Conquering the E-Mail Test (1,116 words)
If you've taken your marketing effort online, chances are you did it within the last two years. In that time the only thing reliable about the e-mail market has been its potential for growth.
The rules are changing. Some of the traditional direct marketing truisms apply, some don't, and the rest is a lot of trial-and-error. To cut down on the "error" part, consider some sage advice from Michelle Farabaugh, vice president, catalog, West Marine Products.
She says you need to determine by what percentage you wish to grow your online marketing efforts, and at what cost. What is the lifetime value of an online buyer? If you cut unprofitable areas, what is the effect? And lastly, where do you want to spend your intellectual resources?
However you prioritize, you'll need to do some testing. Try these suggestions from pros on testing creative, offer, advertising, technology and more.
DON'T LOOK LIKE SPAM!
• Words such as "FREE" and "SAVE" work well in the subject line of your e-mail, but they can cause problems: All caps in the Internet environment indicates yelling, and when it's in an e-mail subject line is often blocked as spam. Run these by your company's information technology people before you hit "send."
—Roe Johnson, director of online marketing, Barnesandnoble.com
It's All In the Timing
• Avoid sending your e-mail message on days that people are likely to disregard it. Mondays and Fridays are the worst days of the week for e-mail, particularly in the b-to-b arena, when business people are playing catch-up—or hooky! Weekends are often better for sending b-to-c announcements.
—Jay Schwedelson, corporate vice president, Worldata
• When you are testing e-mails, make sure to A/B split the groups into two perfectly random groups. Make sure all the variables are equal, especially timing, format, links and copy. And always back-test the old control at least once.