10 Strategies for Smart Email Marketing

| Thursday, August 1st, 2013 | Comments Off

This is part one, or 5 of the 10 strategies for smart email marketing from Constant Contact, part two will be posted next week, stayed tuned!

10 Strategies for Smart Email Marketing

How many emails do you get every day? And how many of them do you read?

The in-box has become a fierce battleground for your subscribers’ attention. So let’s look at effective ways and strategies to keep your email marketing messages from becoming victims of the delete key.

1. Attention Requires Permission

You can only get the recipient’s attention if you have the explicit permission to do so.

Definition: A user has subscribed for a newsletter or other email marketing messages by explicitly requesting it and confirming the email address to be his/her own. This is usually done by responding to a confirmation email sent to the email address in question.

This eliminates the chance of abuse where somebody submits somebody else’s email address without their knowledge and against their will.

The permission doesn’t guarantee that your email marketing campaign will be a success but, if you send without permission and your recipients get the feeling that you want to force something down their throat, failure is guaranteed.

So make sure you get your recipients’ permission.  To get their permission, you can have a sign-up list in your store or a “Join our mailing list” on your website or Facebook account.

2. Know Your Subscribers as Individuals

Email marketing works best if you know what their interests are (soon, in fact, this will be the only form of marketing that will work). The goal is to create a dialogue with your customers through messages tailored to several things: their individual needs and interests, what products they purchased in the past (up-selling), other related products you offer that they might benefit from (cross-selling), their budget, etc. Creating this dialogue requires you to know a lot about your members. You can find out by:

  • Tracking and analyzing their behaviour.
  • Ask them.

Although asking questions is up-front and you don’t have to be concerned with privacy issues, looking at what people actually do is the more reliable method to find out what they think and want.

Constant Contact has fantastic analytics that allows you to see what items or article your customer is clicking on or responding to, so you know what that customer likes.

3. Personalize

Even if one-to-one marketing is beyond your abilities, personalization is a must.  Greet recipients by name. If I get a bulk email, it feels much less impersonal or spam-like if it uses my name — and I’m more likely to read the message and maybe risk a click or two. Often, you’ll use the first name only, but for some campaigns the last name will be more appropriate.

Of course, one of the most crucial aspects of personalized marketing is responding to individual requests. If members send you an email it means they have investigated and are interested in your product. By failing to reply promptly, you will not only miss an opportunity but you will probably lose a customer for life. So make it a top priority to reply to all incoming mail within 24 hours.

4. Get Your Timing Right

During holidays, people tend to be away from their computers. When they return they’ll get your message along with a ton of other mail that has piled up. Chances are they will delete all but the most important messages in a rush, without a second look. This is why you should avoid conducting major email marketing campaigns during December, January, July and August. This is a guideline only; for your business these may be the peak times to email.

What’s the best day to send your email?  Here’s a simple rule of thumb. If your message is of vocational interest and read at work, send it on Wednesday or Thursday. If it’s primarily read at home and focuses on spare-time activities, send it on Sunday.

Again, this is only a guideline, look at your past results to see what works best for your business.  Testing and experimenting will help you find that sweet spot for your customers.

5. Use Subject and Sender Wisely

When someone first gets your email, you have on average three seconds to get them to open it. The first second is spent on the “From” line, recognizing who sent the message. From there, you have just two more seconds to compel them to open your message with your subject line. This is the 2-2-2 Principle:

  • You have 2 seconds.
  • The first 2 words matter the most.
  • Answer the question “Why does this matter today?”

Applying 2-2-2 to Your Subject Lines

Here are four tips you can use to make your subject lines 2-2-2-friendly:

  • If you have multiple topics, highlight the most compelling or time sensitive one in the subject.
  • Use numbers to get attention. For example, “20 Seats Left for Friday,” “Top 10 Tax Tips,” “5 Green Things to Do Today,” “3 Reasons Your Jeans Don’t Fit,” etc. When used to support your content and call to action, numbers can add greatly to your open rate.
  • Create a sense of time sensitivity with terms such as “RSVP,” “Today,” “This Weekend Only,” and words like “few” and “limited” — but stay away from the word “free” in your subject line. (See sidebar)
  • If you’re using email marketing to stay in touch with your customer base but do not have a time sensitive message, try tying your subject to a current event to give your message a relevant angle. “Tax Time, the Stimulus Package, and You” or “Everyone Is Going Green — You Can Too” work better than “Joe’s Pet Store Newsletter,” for example.

Since these are the main elements that motivate someone to open email, give them your best shot.  Sometime, it’s a matter of trial and error, but watch your results and learn from them.

I am a Solutions Provider with Constant Contact and am happy to answer questions you may have about email marketing campaigns.  Constant Contact also has other products that may work better for your business, such as Social Campaigns, Events and more.  For more information or for a free trial, click here http://www.constantcontact.com/index.jsp?pn=gourmetbuzz or email nancy@gourmetbuzzinc.com

Comments are closed.