8 Tips to Improve Your Holiday E-mail Campaigns, Part 2
Here is the final part of our two-part coverage of a recent webinar from Target Marketing magazine (sister publication to eM+C), called "60 Minutes to Accelerate Holiday Sales — Top tips for leveraging Q408 e-mail campaigns."
This week we continue with more tips from Huw Griffiths, marketing director of the Montreal-based e-mail marketing firm Campaigner, which also sponsored the webinar, and Simms Jenkins, CEO of the Atlanta-based e-mail marketing firm BrightWave Marketing, on how to optimize your e-mail campaigns this holiday season.
(For Part 1 with tips 1-4, click here.)
5. Put customers first. "Every interaction with your customers is critical," Griffiths said. "It forms the basis for hopefully your long and fruitful relationship with them." Griffiths recommended the following techniques to show how you value your customers:
* welcome them and thank them after every purchase;
* treat them to special offers, value-added content and loyalty programs;
* designate VIP customers and treat them to special and/or exclusive offers; and
* send "we miss you" e-mails with a special offer — such as free shipping — to lapsed customers to try to win them back.
6. Build long-term relationships. "Keeping customers engaged is the key to building a relationship," said Griffiths. "You want [customers] to see you as a valuable resource." Do this by offering them more than a hard sell. Offer valuable information they can use: tips, updates, relevant news, surveys/polls. It's also necessary to keep customers engaged when you're gathering valuable information from them — such as their e-mail addresses. But be up front with why you're asking for this information.
7. Test your e-mails. "Testing starts with reports," said Griffiths. These reports should be tabulated on factors including open and clickthrough rates as well as bounced and undelivered e-mails. From these reports, extract what worked and what didn't. Testing provides the opportunity to learn more about your campaigns, such as the frequency of engagement, types of action taken, content that has gone unread, among other things, said Griffiths. Use A/B split tests to refine the look and content of your e-mail. But test only one variable at a time — such as the subject line or a special offer, for example — so you can accurately measure the test, Griffiths said.
8. Get creative. Jenkins provided a litany of creative tips to optimize the performance of your e-mail campaigns. Here's a rundown of his pointers:
- Subject lines. Make them straightforward and concise (less than 50 characters); consider including your company name in the subject line; educate/tease the recipient; use a call to action; don't deceive with your subject line; test with Google AdWords; and be wary of spam filter triggers, such as using exclamation points, the word "free" or all capital letters.
- Header/footer. "The most underutilized piece of real estate in the e-mail," said Jenkins. Consider the following when putting together your header/footer:
* cross-promote and try out new features;
* provide your contact information to promote customer retention;
* include site navigation; and
* include terms and conditions, and privacy, CAN-SPAM and legally required information. "You don't want to take away from your main message with this information," Jenkins advised.
Creative challenges. Account for e-mails sent to recipients who have images blocked, Jenkins cautioned. "If not, the recipient is just looking at a blank message." Jenkins advised the following:
* don't rely on images to provide key marketing messages and calls to action;
* place call-to-action links in the preview pane of the e-mail;
* add navigation to target customers in multiple spots in the buying cycle; and
* add additional content areas for increased promotional real estate.
For Jenkins, the best layout for an e-mail includes the following: a concise subject line with a clear call to action above the fold; call-to-action links in text; and six to 10 links within the e-mail. He also added that marketers should be aware that many decision makers will be viewing e-mail on mobile devices.