Webinar Highlights – E-mail Thursday

By EXCLUSIVE team

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzIoD0UxYjk

We going to learn a bit about:

  • Some data collection tactics
  • Automated Messaging and Newsletters – the importance and roles of both communication types
  • List hygiene – The importance of keeping a clean list and how bad hygiene tactics can hurt email performance and your bottom line
  • Methods of Personalization – Personalization goes beyond the standard salutation
  • CAN-SPAM – You don’t need to memorize it, but there are a few important things you should know
  • 6 Top Tips for maximizing your email marketing efforts in 2011

This webinar is aimed at imparting information that is useful to everyone, regardless of your current level of knowledge regarding email marketing. By showing you some key points, we aim to help you maximize the reach and effectiveness of your overall email marketing program.

We want to show you some tactics that can help you maximize your list potential. Your email list is a potential gold mine. Are you utilizing it as best you can?

How should I be collecting email addresses? How can I best use this data?

  1. Our first tip for data collection is regarding a great way to increase how much data you collect. Having a newsletter signup field on your homepage is important, but if it’s below the fold then it is likely not being seen. By placing or moving your newsletter signup to the top of the page or at least above the fold, you could see an increase in signups of up to 4x. This is qualified traffic that you want to be capturing as early as possible.
  2. Make sure you are collecting email permission at checkout. To do this, you must have a box somewhere in the checkout process that clearly defines that the user is opting in to your email channel.
  3. Test, Test, Test. Testing everything from the location of your newsletter signup field to your trigger timing to your tone and voice in your newsletter can all provide information that can help you make informed decisions about how to best communicate with your customers.

Your messaging is perhaps the most important part of your entire email program: everything from the type of message to the tone to the style of the creative and even the timing of the message.

  • First, we’ll talk about triggers. For those of you who don’t know and also to clearly define them for the purpose of this webinar, triggered messages are any message that is “triggered” by an action.
  • These triggered messages are the most timely, tailored, customized and powerful emails you can have in your arsenal. Triggered messages mainly focus on setting the tone of the communication channel and generating revenue.
  • Welcome emails are perhaps the most important messages you can have in your lineup. A welcome stream of 1-3 messages will set the tone and expectation among your newest users as to what they can expect from your brand. This is where you can begin to define the value proposition as well as establish your brand as a strong leader in your segment.
  • Post-transactional emails set the stage for maintaining communication with your users by letting them know you appreciate them. Generally, a “Thank You For Your Purchase” message performs very well regarding both revenue generation as well as branding.
  • Newsletters are a different type of message and require a different approach. Unlike triggers, newsletters are best at branding and not as a revenue generation exercise. Sure, most newsletters will generate some revenue, but the main focus of your newsletter should be seen as a branding exercise. Maintain your communication, deliver educational and informative information and occasionally offer deals. Stay in touch and stay relevant.

When it comes to list hygiene, there are a few things that are very important when it comes to maintaining a high quality and engaged list. First, does your ESP, or Email Service Provider, allow you to segment your audience based upon behavior? For example, can you identify and create a segment of users who have not engaged with email in the past 6 months? Or can you identify those users that are the MOST active on your list?

How many “lurkers” are on your list? Lurkers are those users who remain on your list but don’t engage with the channel. This results in higher costs for you because you pay to have them on your list and to send them emails they are not responding to. By identifying these users and attempting to re-engage them, you can either successfully bring them back into “active” status or you can expunge them from your list and save money. We’ve seen lists where over 80% are disengaged.

Personalization goes beyond dynamically entering the users first name into the subject line or salutation, both of which require some serious thought before employing. According to a MarketingSherpa study, personalizing emails not only increases the level of effectiveness, but doesn’t significantly increase the degree of difficulty or effort required to send a successful email campaign. The graphic above shows that the types of personalization that has the greatest positive effects are based on sending emails based on triggers such as a registration or purchase, and segmenting based on behavioral data such as frequency of opens or overall level of engagement with the email channel.

Above is a great example of how personalization can really impact the feel of an email. At the Scotts website, a user can sign up for the email program and by giving a small amount of information, Scotts can begin to send email based on the lifecycle of a particular product. For example, their Lawn Care Update email program delivers to the user “Personalized email updates that compliment your Scotts Annual Lawn Care Program including notifications when it’s time to apply products, customized advice based on your lawn type and region and relevant weed and bug alerts.” Very cool.

Since you’re likely not an email marketing expert, you probably don’t know the in’s and out’s of the CAN-SPAM law… and that’s just fine. If you follow some basic guidelines, you’ll be just fine.

  1. Practice only permission-based marketing.
  2. The law breaks down emails into 2 types: transactional and commercial.
  3. Honor all unsubscribe requests within 10 days.
  4. When sending emails outside of the United States, you must play by the laws of the country you are sending to. If you are unsure, reach out to an Email Marketing professional and ask. We’re very friendly and like to help.

So your takeaway from this webinar, if nothing else, should be this slide: 6 Things to Maximize Email Performance in 2011.

  1. The Welcome email is more important than ever. Set the standard and maintain it. Your users will respond.
  2. Slot new subscribers into a “newbie” track. Introduce them to the brand and set expectations.
  3. Clarify your value proposition. Let the user know the value you will offer and stick to it. If you don’t have something valuable to say, should you say anything? Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t want to receive the email yourself, then maybe you shouldn’t send it.
  4. Use consistent branding. Images, colors, tone and a seamless transition from emails and ads to your website. Make it clean and easy for the user to remember and value your brand.
  5. Establish and use personality. Choose a voice and stick with it. It is ok to test the voice, but just be consistent. Have one person write all of your emails or if you have multiple people writing your copy, have them
  6. Get relevant, stay relevant. Send your emails in a timely manner and send with regularity. Maintain an eye on seasonality as well as personal interaction and purchasing habits.
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