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10 requirements for email marketing success
April’s IABC/Atlanta luncheon kicked off with attention-grabbing facts about email:
- 4.6 billion email accounts exist
- 91% of consumers check email daily
- 72% of consumers prefer email as their primary source of business communication
- The return on investment for email is the highest among all forms of marketing tactics
First takeaway: as business communicators, exercising a strong email game is essential to effective marketing strategy and execution.
Then presenter Sharon Swendner of CRM Concepts opened the playbook, sharing ten Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing: concepts and tools to ensure that email is an integral and effective part of marketing communications strategies.
If the email doesn’t arrive, neither does your message. Learn your email service provider (ESP)’s definitions of deliverability vocabulary so that you can accurately evaluate the success of your email campaigns. Work with your ESP to implement strategies to increase deliverability, targeting 95% or higher.
“People want to consume content if it’s good quality content,” said Swendner. Create a customer journey map of when your customers or target customers receive and interact with email. Send your communications at those times. Use customer data to target communications when it’s time to renew or re-purchase. Or ask the customer to tell you how often they want to hear from you, and segment your communications based on that preference.
Ask customers and website visitors “early and often” to opt in to your emails. Display the sign-up call to action prominently in your website. Make it easy – minimize the information you request, but be sure to ask for the first name so that you can personalize your emails.
The federal CAN-SPAM Act requires that commercial emails include an easy way to unsubscribe. Best practice is a link in each email that unsubscribes with one click.
Increase open rates by personalizing emails with recipient-specific content from the user database in your ESP. One study found that just putting the recipient’s name in the subject line increased campaign open rates increased by 29%. Get creative! Insert the date of their last purchase, product- or service-specific renewal reminders, or suggest a next purchase based on what the recipient has purchased before.
An email’s “from” section has two parts: the name and the email address. The CAN-SPAM Act requires that the domain name (company.com) and name are accurate to your organization and the group or person within your organization from which it’s being sent. For example, a sales email cannot come from firstname.lastname@example.org. Make the from name and email address short, personal, and specific.
Try out different scenarios of an email to determine which best support achievement of your goals. First determine which elements you want to test: for example, content, personalization, formatting, buttons, words, titles, colors, positioning. Establish baseline metrics based on past campaigns (or an initial test send), along with a testing calendar. Then send different versions to different groups of recipients. Learn which scenarios best support your goals.
Plan and document your email campaign data strategy. Carefully review the data fields in your ESP and audit them regularly. Gather results data on a set schedule.
As mentioned earlier, email must be integrated into your overall marketing campaign. How does email fit into the customer journey? How should we use email to send recipients to other places? Use integrated marketing tools to view email results across your marketing ecosystem.
Success is only a feeling unless it’s measured. Document baseline metrics as you’re identifying your current state. Build key performance indicators (KPIs) based on the campaign’s purpose and goals. Then measure relentlessly. Use the metrics you gather to analyze and predict activity and modify the campaign as it’s in progress to drive greater success.
The last point is simple but integral: email must be part of your marketing ecosystem, and it must be balanced with your social platforms. Incorporate the above points into your strategy as well, and reap the benefits of email marketing.
After sharing these points with plenty of detail and examples, Sharon brought it home by providing real-time feedback on several participants’ actual emails. CRM Concepts offers marketing strategy, digital marketing, CRM management, and more. Learn more at crm-concepts.com.
Thank you to IABC/Atlanta member Swift Incentives for sponsoring the luncheon.