Successful Email Marketing: Key Factors

Email marketing is surely one of the most cost effective and fastest growing e-marketing tools. This channel of communication makes marketers lives easier and helps companies generate higher revenues. When successfully implemented, email marketing is also one of the easiest and most effective methods to deliver your brand directly to your targeted audience.

When compared to mobile marketing, social media marketing and other mainstream channels, one may argue that email is less effective. However, when done in the right way, the ROI achieved via email marketing can almost double the ROI generated through other marketing tools that companies try to utilize from.

MarketingSherpa also released a survey, asking marketers the estimated ROI from email marketing. The results indicated that the average ROI value is 119% for email marketing.

If you have absolutely no idea how to make use of this powerful marketing tool, you may have a bad experience and a fail. There is no exact flow for email marketing as it consists of all the best practices – so in order to be successful in email marketing, you should be following the best practices closely.

Below are some terms and concepts that should help guide more successful email marketing campaigns:

1) Permission

The most important key in an email marketing is to get the permission of the audience before contacting them. Members, who are not subscribed to your marketing emails, should NEVER be sent an email whatever the reasons. Transactional emails such as order confirmations, e-receipts, or password reminders serve other purposes and therefore can be excluded from this strict rule.

Members, who are subscribed to your newsletters but are not totally engaged with you company, should also be approached with caution. Subscribers should ideally consist of users, who REALLY want to receive emails from you.

  • Do not have the newsletter subscription opt-in box pre-ticked by default.
  • Try to be as simple as possible – do not ask for great details in the first step of information collection. Feel privileged that your potential customer choose to share their email address with you!
  • Make your visitors feel comfortable and safe about your registration forms.
  • NEVER force the visitors to subscribe to your newsletters to become a member.
  • Tell them that they are free to unsubscribe from your newsletters in just one click.
  • Always let them know what will happen once they subscribe to your newsletters and give information about the benefits.
  • Allow them to choose communication frequency.
  • Do always include your company details and contact information.
  • Do not buy lists, do not crawl websites to increase your list size, and do not share your list with other companies, even if the other company is a sister company or you belong to the same group.

 

2) Content

Content is the visual design that your subscribers see in your newsletters and the correct message should be given to the subscribers. Most of the deliverability issues are caused by sending irrelevant contents to the subscribers, which results in increased unsubscribe and spam complaint rates. Nobody will be interested in reading a totally unrelated newsletter to their needs and preferences.

You should definitely be sending messages on what the users have subscribed for in the first place. If they subscribed to hear about discounts on a specific product, inform them about available discounts on that product. The message should always match the users interests and needs.

The visual design of your content should also be consistent. Do not change the look and feel of your content every time you launch a campaign. Make your subscribers feel like they are reading a newspaper whose design stays the same. Your company should have a well structured email design, which your subscribers will get used to.

  • Deliver the message the subscribers are asking for.
  • Send emails that you know the audience will be interested in.
  • Be consistent in the design.
  • Use personalisation in your content to maximise open rates.
  • Provide an easy-to-find and visible unsubscribe link in your content.
  • Include company details and a link to your privacy policy in all of your email campaigns.
  • Always use the same “from name” and “from address” to gain trust and build reputation.
  • Create mobile adaptive designs.

 

3) Segmentation

Succesful segmentation can guarantee that the right message is reaching the right person. It is the key point to increase open rates and generate higher revenues. Segmentation can be done based on demographical, geographical or behavioural data. You should let go off the idea that you will make less money if you do not launch the campaign to all of your subscribers. Sending the same content to all subscribers without segmenting them will result in deliverability issues, higher unsubscribe and spam complaint rates, which will then lead to less revenue.

Almost 99% of your male subscribers will not be interested in and be happy about receiving daily discounts on female goods.

  • Do not send the same content to all your subscribers, i.e. do not send bulk emails.
  • Segment your list using demographical, geographical or behavioural criterias.
  • Make your subscribers feel like the email is tailored to their special needs only.

 

4) Timing

Timing is one of the most critical points in building up loyalty. You may be sending your email campaigns daily, weekly or monthly but irregular timing in your campaigns can make your subscribers feel uncomfortable and cause complaints for your services, which can in return damage your brand reliability. TV shows and radio programmes, for example, always start on their scheduled days and times. You should be scheduling your campaigns exactly like a TV show – so that the subscribers wait for your email, which will make them feel comfortable and therefore create trust.

5) Deliverability

You may follow all the best practices but still be delivered to the spam folder. It is a sign that something is wrong either with your content or there are a technical issues involved in your email’s infrastructure. You should think of deliverability as a “science”, which you experiment gradually by doing tests. Do not expect your ESP to deliver your messages right into the inbox. ESPs are companies that provide you with an infrastructure to send emails. So you determine your own delivery rate. You should be careful with your campaign’s content in order not to be specified as a spammer by the ISPs.

Sending regular email campaigns and to the active members will help you maintain a higher reputation. Keep in mind that the IP reputation is not as important as it was before. The main point you should be dealing with, is the reputation of the sender, i.e. your sender reputation.

  • Monitor your IP reputation scores.
  • Do not send to your inactive members, who have not responded to your emails in the past 6-9 months.
  • Be aware of the spam traps and try to eliminate them by sending to your active list.
  • Avoid using phishing links in your content.
  • Add an unsubscribe link to the top of your content.
  • Ask users to add your sender domain to their address book.
  • Provide a link to the online version of your email in all of your campaigns.
  • Privacy policy and company details should exist in every single campaign.
  • Keep the text/image ratio to a minimum of 50%
  • Do not use bright red, green colours in the content.
  • Do not use all-uppercase words.
  • Try not to use too many special characters in the content as well as in the subject line.
  • Try to follow all the deliverability best practices.

 

6) Test

The success of an email campaign can always be increased by testing. Testing can be done by using A/B split tests on the subject line, content, call to action wordings, etc. By doing so, you will have the chance to monitor the open rates, click rates, as well as the purchasing rates and then analyse the winner campaign to then continue with it. Testing can not give you an ‘exact’ result but it will help you progress with the best performing version of a campaign.

  • Perform an A/B test before launching your campaigns.
  • Try to test every existing criteria that you have: subject lines, content or CTAs.

Final Thoughts

For those of you who may have struggled with email marketing in the past, we hope this post has provided some insights on how to make your campaigns more successful moving forward. While there is no one-size-fits-all formula for email marketing, these best practices and tips should be considered when aiming to improve results.

Are you looking to make your email marketing campaigns more successful? Visit our website to learn more.

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Monday, 28 October 2013