The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Back to Basics: Get Results with Your Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing is a primary factor in generating leads and initiating a call to action. But how can you make your campaign the best it can be?

Start with a Solid Email-Marketing List

A well cultivated and relevant list is the most valuable tool any email marketer can have. This means a list that has been carefully compiled, consisting of contacts of a true opted-in nature (not one that has been purchased) and genuinely want to hear from you. It is also important to keep your list up to date. Proper list cleansing and maintenance will ensure the best deliverability possible.

According to the September 2012 Business2Business post, “Get to Know Your Email Marketing List a Little Better,” the size of your marketing list is not nearly as important as the quality.

If you don’t take time to get to know the people in your list, you stand the risk of sending irrelevant, untimely, and potentially boring emails to the majority of your subscribers. This will result in poor engagement—sometimes referred to as email fatigue—and will lead to declining open rates and click-throughs, and ultimately poor sales.

Give Your Message the Creativity it Deserves

In order to produce a truly creative and targeted email, marketers must take into account several key components. The message’s subject line, body content and graphics all come into play.

The subject line should be engaging and include a strong call to action. After all, the first thing viewers will want to know is “what’s in it for me”. The first impression is invaluable. Marketers should make sure to tell subscribers what they want up front, what they will get in return, and then reinforce it several times throughout the email. By grabbing the subscriber’s attention from the start and layering their call to action several times, marketers will increase the strength of the first impression.

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Email marketing and the art of subject lines

On average, marketers have a four second window in which to grab the attention of their audience. In those four seconds, a subscriber will decide to either open or trash your message. The most important factor in this decision is of course, the subject line. The subject line is the most valuable piece of email real estate, as it’s the first impression a message has on its recipient. Marketers can make the most of their subject lines by keeping in mind these five valuable tips:

Ask a question
Ex: “Organic vs Conventional? What chow is best for your pooch?”

Get the customer’s gears turning by posing a question. Engaging them from the beginning is a fool proof way to ensure the message gets opened. For example: A pet supply company may lead an email with a question about whether organic pet food is better than conventional. It's likely their audience has wondered the same thing. By asking the question within the subject line, the audience is encouraged to open the email in order to learn the answer.

Teach something
Ex: “Fuel cost is rising. How to cut your gas cost in half”

Everyone enjoys learning something new. By teaching your audience something, you immediately increase your brand’s value in their eyes. Instead of just selling them something, you have situated yourself as an authority on a subject. Now, customers will see you not only as a retailer, but as a valuable informant. Give them value for their time, and it is likely they will repay you with theirs by opening your message.

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Highlighting the Promo Code in the Subject Line for Extra Visibility

This post is based on an initial article written by Andy Thorpe "The Anatomy of Email: Subject Lines" and a response that I wrote to his post.

I originally read about using promo codes in the subject line in an article from Jordan Lane over at Email Moxie towards the end of last year.

A  few weeks before I read Jordans article, I was speaking with Mike Cayelli, the CEO at Cuff-Daddy about ramping up for the upcoming holiday season.   Cuff-Daddy is one of the leading retail websites specializing in cufflinks to fit everyone's budgets.  They have a home grown opt-in list that get's an incredible deliverability rate.  They have relied on Email marketing to help grow their bottom line and they notice a significant jump in sales during email campaigns.  We were discussing different ideas on how to increase opens and clickthroughs to drive more holiday sales.  We came up with a bunch of ideas that we began executing immediately which seemed to be moving things along in the right direction.   Some of the ideas were content related, time related, adding personalization, and a snazzy new template.  It's important to note that the above mentioned ideas were implemented before testing the promo code in the subject line.  They had already begun seeing an increase in opens and clicks prior to testing.

I sent Jordan’s article to read and told him that we should give it a try in their next campaign.  He agreed, and the results were very positive.  They saw a 4% increase in open rates, an 8% increase in link clicks and a 12% increase in sales.  These were exciting stats as we weren't expecting a big bump from something so simple as highlighting the promo code in the subject line.  Because of these results, Cuff-Daddy has taken this simple task and added it to their marketing efforts for 2011.  The best part about this tactic is that it's easy to implement, takes no integration whatsoever and is very, very low risk.  I think that this test was successful not only because the promo code had extra visibility in the subject line but it was this idea coupled with other ideas outlined in Andy's initial article that made it work.  Since the subject line is the "first impression", it's important to find a good balance that works for your organization.  My best advice is to test, test, test and then test some more.  A good way to test this theory would be to use an A/B split to see if adding the promo code works for you.  Since Cuff-Daddy's success, we have been talking to our other retail clients about implementing this and they have all been receptive to giving it a try.  If you implement this, please let me know your results for a follow-up post in the near future.

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Tips for Retailers - Online Layaway?

Gold Lasso is noticing that larger big box retailers are responding to current economic conditions by reinstating long forgotten layaway programs just in time for the holiday season.  Since many consumers have reduced credit lines, it will be imperative for pure online retailers that sell larger ticket items to offer similar programs and promote them aggressively to compete effectively for their respective market segments.  With the continued squeeze in the consumer credit markets, layaway will be a lasting trend and one that will need to be embraced by online retailers as well.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Let us know here or on our facebook page. 

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Clearinghouse Outreach Through Email Solutions

Clearinghouse Outreach Through Email Solutions

Almost every Federal agency has at least one clearinghouse and, based on their mission, most agencies have several clearninghouses for providing information to the public. For example most of the institutes within NIH have their own clearinghouses. Among them are the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, etc. Other government agencies with their own clearinghouses include:

  • Justice Department: National Criminal Justice Reference Service
  • Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Public Housing Environmental & Conservation Clearinghouse and the Mulitfamily Housing Clearinghouse
  • CDC: The National Prevention Information Network, the SAFETI Clearinghouse and the HIV/AIDS Resource
  • FCC: PSHSB clearinghouse.

These clearinghouses are mechanisms for public distribution of the latest news, publications, regulations and guidelines, best practices, etc. on a specific subject. They play an important role to the professionals in the specific field and the public that has specific interests in the subject matter. 

Both the public and professionals know that all of the information has been researched and vetted, represents factual content and is trustworthy. In other words, there is a basic trust between the consumer public and the government. 

It is easy to sign up for a general clearinghouse newsletter that may be emailed once a month, but that won’t satisfy most consumers who are usually looking for immediate answers, specific information and real-time communications updates, especially during a time of crisis.  A government agency cannot expect citizens to search its clearinghouse website every day. People want timely communications.People want to feel like they can continue that basic level of trust. But if agencies don't deliver messages at the most important time, communication with the public might be percieved as an afterthought. And that wouldn't be good.

Sophisticated email automation with dynamic content and database segmentation will allow the individuals to clearly tell government agencies exactly what content they want. At time of sign-up, the person can opt-in to allow automated email alerts via email and RSS feeds as soon as new information on the topics become available.

With sophisticated email tools such as one-click alerts (which allow the campaign to be preloaded and executed from a mobile device), and action-based messaging (such as emails triggered by someone clicking or not clicking a link for more information), clearinghouse communications can efficiently deliver the right message to the right person at the right time using the right medium.

The bottom line: Time is a commodity. Consumers depend on focused email alerts to keep up to date on the latest information essential to their needs. The right email campaign software will allow government agencies to not only save their own time, but save the public's time by focusing on the immediacy of email alerts.

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