Email marketing has many benefits as a channel, however, like most effective means of communication there are some basic principles that need to be mastered before you can begin to really reap the benefits.
For most marketers, the design of the HTML email is the critical step in producing a campaign, but, actually, if you fail to address the basics first your HTML won’t generate click throughs, open rates will be low and in fact a large percentage of your audience will never even see it.
Here are the top 5 things to consider before sending your campaign. Address these points before even constructing a brief for your HTML email and see your results increase dramatically.
1. When buying or building email lists ensure you have a strategy for appending each email address with valuable “killer” data that will allow you to vary your future messages or content. If, for example like us you are selling solutions and services for email marketing, it would be great to know which contacts had marketing job titles!
2. For the lucky ones this data is already available within their business, however, where it is not, the added benefit has never been high enough to justify the effort to collect it. Not any more, different emails or the same emails with dynamic altered content or imagery can now easily be produced as long as you know the data that drives the change. Dynamically driven content can have a dramatic effect on your open and click through rates and therefore the conversion and ROI of your campaign. So, all of a sudden these killer values aren’t just valuable, they may even be priceless!!
3. When you build an online capture mechanism on your website for people to register their details, make sure you have a predetermined process of events that will automatically happen (a new customer journey), to ensure the newest person in your database is treated like a King. After all, the chances are you’ve just spent a fortune on SEO and PPC to generate them!!
4. With the first 2 words in the subject line you set the tone for the success of your email, so please put some thought into it. All too frequently we see emails where many days of effort and hundreds of pounds have been spent on the HTML, but at the time of send a weak subject line is put in place that offers no inspiration to the reader to do anything other than hit the delete key. Take a look at your own inbox and see which marketing communication’s subject lines have driven you to read on. We bet it’s not many, but it’s worth analysing more closely the ones that have and applying similar rules to your own subject lines where relevant.
5. When you write your email copy it is likely that the first thing you will do is generate a bold and underlined header to catch interest so make sure it is clickable. Eye tracking studies repeatedly show that where you catch the interest of the eye the mouse will follow. If the most thought-provoking or interesting elements of your emails are not click throughs you will be missing a trick.
Now you believe you have a great subject line and campaign, TEST IT! Send your first and second choice subject lines to 10% of the audience and see which one performs the best. Not only will you know you are using the best one, but your testing will also give you the “tone” of response you should expect from your main send.
If you need a 30% open rate and a 2% click through for the ROI to stack up, don't send your email to the whole population until your testing hits those numbers.
Here's the clever bit, if your testing shows statistics which aren't high enough, change the subject line, the content, the call to action and the position and test again. And again, and again until you get the results you are looking for. Then and only then should you send to the whole audience.