What are the characteristics of a great email marketing campaign?
I've read a lot of sources saying that email marketing is obsolete, and others saying that it's still alive & kicking. There are also contradictory articles on what works for subject headers, how long it should be, how frequently you should email, etc. What has been your experience with email marketing campaigns? What works, what doesn't?
Your goals and objectives need to be different for whether it's an eblast (promotional email) or regular enewsletter. Eblasts are great for getting quick leads/sales, while enewsletters are better for staying top of mind, educating customers on new offerings, or providing helpful industry updates. I have found them to be very successful, but what works and what doesn't requires testing (of both the subject line and creative) and varies per business.
Best practices for both types include have a compelling call to action, making text digestible (short paragraphs with read more buttons), always having an opt-out button, subject lines that are no more than 5-7 words, and above all make sure you have dedicated link tracking in place so you can see exactly what works for you. Good luck!
Email marketing is still an awesome tool if you use it correctly. Some rules I've learnt from experience:
1) don't send emails more often than once a week, but you should test for your niche, mine is B2B.
2) don't send out emails on Mondays, on Mondays the percentage of emails that are sent to the bin is the highest (but again, might depend on the niche, I heard the for e-commerce weekend are the best time for email blasts)
3) don't start using email marketing if you do not have content that would be valuable for your target audience. Email marketing and content marketing can't live one without the other, email amplifies great content.
4) vary your messages by intent - send not only informational and promotional messages, but also enable triggered ones - someone fills out a form on your site - send them hints, up-to-the-moment manuals and guides on what they can do next
Well, those are the things that came to my mind at once, but there are lots of in-depth things about creating a good email marketing campaign. But the cornerstone is good and well-targeted content.
I am adding two link for your reference with more detailed advice http://blog.act-on.com/2014/02/b2c-three-ways-increase-revenue-customer-base-email-marketing/ and http://blog.act-on.com/2014/03/b2c-email-marketing-dont-rush-discount/
Hope that helps.
Here's the answer you may not want to hear but it's the truth.
What works for some, may not work as well for others. It depends on your list, what relationship you've built with your list, how responsive your list is to you, etc...
As a marketer, we get the fun task of testing everything we do (at least we're supposed to).
You will have to test. I believe most common autoresponder services will let you send out the two different versions of an email - one to half your list and the other email to the other half.
And just about all services have analytics so that's another way to see what's working for you.
Just start by testing the headline because that's the first thing people see.
Email marketing is dead for people who don't do it right. For other's it's the easiest way to stay in contact with those who are interested in your products and services...and it's the simplest and easiest source of income.
Email is definitely not dead. I think Bill's comments are definitely accurate. Beyond that advice, another point to keep in mind is to be sure you take a "give to get" attitude. That is, give your email recipients something of value, meaning information they would enjoy or appreciate getting. It could be a blog article you wrote or pointing them at something else on the web. I helped one client make changes along those lines and their email click rate tripled. Keeping prospects engaged means they will think of you when a need for your product or services arise. Just as in the old days of snail mail campaigns, the response rate is still low, but it is still one of the most efficient ways to engage potential clients.
I would say first rule... DO NOT ANNOY! Ask permission to add prospects to your distribution list. DON't sell...no one likes being sold to, rather share important information that will please/help/ecnourage your target audience or demographic. That alone will provide branding and opportunities to gauge interaction. I would send one target email blast out no more than once a month. Heading should be something simple like (example)your first and last name...Thats it.
I am not sure where you are in terms of list building etc. But if you are just starting out I would really recommend doing some research into solo ads. With some research you can find someone in a complementary niche that has a list of active buyers.
And terms for getting that list owner to send out your ad are wide open for negotiation. Including getting him or her to actually recommend your product. Until the list owner gets to know, like and trust you it will most likely be for cash up front, but if you build some rapport in advance you can do a percentage of back end revenue/cash up front hybrid.
Just make sure you have a mechanism in place to get respondents from the solo ad run to opt-in to your own list. Including having some type of downsell or very attractive free bonus in your sales funnel if they decide not to buy your product.
If you take into account the value of the time and effort and sometimes straight cash expense of other traffic generation methods I think solo ads can be the most cost effective way for someone just starting out selling through email. Hope that helps. - Jack
I have mixed feelings about email marketing, as do I about internet marketing in general. More businesses are getting into it, and it leads to a lot of businesses just blasting emails to people in bulk and in turn much more noise to people. Unless you are like me, or even yourself maybe, you are constantly subscribing and unsubscribing knowing that this is the only real way to to see what a business has to offer as far as content or services.
