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Archive for May, 2010

Advanced Email Marketing Tactics #21: Personalize

Friday, May 28th, 2010

This is a bonus tactic.

Personalize your email campaign.  All campaigns should have at least a name (which shouldn’t be a problem if the list is being built and maintained properly).  However personalization shouldn’t stop there.  Advanced personalization increases credibility and conversion rates as it begins to take a personal stake in a recipients interests.

Personalizing can vary greatly from campaign to campaign.  Good personalization is built on segmentation.  Here are some common segments:

  • Topics – Are there subcategories of information people can opt-in for so that they get specific content to an identified topic?
  • Industry – Can the content be customized by industry served so that it has laser specific content?
  • Geography – Is there a location breakdown where people can get only localized information presented in local dialects and sayings?

These are just three examples but start to present how messages can be personalized.  Once subscribers belong to very specific groups, the amount appearance of one-to-one communication starts to be seamless.  When done flawlessly recipients stop viewing emails as a commercial or “group” email and see it as a personal interaction.

Email Marketing Tactics #20: Clean Up the Email List

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Nothing lasts forever.  That’s as true for email subscribers as anything else.  An email opt-in is not a lifetime commitment.  Opt-outs should be a foregone conclusion as subscribers should have a simple way of removing themselves from communications.  However, many email marketers are reluctant to scrub their email lists of inaccurate or bouncing emails.  Maintaining your email list will help keep costs down and improve delivery.

Most Internet Service Providers take bounce rates into account as a SPAM signifier.  Therefore, quality email service providers will have an interest in clean lists.  However, don’t rely on a reprimand from your email service to prompt you into cleaning the list.  Make it a routine.

Depending on your email service’s billing practice it can save money.  Removing emails that bounce means less overall sends which reduces costs for per email billing.  Removing bad email addresses has the potential to drop under subscribers thresholds and drop rates to a lower tier for per subscriber billing.

A monthly or quarterly review of bounce rates is a good idea.  The larger the list the more frequent the review should be.  Bounce rates will grow over time.  It is not a sign of a poor performing email campaign as these recipients aren’t even receiving the message.  It’s a signifier of the transience of email addresses.  Plan on 20% of your email list going bad every year.  That is the rate that the average person changes email addresses.

Cleaning up an email list is an often overlooked necessity.  Many email marketers resist cleaning the list because they like seeing a lot of email addresses in heir subscriber list. They see it as a sign of success. Be honest with yourself.  Anyone can create thousands of fake email addresses and point to it as a sign of a thriving campaign.  The point is to communicate a valuable message to an interested audience, not gather email addresses.  Remove the bad email addresses so that you get an accurate sense of how the campaign is performing and a realistic view of who is paying attention.

Email Marketing Tactics #19: Test Email Communications

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Test your email communications! It should go without saying but we can get overly comfortable creating our messages. That comfort level can become negligence and testing can get overlooked. This is always a costly mistake. Be diligent in testing emails and set a checklist to confirm that the email is ready to send.

Every decent email marketing program offers a function to send a test email. Send the email to your account. Then a checklist is the best way to hold yourself accountable to checking an email communication thoroughly. At minimum it should include:

  • Proofread the subject line for clarity and spelling errors.
  • Proofread the communication for spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Survey the layout for design errors or display issues.
  • Click all links to ensure they function correctly and redirect to the appropriate webpage.

Certain email campaigns might have a few more line items but if these four items are correct then the email is ready to send. If a second set of eyes is available it’s a good idea to have a proofreader. The person creating the email often gets too close and has problems identifying problems.

Make a habit of testing your emails. Typos and display issues will not get recipients to engage your company. Testing is the only way to ensure that you detect your errors, rather than your audience.