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by Tara West on 11th August 2011
We have all filled in forms and thought ‘why do they need all this information?!’ As an email marketer, if you have put your potential consumer through the hassle of telling you what age bracket they belong to, their post code, what they had for lunch….then make sure you at least make use of this information! Creating variations of the content used for your email marketing, based on the segments you have categorised your mailing list into, can be very effective.
Subject Line & From Field
Sometimes keeping one aspect of your subject line the same in every email, and just varying part of it can work well. This allows the user to recognise your content.
Use the same email address or name in the from field for every email. This should be your company name, so that it is easily recognisable and looks credible to the user.
If your software and design allow you to use personalisation from your database, this can make your email marketing slightly more effective. It can also go drastically wrong though. For example if your database hasn’t been checked thoroughly, you may find that if a consumer has filled in their details in the wrong data fields, your effort at personalisation could result in an email addressed to Fred Mr.
Test the email
Email marketing designs can appear different depending on the email client being used. Bear in mind that users may have software based email clients such as Outlook, or browser based email clients such as G-mail or Yahoo Mail. Make sure you test your creation in a variety of email clients before you send it to your mailing list.
Often email marketing can be automatically categorised as junk mail by many email clients, so make sure you ask recipients to add your email address to their address books to ensure they can continue to receive your emails in the future. Another tip is to avoid multiple email attachments (for example images), as often these are what trigger the filters. Also avoid excessive punctuation in your content, and especially in your subject line, as this can look spammy.
If possible, always create a HTML and text version of the email, as not all recipients may be able to read the HTML version and would otherwise end up with a blank email. Having a text version means at least they will see something.
Timing and Frequency
The frequency at which you choose to email may vary depending on the kind of product or service you are offering. If possible, keeping a regular pattern within the frequency of contact you choose to have can help.
The day-of-the-week and time-of-day you send your email marketing can also have a great influence on its success. If you are marketing a B2B service try to avoid sending it on a Friday. If you are advertising weekend offers at an entertainment venue, you might find that a Thursday works well as it may catch people when they are planning their weekend leisure activities.
Follow the rules
Only send emails to those whose data you have acquired legitimately. There are lots of ways to build up a data list. You can ask visitors to sign up to your site, or you may choose to buy data for a particular demographic from a data company if you don’t want to wait to build up your own lists. Once you have the data, look after it. Make sure you abide by the terms-of-use, whether that is the terms of the data company you purchased it from or the privacy terms you promised your website visitors who chose to sign up. Consumers will not be receptive to email marketing if you bombard them with it and do not respect their rights and wishes.
Always have an obvious opt-out link for your recipient should they choose to no longer receive your email marketing.
You spent so long designing, writing and building your email marketing campaign, and it has now reached your recipients. That’s it, job done right? If you spent that long creating it, surely you have some time to evaluate the campaign? Arguably this is the most important step in the campaign, because if you don’t know how well it did or didn’t work, how will you know whether to run another one? Even if you are pretty sure the campaign has been successful, it is still worth analysing the results in more depth so you can pull out trends and improve your future efforts.
The depth of your evaluation depends on how much information you want to drill down to. Some companies are happy with simple metrics like how many emails were opened. Alternatively sometimes a much higher depth of analysis might be required, like calculating the revenue generated per email.
If done properly, email marketing can be extremely successful. It is important to remember that it should not be used instead of another form of marketing but should form part of a well rounded and integrated marketing campaign.