The best answer or insight I have for this is that the most important part about email marketing, as is the case with really any online marketing in general is that you have to understand your customers and what they want to know... Which is clearly a lot easier said than done. The best way to do this is at the opt in point, by getting as much information as possible. For one client of mine they are a scuba dive shop, and the form people fill out for their newsletter directly asks what they want to hear about. This is a real simple way to put it into the customers hands, and for you to know specifically what to send. However, segmenting would depend on what specifically you have going on marketing wise.
Another thing that I find works well is simple. Just be direct... in your subject line, and extend it to the content of your email. If your email is a free tutorial about how to use google+ about business, than your subject line should simply say that, and the email should speak for itself.
This is just my 2 cents, there are also tons of great responses below!
I think email campaigns are effective if you define your strategy before you start the campaign. What are you trying to do and what keywords would your audience hone in on for the message you are trying to deliver? It's best to use words that resonate emotionally with your audience. I like Tim's idea of split testing and agree with Doug's comment about "give to get", so your email strategy should include the question, "what problem can I solve for my potential clients and how can I give free advice to help them solve it? ie, download a free ebook, hold a webinar, give a 30 minute skype session, download an instructional video. etc.
Traceability and results are the only two characteristics that should considered. It's all in the eye of the beholder. Targeted email lists are key.
Example: As a retailer you want to be able to trace a sale back to its source such as an email campaign. A good strategy is to customize an email to match the readers interests or needs.
There is a growing science in email distribution allowing companies to closely target consumers buying patterns. Example. A vaccum website I designed would target existing customers who bought vacuums from my website with vacuum bags for their machine. Each registered user would then get a catered email offer based on their prior purchases (or webpage views).
As a retailer you want to be able to trace a sale back to its source such as an email campaign and follow up with a potential sale.
Also if you want to learn more checkout "retargeting" on google. It's amazing what you can do with a little loyalty marketing, creativity, and technology.
Always, always, Do your homework on "What defines a prospect?" Start by taking a look back at who you've been most successful with and how, in your current base of customers. Or, if you're just starting out and have no customers, do consultative interviews with who you think is the best targets as well as with your trusted advisors. If you've got a solid list of existing customers, contact them and ask them why they bought in the first place, in particular, noting their milestones or key tipping points in your sales process. There is nothing better than to do this in a F2F over lunch so they are undistracted and you're in the position of the grateful and appreciative host. As you get this info, qualify them on their customer satisfaction - first - and showing every opportunity to illustrate how much you value their business relationship. As appropriate, consider the right time in these conversations to be sure to ask about the potential opportunities to support them in their future growth with repeat business (often called "clothing" or "starburst"). In this way these conversations become a triple hit -- not only a plan to help marketing but a real opportunity to show appreciation for their business and that you consider them a valued stakeholder as well as a person who is willing to earn as well as gracefully ID and position for repeat business. Noting, of course, the cost of this sales decision - for them and you - on this potential second phase transaction is ~ 10/15% of the initial cost of sales - being that this is a satisfied existing customer.
Back to the Marketing Campaign; Once you have these data points, package what it is you want to sell in this new mail campaign using real anecdotes and stressing the benefit and your special ability via the feature/function/service you especially or uniquely provide.
As far as the mailings go, the classic is a minimum of at least three times with a one/two week period between mailings, all tied together with a theme, journey or underlying common message - "you really need our stuff", "we must be on your short list". If you're not going to send out at least three emails, don't even bother going down the mailing campaign road. It's too herky-jerky and a shot in the dark.
So, maybe we should have said this earlier but up front, you must think about your budget/efforts/head count (outsource?) to support this duration/type of campaign - with the tasks of research, message crafting, follow up and handling inbound responses when they come in - within the day. Also and almost a 'must have', think about packaging in a 'give away' hook, such as a White Paper or quick, link a light video clip as a teaser in with the emails. Be sure the message here is you have something interesting and/or a 'need-to-know' in your industry space to offer, and here with this White Paper or video is a taste of what we mean. It should position your industry knowledge/know-how in a subtle but clear way. Make them want to know more.
Remember, when you get those return/in-bound calls or Emails, someone has to email or call them back today.
Also, from day one, be positioning this mailing list for future events/things like a webinar, establishing 'user groups' and the sort of things that help establish a stakeholder community that becomes a company asset and marketing test sandbox.