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7 Email Marketing Trends You Cannot Ignore

I read a blog post earlier this week called Three Myths about what customers want and that reminded me of something in the white paper. “A company that treats all customers and prospects the same speaks to everybody, and thus nobody.  Rather than using a ‘one size fits all’ approach, identify the most likely targets for a product or service. Use email to get to know customers better, and then serve them more relevant content.”  Basically, you need to segment your market as much as possible so you can send them relevant information.  I would encourage you to go as far as possible with the segmentation.

For example, lets say you are a book seller with an e-reader device and a membership card.  You frequently send emails to your customer about new and exciting books; fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, cookbooks…you get the idea. From these two products, you can easily figure out how to segment each customer.  You should have a “preferences” page with all of the genres listed and have your customers update their preferences based on genre.  Even better would be to use data from the purchases to figure out what types of genres the customer typically purchases.  If you have a customer that does not purchase children’s books then why send them emails about getting a free children’s book?  I am not saying you should avoid letting this person know about children’s books; instead, information for children’s books should be secondary to the main content of the email message.

 

So, don’t be a one size fits all…be unique!

7things not to avoid in email

20 Quick Tips for Improving Your Email Programs

A few months ago I participated in a webinar and after it was over they sent the document attached to this post.  I wanted to share a few insights from the document with you.

  1. List cleaning does not just mean taking bounced email addresses from the database. “By not sending to customers who haven’t opened or clicked in the past year, senders can lower ISP complaints and gain higher reputation scores – and that leads to better deliverability.”
  2. Keep your “from” name consistent and match it to the brand your customer recognizes.  For a company with multiple brands, customize the from name to the brand your customer is doing business with.
  3. It is okay to reuse subject lines in a specific program.
  4. Use action words in the subject line and let the receiving person know what the offer is.
  5. Content driven subject lines are very effective.
  6. Insert marketing materials into transactional emails – test the placement of this material.
  7. Improve your content with segmentation and ask your audience about their preferences.
  8. The least important metric is opens and clicks over time…the report will always look the same…with a downward pointing tail.

20-tips-for-email-deliverability

Random Email Program Thoughts

I have been trying to think of ways to freshen up our email program here in North America.  Over the last few weeks I have been reevaluating past webinars and workshops I have attended and wanted a place to post all of those little things I have gleaned from the information.  So, this is where I will keep those thoughts for now…I have arranged them by event so if you happen to want more information just let me know.

Online Marketing Summit 2012 – Email 3.0

  1. Look at all information from every department that touches the exhibitor and see what messages can be eliminated and what messages can be combined.
  2. Create a campaign calendar
    1. Involve all groups who touch the exhibitor
    2. At most only email 2 times per month
  3. When a purchase is made, send an add on email 30 minutes to 2 days later.
    1. Studies have shown that if sent within 30 min you have a 90% chance of add on purchase
      1. Sent within 60 minutes 80%
      2. Next day 44%
  4. When someone unsubscribes you should respond with a meaningful message
  5. Get creative in the preheader…don’t just put “If you can’ read this email click here.”  This may be the only thing the user sees.

Online Marketing Summit 2012 – Email Best Practices

  1. Insert reps image in the email – works well in the financial market
  2. Become the customer
    1. Opt-in and see what happens
    2. Make secret transactions
    3. Opt-out to see what happens
    4. Call up and argue/complain to see what happens
    5. Listen to customers when they comment about emails
  3. Let people manage their email preferences; do not assume they want to receive everything from your firm.
  4. When someone unsubscribes, find out why.
    1. Make the unsubscribe page clear so the person know what they are unsubscribing from
    2. Instead of an unsubscribe only area give them the option to edit preferences.

Online Marketing Institute – Advanced Email Marketing

  1. Over 70% of email marked as spam is based solely on the Sender’s name, company names or brand names are not as good as a personal name.
  2. Header should not be one large image, instead upper left should be an HTML headline and move the logo to the right hand side.
  3. B2B – you should not send more than 1 time per month, at most bi-weekly.  Once you go past this boundary you start to upset people.
  4. Design
    1. Pre-header
      1. Put meaningful copy here instead of the “to view” link.  This may be the only place the receiver sees in preview.  Further, the “to view” link does not need to be in the pre-header, it can be lower in the page.
    2. Header
      1. Images on the right
      2. HTML text with style on left
    3. Body
      1. Images should be as small as possible
      2. ALT tags are a must (missing alt tags drive your spam rating higher)
  5. Spammy Words – these words drive your spam rates higher. (Great list of things to remove http://spamassassin.apache.org/tests_3_3_x.html)

 

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  1. Code
    1. Use no DIV – they add to spam score
    2. No CSS in header – it is stripped out of most email clients
    3. Always define the background color
    4. 600 is now the optimum width for screen
    5. Text – first three or four lines should be no more than 30 characters as that is all that shows up to the preview pane then around 72 characters after that
    6. Text – do not use plus or minus as these will in some instances mess up the rendering of the email; instead use > or *
    7. Use proper pixels instead of percents
    8. Use Height and Width for images

2012 Online Marketing Summit

What Social Media?

Recently I was talking with one of the owners at a favorite restaurant about Social Media.  She told me she does not pay attention to what people put on websites like Yelp and this concerned me a bit. So I inquired as to why she does not pay attention.  Her response was simply “There is nothing I can do about what people write”; but is this really true?

I have thought a lot about the conversation over the last few weeks, because to a point I do not agree.  As a former restaurant and retail manager any feedback from customers can improve processes and service.  There is an old adage that says if a person has a bad experience they will tell five people and those five people will tell another five people and so on.  On the flip side, if a delighted customer tells five people those people may not spread the good news; they may only tell one or two people. Chances are those one or two people will not tell others.

Now think about social media…if I have a bad experience at a store and I post it on Facebook then all of my friends will see the message.  Depending on the message, some of those friends may go on to share the note.  The same thing can be said about Twitter; what if the person who had the bad experience had 100,000 followers.  Once the message is out there it can’t be taken back; you never know how many people will re-post the message.

I agree you can’t control what people write but you can get people talking about you in a different manner.  Instead of putting blinders on to what people say you need to be part of the conversation.  Author Liana Evans wrote a great book called Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media where in Chapter 4 she talks about something she calls “Return on Conversation”.  The point of the discussion is companies need to be involved with social media: reading what is said, responding, re-posting, etc.

As an owner/manager you can talk to your customers about going out to Social Media sites and encourage them to write about their experiences.  If you happen to notice a bad experience, take action respond to an unhappy customer either by direct message or private message.   Find out what the problem was and fix it!  If it was slow service, find out when they were in the store and see if you happened to be short staffed…if so increase staffing.  If it was poor quality find out why and figure out a way to improve the quality; maybe you need to find a new vendor or maybe the staff needs to be retrained. Whatever the problem was you need to find a solution.