Monday, August 21, 2006
The success of your email marketing campaign is often based on a set of complex factors. However, a number of these issues can be proactively managed to ensure an optimized response. When developing your next email campaign, consider the following guidelines.
1. Your list. Certainly one of the most important aspects of any email marketing campaign, your list is directly correlated to your success. Are your names recent? Have they agreed to be marketed to? Have they shown an interest in products or services similar to your own? Make sure that you are using a house list (names you collected on your own) or have been purchases from a reputable broker.
2. Your subject line. Getting a user to open your message is paramount any email marketing campaign. The best way to determine the subject line that works best is to break your emails into three random yet equal groups. Measure the response to each email and use the highest producing one as your control. In follow up emails, try to beat the response rate of your control email.
3. Your sender information. What information appears on the sender line of your email? Will your prospects recognize it? Do they want to hear from you? Often times, emails are deleted without ever being opened due to an indiscernible sender name. Your sender name should be brief and easily understood.
4. Track your results. Tracking allows you to determine who opened your message and clicked on a link or multiple links within your email. By determining what worked and what didn't, you can replicate success on your next email. As described above, tracking is particularly important when testing subject lines, imbedded links, and other direct response vehicles.
5. Make sure your unsubscribe method is in place and working.
The CAN-SPAM act of 2003 requires that all email messages contain clear directions on how to opt-out from subsequent mailings. Provide an unsubscribe mechanism that allows those receiving your email to send you and email and indicate their desire to opt-out from receiving further emails from you or your business. If recipients no longer want to hear from you, it's in your best interest to remove them from your list.
6. Your images are correctly referenced and you've used alt tags in each image. Improperly referencing your images can cause them to appear broken when you send your message - the dreaded red x. To insure the image is referenced correctly it must appear as, img src="http://www.yourdomain.com...."
rather than, img src="/images/picture.jpg". Alt tags are another important part of your images. The new security features on almost every email client these days disables images automatically. Having alt tags in place allow your reader to identify the image and determine if it is safe to enable.
7. Test, Test, Test! No matter what your involvement with email marketing happens to be, it is essential that you follow the guidelines above for successful results. In addition, the key is to test, test, test! After each email campaign, measure your opens, click-throughs, and purchases. Document the specific date, time, list, subject line, and content used to produce your results. Refer back to your documentation prior to your next campaign.
Email doesn't have to be a complex form of marketing. There are many best practices you can follow and some simple rules that ensure effectively delivery, open and conversion. By following the simple rules presented in this article, you'll not only deliver and effective email campaign, you'll discover a consistent method for generation revenue for your business.
* Michael Fleischner is the President of MarketingScoop.com, the Internet’s biggest source of marketing information and free marketing resources including the marketing blog directory. He has more than 12 years of marketing experience and has appeared on The TODAY Show, Bloomberg Radio, and other major media. Visit MarketingScoop.com for further details.