Tips for Using Search Results and Polls in Your E-mail Marketing Plan
Online marketers at some point have to justify their e-mail marketing programs (and budgets) with results. How many times have you been asked what your open and clickthrough rates are and how they compare to other companies? By tracking preferences, it's very possible to achieve open rates of more than 50 percent and clickthrough rates of more than 20 percent. That's pretty good ammunition to justify your budget, right?
The first step in establishing a relevant message is to create a preference center so subscribers can choose what they want to hear about.
Don't have a true preference center? Try creating a simple poll to figure out what your customers are interested in. When examining results from each individual, you can remarket a relevant product to a particular customer in a future e-mail.
To create a true preference center, implement the following steps:
Placement. Devote a section of your e-mail template to the poll, toward the top if you can, and be consistent with where it "lives" each month.
Timing. We typically see higher response rates when we poll about once per month, but more frequent polling isn't out of the question. Try testing the timing.
Question design. Design your questions in a way that allows you to determine which products customers are most likely to buy, but also sounds interesting enough for them to want to answer. For example, a retailer might ask: "What gift are you most excited about buying this holiday season?" instead of "What products would you like to receive e-mails about?"
Creative design. Use images of buttons for the survey's answers. Place the question at the top, followed by four to five answers that are tracked separately. A simple "thank you for participating" landing page works, but if you have the technology to provide the answers to the poll on the landing page, you're ahead of the game.
Remarketing. Once you have the reader's answer — let's say she chose "TV" in the earlier example — make sure to include this customer in your next campaign that promotes a special price on a TV you sell.
Results. Distribute results to your internal team members, and keep testing.
Another simple way to increase relevancy is to use your Web site search results in your e-mail campaigns. By glancing at the results, for example, you can gain great ideas for content in your e-mail campaigns. After all, these people are typing in things they are searching for; wouldn't it be great if they didn't have to search and you could provide that information in an e-mail?
If you go this route, make sure you use specific terms your customers search. For example, instead of a generic help section, include a specific help term your customers search — such as warranty, user guide, etc. — since this might trigger a reminder that they were looking for something from you. You'd be surprised at how one small change can make a difference.