Effective Email Marketing
Over the past few years, research has continued to prove the benefits of e-mail marketing for internet marketing: low costs, high conversion rates and detailed tracking are all notable features. But e-mail marketing is becoming much more than just a tool for spammers and e-businesses. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy on the differences between spam and permission-based emails, and more and more of them are accepting permission-based e-mail marketing as a positive replacement for direct mail.
The best news is that the majority of people who receive permission-based e-mails open, on average, 78% of them.
Jupiter Research reports effective email marketing campaigns can produce nine times the revenues and 18 times the profits of broadcast mailings. But crafting an effective email is both an art and a science. Here is a list of factors, potential problems and effective solutions to keep in mind:
1. Spam! Spam! Spam! I don’t need any Viagra!
The average consumer receives more than 300 emails a week, 62% of which are spam. No wonder there’s such hostility towards the industry. But spam filters, bulk folders and “report spam” features are helping consumers become more at ease about the perils of spam. While 89% of users cited spam as a major concern in 2003, that number dropped to 85% in 2004, proportionally to an increase in the use of spam-fighting tools.
So as a permission-based business email marketer, what can you do? One tip is to remind your subscribers to add you to their “safe senders” list. The second, and most important, tactic is to make sure your email marketing service provider has a good relationship with ISPs. This will ensure that your email marketing campaigns go into your subscribers’ inboxes, not their junk mail folders. When choosing an email marketing company, make sure the company has strict anti-spam policies and complies with the guidelines of Can-Spam.
2. Images and formatting.
Images and visuals are absolutely a critical part of marketing your product or service. To send an email with no images would be both a branding and conversion error. The trick with email is to find a way to use images in a way that will benefit your email’s performance rather than detract from it. And yes, email images can absolutely detract from your email’s performance in many ways. However, as you begin to think about using images in your email, remember this: email images are important and should be included in your email template design.
For the email images that you use in your email templates, avoid making the files too large. This is not only from a space perspective, but large image files can create significant spam and email deliverability issues. Small, compressed, well-formatted images are the key to successful use of email images.
Remember all of the following key points when designing the use of images in your email templates:
Images are an important part of a successful email template. Simply follow the best practices above and you’ll be sure to find the middle ground between images that enhance your email template performance and images that create email deliverability and performance issues.
3. Personalization and relevant content: In a marketing e-mail, one size does not fit all.
In a recent study by DoubleClick, email users were 72% more likely to respond to an e-mail if its content was based on the interests they had specified. That number points out the absolute importance of allowing users to choose their own interest groups and have control over which e-mails they receive.
But your best offer is no good unless the user opens the email. Users in the study said the most compelling reason for them to open an email is the name in the “from” field. So it’s a good idea to make sure your company name is clearly stated there. Another major factor is the “subject” line. Users cite discount offers and interesting news as the most compelling subject lines, followed by new product announcements and free shipping offers.
4. Click-through and conversion: Show me the money!
So the user has opened your email and read the content. Great. But where’s the sale? There’s good news here. For one, consumers are increasingly likely to make purchases as a direct result of an email campaign. One-third of users in the DoubleClick study had purchased something by clicking a link in an email. Another 42% clicked on an email link for more information, then purchased the product at a later time. Second, online couponing is booming: 73% of consumers have redeemed an online coupon for an online purchase, and 59% have redeemed an online coupon offline.
The overall landscape for email marketing conversions is looking brighter every day. The average click-to-purchase rate has increased nearly 30% since 2004 and the average orders-per-email-delivered rate has increased more than 18% since last year.
5. Stats tracking: who are my real consumers?
E-mail marketing is an increasingly popular tool in effective IM, and it’s about time more internet marketers recognize that. First off, if your autoresponder’s email services for do not include detailed, real-time tracking, you’re getting a raw deal. Real-time tracking is now an industry standard, and it’s highly valuable, as it allows you to see the exact moment a user opens your campaign, clicks on your link and makes that purchase. Studying your users can help you improve your communications efforts, so each campaign performs better than the last.
But many marketers are still in the dark. According to a recent WebTrends research, only 5% of marketers are very confident in the measurement of their online marketing efforts, while 26% admit they’re “flying blind.” WebTrends says the low confidence comes from a lack of knowledge when it comes to measurement, which means there’s still a lot of work to be done.
In email marketing, a blind shot won’t take you very far. But if you aim properly by following these essential rules of play, you should soon be reaping the same major results as so many online and offline businesses.
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