You don’t have to walk a tightrope; experience matters!
Even as this edition of The Inside Edge newsletter was going to press (on US Thanksgiving Day), a study predicted that Black Friday will exceed Cyber Monday in the number of email promotions this holiday season. The study conducted by leading email marketing services provider, Responsys monitored the holiday email marketing initiatives of 100+ large retailers online. Up to 70% of these retailers planned on sending email promotions to customers and prospects on Black Friday. Being the frenzied shopping day right after Thanksgiving in the US, this day holds great promise for retailers. Those who may still be “in the red” (financial accounting-wise) towards the close of the year can hope to bounce back into the “black” after the peak holiday shopping bonanza.
The interesting point to note here that email marketing is probably one of the least expensive and most measurable, effective and easy to implement methods of online marketing. Of course, many companies are still struggling with fundamental issues like spam filters and blocked emails. With knowledge, expertise and the right tools and technologies, your business can stop walking the email marketing tightrope and start converting instead.
Top 10 Things You Should Know About Email Marketing
Trends, best practices and useful tips
- Pay attention to presentation. How your email newsletter performs depends largely on how it is presented to your audience and what it enables them to do. Form and function are both equally important. The users’ experience overall must be positive and leave them feeling good.
- Let the audience remain in the driving seat. Give them the flexibility to choose and decide which email engine and / or browser they want to use to view your email. Make it compatible for multiple platforms, browsers, operating systems and devices. Asking a valuable lead to download a particular software or application in order to view your email is like shooting yourself in the foot!
- Give recipients the choice of frequency, ability to forward to friends, click links within your email, combine and connect with social media networks, etc. You should not be the one to decide for them – a prospect empowered is a customer endeared!
- 2 second magic! That’s all it takes for you to win or lose the attention of your email audience. Say what you have to say as quickly and as effectively as you can. Use compelling subject lines, say the important items in the opening sentences and have a strong call to action closer to the start of your email.
- If it’s not opted-in, it’s not legitimate. Legislation in most countries is very clear about this. You can no longer afford to roll out an email campaign without the opted-in permission of your recipients. Don’t fool yourself that if “my email is interesting and valuable, no one will mind”. You need just that one recipient to lash out and you could be mired in lawsuits, not to forget poorer by thousands.
- You can never be too careful. Every little detail is important and must be tested and checked for accuracy. From planning to implementation, check all the way. Having a standard checklist is also useful and can help you avoid embarrassing mistakes.
- Visual Appeal + Compelling Content = Value + Conversion. Balance the content / text and images / design of your email so that the final effect is one that proves valuable for the target audience and drives conversion. You can also use video embedded in your email for greater impact.
- Use target marketing. “It’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than by doubling your traffic.” Jeffrey Eisenberg, co-Founder of FutureNow, Inc. The same is true about email marketing. Buying a huge email database for a batch and blast effort offers you less chances of success than a targeted campaign that delivers strong call to action.
- Ensure your database is regularly cleaned and maintained. Out-of-date, incorrect, unsolicited and duplicate email addresses need to removed by checking periodically. A “dirty” email database is like trying to run a hurdle race with torn running shoes; at some point you’ll hit the hurdle, fall and lose.
- Last, but not the least, build trust and credibility via your email marketing efforts. A sound reputation, the respectability of an expert, the approachable manner of a friendly advisor – these are all hats that you should wear as a sender of email marketing pieces to your audience. It’s what can help you stand out from the clutter and land in the Inbox instead of in the spam folder.