Internet Special Report--E-mail Done Right (1,783 words)
n can't see and touch items (51 percent);
n can't return items easily (49 percent); and
n credit card security fears (47 percent).
Each of these deterrents deals with fears that must be addressed by your online offers.
Smith cites the Web site of clothing retailer The Gap, which begins, "200 reasons to get Gap pants ..." Reasons No. 1 and 2 are free shipping and hassle-free returns. That, says Smith, addresses online shoppers' fears in a positive way. (Reasons 3 to 200? The Gap's selection of styles.)
Feedback is key
E-mail marketing experts agree on one thing: Evaluate your campaigns promptly. Unlike traditional direct marketing, e-mail marketing generates most of its responses within a couple of days. (One exception is business-to-business e-mail marketing, which tends to have longer response times.) You'll begin to get your first responses within minutes. That means your fulfillment process must be rarin' to go and ready for a possible deluge.
Speaking of timing, don't forget to set your campaign clock to "Internet time." One magazine publisher discovered that an e-mail campaign prompting subscribers to give holiday gift subscriptions didn't work very well in October, the traditional time for that type of direct marketing. A second campaign closer to Christmas worked far better.
What should you measure besides the response rate? One thing is the "unsubscribe" rate. Since you're presumably using only opt-in addresses, a high rate of cancellations may indicate that your messages are too frequent, too confusing or too hard-sell. Long creative copy that works in direct mail may not work in an e-mail; people don't want to spend much time reading e-mails on their screens.
And finally, don't forget to subscribe to your own e-mail campaigns. It'll help you see the message from your customers' view points, and it may warn you about technical errors—such as the one encountered by a company that sent thousands of "personalized" e-mail messages, each one beginning, "Dear first name." Yikes!