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Is email marketing a key part of your marketing mix? It should be. Email marketing provides the highest return-on-investment of all direct marketing channels* -- returning an average $38.00 for each dollar invested. If you currently employ email marketing as a strategy for your business, here are some tips to ensure you make the most of your efforts.
Start with Your Databases
Have you identified sources of all emails? Some businesses have records stored in multiple locations, including marketing, sales, customer service, accounting, and so on. Assign one person to be the database manager, and assemble all records into a single master database. Segment the list based on each record’s status (current customer, prospective customer, former customer, high value customer, co-worker, media, etc.). Depending on the size and complexity of your list, you might want to engage a list management specialist to help ensure accuracy and to “mine” the data for marketing opportunities.
A note regarding purchased or rented email marketing lists: forget it. You should only send marketing emails to those who have either explicitly opted-in to receive those messages, or with those who have done business with you. Make sure your sales team hasn’t been “scraping” email addresses off websites. Learn more about our List Management Services >>
Review your email marketing platform
It goes without saying that you should NEVER send marketing messages from your Outlook account. Are you using a leading ESP (email service provider) program? Some of the leading brands include MailChimp, ConstantContact, AWeber, Campaigner and many more. I use and recommend Listrak, and can run your campaigns through our license in some cases.
I don’t have a vested interest in Listrak – I find it has the state-of-the-art tools and reliability we need to manage complex email marketing campaigns. If you like, we can help prepare an RFP if you would like to make the right choice for an ESP.
Audit your deliverability
There’s no value to a well-written and designed email if it never makes it into the in-box. Have you implemented the proper branding settings and sender ID information? Recipient domains may reject an email if its source is uncertain. Are you on a blacklist? If you have employed questionable email marketing tactics in the past (i.e. purchased lists) you may have been emailing “spam traps” – which are email addresses specifically used to catch emailers who send to non-opt-in recipients.
We will interview you to understand past efforts, current goals and your in-house capabilities. You’ll receive a report that details the plan forward that will maximize deliverability – and ROI.
Review CAN-SPAM compliance
Make sure all emails have an easy one-click opt-out mechanism, includes your physical street address, and so on. Also be very careful if any of your recipients are in Canada or the EU. Their laws are different and often far stricter than the US. We are very familiar with current guidelines and can advise you on compliance.
Audit your performance
This includes open rates, read rates, click-through rates, unsubscribe rates, pass-along rates, and more. Are you up to the standards of your specific industry? We can help you review your content and creative development, subject line choices, “from” line choices, and more. You should also review your time-of-day choices, frequency, sequencing and list growth.
Perform list hygiene
How long has it been since a recipient opened one of your messages? If they haven’t opened in at least six messages you should probably unsubscribe them. You may try launching a “win-back” campaign to old records to see if they’re still interested. If not, delete them. Keep in mind that the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) base their measurement of your complaint rate not on your total list size, but on the number of complaints as a percentage of your ACTIVE emails.
Relevance is Key
One of the answers to successful email marketing is ensuring relevance to your audiences’ world. Perform “data mining” on your list to segment each record into your categories. There’s no need to create infinite segments – just enough to create separate, relevant messages.
It’s not only the body of the message that should be relevant – choose the images that “look like” your target audience. Be sure the messages contain first name salutations, and when possible, references to past behaviors (“…since you bought Product A you might like Product B”, or “…we miss you! You haven’t purchased in XX days…”)
Test, Test, Test!
If your list is large enough to perform A/B split testing (typically more than 5000 records) test different scenarios to help ensure maximum performance. This includes day-of-week, hour-of-day, subject lines, calls-to-action, from address, hard-sell vs. soft-sell, and much more.
Audit Your Email Marketing Performance and Budgets
Are you investing enough in your email marketing strategy? What’s the value of a single email address to your company? We have developed a calculator to help you measure the approximate value of each email address.
We Can Audit Your Email Marketing
Contact us for more information: Mark@VogelMarketing.net or 717.368.5143.