Email marketing is an exact science. Here are some key tips to help you avoid some of the pitfalls.
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There’s a lot of scepticism about email marketing these days. Scammers and spammers have given it a bad name, while the threat of blacklisting makes genuine businesses with a genuine service message wary of engaging.
But, the truth of the matter is that email marketing is alive and well, and if you’re not using it for your business, then you’re missing out on a huge amount of potential. It’s practical, it’s personal, and it fosters long-term customer loyalty.
It provides a massive amount of data for your analytics programmes to work with. Perhaps most importantly, it’s one of the best ways to secure a worthwhile ROI on your marketing budget.
If you can get it right, the Direct Marketing Association estimates that it can ‘generate 58% of all revenue’ for your business. The big question is: how do you get it right?
Assuming that, as an operational company, you already have a professional email address (please tell me that you’re not working out of a Yahoo or Gmail account!), to gain success in email marketing, and generate the greatest possible return on your investment, all you really need do, is stick to the rules.
5 for Rules Maximising Email Marketing ROI
Plan your campaign. 99% of marketing is researching your target and working out the best ways to reach them. So, get to know your audience, work out a tone and style that suits them and use it throughout your content. Make that content relevant and useful, and keep it to the point.
Most people spend seconds on each piece of email they receive, so work to the 5 second rule: that’s the time you have to engage your readers. Emails should also be easy to read, both in terms of language and formatting. Keep things simple and attractive and you’re off to a great start.
Send the right number of emails at the right time. This ties in with the first point. A survey by TechnologyAdvice recently flagged up the fact that almost half (45.8%) of all emails marked as spam were done so because the company was sending too many of them.
People want to hear from you regularly, but not too frequently. How often is too often can be difficult to judge, but it’s better to err on the side of caution, so start slow, build and carefully monitor.
If you notice a drop off of interaction, you’ve gone too far. Equally, work out the best time to send your emails for your demographic – students are more receptive at night, 9-5ers might want distractions on their commute, stay-at-home mums will want something different.
Make the most of your analytics. The great thing about working with email is that it provides a wealth of data. This means that it’s easy to carry out spilt-tests on everything from subject lines and linkbacks to sending time. So, test, test, test, and properly analyse the results.
Build a healthy subscriber list. The bulk purchasing of contact lists is one of the reasons that email marketing became something of a dirty word. And the thing is, it’s a completely pointless exercise.
Firstly, it’s illegal in many countries. Secondly, have you ever purchased something from an email that you didn’t ask for? You want loyal, repeat spenders, who will support your business through many years.
People hooked by a spam message won’t give you that. Thirdly, ISPs can now tell if your mailing list has suddenly and dramatically grown. This will flag you as sending unsolicited email and get you blacklisted.
So, be patient and grow your list organically. And once it’s grown, look after it. Monitor your bounce rate – anything over the industry standard of 2% should be a concern – track which subscribers are actually opening your mail, which are taking action.
Ensure that the addresses you’re contacting exist. Using an email verification tool, like EmailVerifier.com, which uses an algorithm to perform syntax checks, email mail server checks and eventually confirms that the email account exists, as well as many more real time proprietary checks, can streamline this process for you, dramatically decreasing redundant and invalid or undeliverable email addresses.
Avoid the spam filters. The main reason that your email marketing campaign will fail is if people don’t see your emails. The primary reason for this, will be because they’ve been caught up in spam filters.
ISP spam management has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years. This is a good a thing, but it does mean that innocent casualties often get caught up along the way. To avoid becoming one of them, you need to avoid waving any red flags.
That’s it. Stick to the cheat sheet rules and your email marketing ROI should prosper.