By Jason Gervais, Published November 23, 2012
This is the 8th installment of our 10 part series expanding on our recent article 10 Killer Techniques to Quadruple your Internet Marketing Success.
Want Better Results from your Email Marketing?
According to the Direct Marketing Association, the return on investment for email marketing in 2011 was $44 for every $1 spent. That 4400% ROI is something to be excited about (and if you’re not already riding the email marketing bandwagon- jump on)!
However, people are getting busier and busier these days and their inboxes are congested. You’re also competing with a multitude of brands and companies who are looking to capitalize on this effective marketing platform as well.
Make sure your emails are commanding more attention than your competitor’s by following these 5 simple tips.
1. Subject line
There is no perfect science to developing a great subject line. Most email marketing services will tell you the number of contacts who opened your email. If you have already been using an email marketing service like Constant Contact or HubSpot, look back over your past emails and see which ones had the highest open rates. Do they have anything in common? Test different variations of your most successful headlines to see if you can get an even higher open rate.
If you’re looking for a place to start, these 3 tactics have shown to be effective:
Ask a Question
Asking a question in your message’s subject line can pique the interest of your recipients and get them to open your email.
Ex: Could you be spending less on your mobile plan?
As long as your subject is relevant to the recipient (and if they’ve given you their email address, assumedly it is), they will have interest in learning from your expertise. Subject lines that offer valuable information to the recipient can have a high click through rate- particularly if they are timely.
Ex: 4 Tips for getting your lawn ready for winter
Create a Sense of Urgency
In overcrowded inboxes, less important emails often get pushed off until later. This then turns to never. By crafting a subject line that creates a sense of urgency- either a limited quantity or time limited offer- your recipients will feel compelled to open your message right away.
Ex: Half price soil bag sale today only
2. Be Concise
If you target has opened your message, you have only a few seconds for them to decide whether or not it’s of value to them. They are looking for an immediate solution to their problem. You need to give them just that before they delete your message in a click.
Be clear about describing the benefits of your offer to your potential customer, instead of describing the attributes of your product/service. Remember that your recipient will be skimming, not reading your message, so shorter the text, the better. Use bulleted lists anywhere you can.
3. Segment & Provide Relevant Content
As your email list grows, you will want to start targeting certain contacts differently than others. If your message is not relevant to the recipient, they will be compelled to unsubscribe.
You want to have the ability to tailor your messaging to a certain type of client. You want to avoid sending a trial offer to existing customers, or a commercial offer to a residential customer.
The best way for you to ensure that your contacts receive relevant messaging is through the segmentation of your email lists. You can do this in many ways; there’s no one size fits all for every business.
Some effective ways to segment your lists include:
- How did you acquire the email address (if existing customer, what service/product have they purchased from you)?
- Where is their location (city/town, urban/suburban/rural)?
- Have they expressed interest in other product/services?
- Are they commercial or residential?
- What is their industry (if you have commercial clients)?
4. Call to Action
Don’t confuse your prospects. By giving them different options to act, you actually increase the chance that they will not act at all. The best email campaigns stick to a single call to action.
You might think that if your only call to action is to request a consultation or a quote, you will miss out on the business of prospects that are not in that stage of the buying cycle- ones that would be interested in viewing your portfolio first, or learning more about your offerings.
This is a non-issue if you are segmenting your email lists properly. Your email contacts should only be receiving messages that contain a call to action that is consistent with their past relationship with your business.
The call to action with the greatest impact has a benefit to your prospect built in.
Ex: Get your coupon code now and put that $50 back in your wallet VS: Get your coupon code now
Sending marketing emails too often can completely kill an otherwise great campaign. As a general rule, biweekly messages are the most the majority of contacts will tolerate before they become irritated and unsubscribe. This does vary from business to business, and should only be used as a broad guideline.
To determine the optimal sending frequency for your specific business, pay attention to the unsubscribe metrics in your email marketing tool. Try sending a weekly email during your busiest time of the year. Do you lose any subscribers? If it’s less than 1% of the total recipients, you can continue to send at this frequency until the unsubscribe rate goes up.
Think Email, Not Direct Mail
How much of your mail is tossed into the trash without a second look? It makes me cringe to think of all of the money that is put into designing, printing and delivering direct mail promotions that are completely ignored by the recipients.
Email marketing gives you instant feedback so that you are able to continuously adjust and improve upon your campaigns. With a lower cost for designing and implementing several different campaigns, and the ability to easily segment your audience, you can ensure that your messages are relevant to each of your contacts, and thus less likely to be ignored.
Email campaigns are an important component of an overall internet marketing strategy. If you’re interested in learning how to use the web to drive your sales, download our Guide to Capturing Better Leads Online.