted, but which might be interesting to them — e.g., benefits of creative child care, key financial information or steps to take when looking for a new car, etc. However, don't give away too much or your subscribers will simply use your information without having a need to follow up with you first.
10. Find a convenient sending solution. Most small- to medium-sized businesses aren't set up for mass email marketing, yet email has a payoff in terms of its reach, efficiency and cost effectiveness. Most mass email providers will only let you send to your current customers from your own opt-in list. But you want to reach new people, too. There are companies out there that can do the whole process for you, from design to supplying email lists to sending your emails to tracking your results — all while still staying CAN-SPAM compliant.
Greg Brown is vice president of Melissa, provider of global contact data quality and identity verification solutions that span the entire data quality lifecycle and integrate into CRM, e-commerce, master data management and Big Data platforms. Connect with Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org or via LinkedIn.