3 Difficult Ways to Improve Email Marketing That Pay Off Easy
As anyone who pays attention to the news knows, the economy is not exactly on a firm foundation. The United States Postal Service is losing money faster and faster every day—with a $15.9 billion dollar loss this past year.
But it gets worse for email marketers: The idea of taxing the huge amount of emails sent each day to help offset that loss is something more and more politicians are considering.
In March of this year, the California District 8 Supervisor Gordon Wozniak made these comments: "There should be something like a bit tax. I mean a bit tax could be a cent per-gigabit and they would still make, probably, billions of dollars a year … And there should be, also, a very tiny tax on email."
He also said this would have the added benefit of discouraging "spam."
Gee. I wonder if he is using "spam" as a synonym for "non-personal" emails? Heck, I'm sure most Americans would agree with him if he were.
So, what can you do as an email marketer to protect your business from any potential email tax or regulation?
You can make a big push to maximize your email marketing right now by following the three tips below:
1. Verify ALL Email Addresses
Keep your list clean from the very beginning by verifying ALL email addresses—it improves list quality and decreases bounces.
Trust me, a large amount of your opt-ins are definitely fake. People have long since caught on to the "give me your email and I'll send you this free thing" paradigm. They've been scammed, tricked and spammed to death, and they connect all of that to the email-for-free-thing "trick."
What's their solution? Use fake email addresses as much as possible!
You might think the solution is to use opt-in confirmation (A.K.A. double opt-in). But almost every marketer I speak with loathes opt-in confirmation with a passion. It not only squeezes your lead flow down to a trickle, it also creates another layer of complexity to your marketing. And that is never a good thing.
So single opt-in is definitely the way to go, but how do you verify the authenticity of emails while using single opt-in (no confirmation)?
By using a service that verifies the authenticity of email addresses. Doing this allows you to check email addresses before they go on your list, which will ensure your list only contains real email addresses.
NOTE: If people does give you a fake email, I recommend redirecting to a simple Web page informing them that their free gift is being emailed to them—which, of course, is not true, because they used a fake email address. Let them decide whether to go back and use a real email address or not.
2. Use an Autoresponder Designed for High-risk Deliverability
Use an autoresponder system designed for "high-risk" deliverability from the very beginning—it increases email deliverability.
All across the board, deliverability is shrinking. It's a problem that is almost impossible to track for email service providers, which means you can't check it the way you can open rates or clickthrough rates.
Which means it's probably causing you to go in circles.
Are your decreasing open rates a copy problem? Are your subscribers losing interest in you? Is your lead quality being diluted with bad leads? Until you have deliverability taken care of, you will always wonder if deliverability is the hidden underlying problem.
The solution: Lay a foundation of deliverability by using a system that was designed to maximize delivery of "high-risk" emails. Not all systems were engineered with that kind of deliverability in mind.
The big email services tend to focus their marketing efforts on big companies and small businesses, neither of which send high-risk emails. So those email services don't need to spend the money to create a system that takes into account high-risk deliverability.
But there are email service providers that were designed for such advanced email marketers.
All three of these autoresponder systems were designed for information marketers, Internet marketers and coaches. They all send high-risk emails and allow you to import your list without having to re-confirm your subscribers. So you can easily switch from your current email system to SendReach, OfficeAutoPilot and SendPepper.
3. Move Affiliate Buyers to a Different List
Move subscribers who buy affiliate products you are promoting to a different list—it improves message-to-market match, overall list loyalty and sales.
Moving prospects who buy your products or services to a separate list is a well-known technique. It's also a technique that is relatively easy to do using standard CRMs or autoresponder/shopping cart integration. But taking those who buy someone else's product which you are promoting as an affiliate and moving them to a separate list is much harder. That's why most marketers don't do it.
Some possibilities include:
- Offering a free bonus to your subscribers if they buy a product through your affiliate. Usually, marketers request their subscribers email them a receipt to prove the subscriber actually bought the product. Then they manually send them an email with a link to download the free bonus. By moving them to a different list, you can automatically deliver free bonuses via an autoresponder—saving yourself a lot of time.
- Offering cross-sells related to their previous purchase. For example: A customer buys a weight loss information product that you are promoting as an affiliate. Then the customer gets moved to a different list with an autoresponder loaded up to promote another information product. It's in the motivation niche, which you frame as a good way to maximize their success with the weight loss product they just bought. Imagine how much money marketers are losing on a daily basis by not doing these kinds of post-sale cross-sells!
- Offering special discounts on your own products to those who just bought a product through your affiliate link. A subscriber who buys one of your products forms a much stronger relationship with you than a subscriber who only buys a product you recommend. By getting them to buy one or more of your own products, you're getting them to commit to you.
Another benefit: By segmenting your list based on buyer behavior, you can be sure to only send the RIGHT promos to the RIGHT people. Remember, subscribers will only accept so many non-relevant emails before they unsubscribe.
Ok, so how's it done?
Using PHP, image tracking pixels and a MySQL database, you can set this up to work on autopilot. Of course, you should get a PHP programmer to do this all for you. There are plenty of expert PHP programmers for hire on websites like Odesk.com, Elance.com and Guru.com.
Using these three tips, you will have:
- Nothing but legitimate email addresses. (That's critical for keeping bounce rates and monthly fees low.)
- A rock-solid emailing platform that will maximize your email deliverability. (BTW: SendReach also allows for demographic-based autoresponders, which would require a different article to explain how important it is.)
- A system for segmenting your list based on the most important behavior of all: customers taking out their wallets and buying (even when they buy a product you promote as an affiliate).
With those three strategies, you'll be ready for anything the government might throw at your email marketing. But your competitors won't know what hit them.
P.S. The comments made by Wozniak (no relation to the Apple guy) have had a large blowback … and there is one thing making his idea impossible: the Internet Tax Freedom Act. But that law is set to expire in late 2014.