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I've read a lot of sources saying that email marketing is obsolete, and others saying that it's still alive & kicking.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.
I use email all the time! I send out about 1000 emails per month, (I have a total of 3000 contacts) to a select group of "potential" clients, I rotate my list so I only e-mail them every 90 days, but that way I don't become a pain in the E-MAIL. My emails are very customized and very direct and limit it to a few sentences. Keep it simple. No one wants to read a lot of stuff. I get about 5 to 6 COLD leads to Warm leads. I hope that helps. Just be consistent and keep going.
It really depends on your target audience. I had one email newsletter that came out once a week. The newsletter expanded every quarter with writers and audience. However the newsletter was motivational and I every now and again I put products in front of the audience.
The other type is strictly promotional. Keep in mind I'm using Newsletters, but they are really just promotional emails using a newsletter program because those companies has already spent millions of dollars to come up with the best templates, widgets, analytical data, etc. The promotional Newsletter had to be specific, but it had to have a blog like quality, meaning there had to be a story or two in the email that didn't' say buy us right now. Something like a how to article or such.
I just gave you a description of me being successful using email marketing. Is email marketing hot? Can you imagine a phone book full of emails instead of phone numbers, especially since house phones are becoming obsolete and you can reach people by email via their cell phones?
In short, your email campaign is your moving blog or advertising platform. You have to keep it fresh, keep a theme and keep it consistent. If you have a blog that's working model you email campaign off your blog.
email marketing campain success depends upon a number of factors. The single most compelling is to understand that there is a significantly different approach to b2b vs consumer. As well, the marketeer MUST know the product AND the audience.
My experience has been with b2b magazine publishing. Again, what works, and what doesn't depends upon a number of factors including industry, products, targeted audience demographics, etc. Really to much to put in a short message. If you are interested in an in-depth discussion, please contact me.
Email marketing in just another bullet in your gun. In my opinion there are three key factors:
1) To the point - give them info in a direct, easy to understand fashion
2) Timely - Do the marketing plan 8-10 messages a month, with timely info
3) Consistent format - whether it is a newsletter or general info, keep the presentation format the same - so they get use to your format for your business
With these factors, your customer and media contacts will enjoy your message.
If it's not working, it is either not the right tool for that particular company, or they are not doing it correctly.
I have used e-mail marketing for two entirely different audiences - and both have been successful:
1. The first is a non-profit org for rare disease. In our e-mails, we offer the reader opportunities to engage. This was key, in that the patient community for this genre feels the need to be heard as well as participate in change for their specific cause.
2. The second is a newly developed product in the construction industry. The e-mails are specific to the benefits of the product and a link giving the reader an opportunity to compare to the competitor via an on-line (taking it back to the web-site) video.
In both cases, we engage the audience, but for two entirely different purposes.
As far as how long, frequency, etc., it really depends on the message and your target audience.
Hope this offers a bit more insight. Best of luck to you.
It works if this campaign bring value to your contacts. If you create SPAM message, the feedback is double-negative: "OMG, another useless mail" (firte negative feedback) "And from now it's SPAM" (second and worst-one feedback).
From my experience, you have to follow 3 important step:
- Images. Use images. Not only long text.
- Try to sell VALUE, not product
- Think out of the box. You have to use a good copywriting professional to catch attention.
However, email-marketing should be used in additon to other "tools"....
I'm of the opinion that email marketing is alive and kicking and offer a great opportunity when it comes to ROI.
Consistency is whatever you want it to be, as long as your audience knows what this will be when they sign up they'll generally be ok. That said I would certainly engaging with them every month. If you don't want to over sell then split your content into two email, one that is focused on promotion of products and services and the second sharing knowledge and expertise from within your industry.
With each campaign you can run split line or split time testing. This type of exercise helps you to taylor your future campaigns by identifying keywords that receive a better response.
Titles should be engaging but avoid words that could see your emails end up in spam / junk folders.
Hope that helps
Lower your expectations. All advertising industry statistics show that any well executed mail (or email) campaign gets only 3% response from target clients. Most don't get 1%. Another facet to consider is the rule of 20. The first 10 tries don't net anything more than mild interest. It takes at least 20 attempts to break through into sales. By then you've completely alienated or angered some recipients. Nobody honest said it was going to be easy.
Without advertising you can't sell much. But advertising isn't selling. It's akin to canvassing (creating a list of interested parties) versus closing (ushering prospects into sales column). As a defense mechanism, customers get their heart set on something that either isn't yet available or once was. Sales will always be a one on one transference session. It separates buyers from money and remorse. Ads don't have that persuasion. Advice from an expert and reputation for excellence remain more powerful.
In short, don't spin your wheels with disinterested parties, get a qualified list of prospects, get your foot in door, then don't blow it when you get a chance.
1) What do you want to communicate?
2) Segment your content affinity
3) Do not use sales pitch
4) Do not talk about how good you are, you talk about why you do what you do.
5) It focuses much of the message speak to their motivations. (Feature> attribute> Consumer Benefit = Magical dream )
6) Simplify the maximum
7) emphasizes what is relevant to the target.
8) Balance text content with images (50/50)
People do not buy technology kg ... etc, people buy rewarding experiences or ideal situations.
Jesús F. Gordillo
General Manager Kellenföl Advertising
Email marketing is far from obsolete, neither is direct mail marketing. With advanced spam filters, you need to be careful what you put in the headers. Frequency for most people is once a week. if you hit them more than that, they'll either unsubscribe or mark you as spam.