The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Judge the Success of Your Campaign

Analyzing the results of an email campaign is an essential step of the marketing process. (We like to say that it closes the “loop” in the eLoop system.) Without looking at the number of successful transmissions, open rates, conversion rates, click-through rates, and other available metrics, it’s impossible to know what works and what doesn’t. 

The mark of a successful campaign is the number of recipients that completed the action the message requested of them. The point of the message is to persuade them to buy a product or service, register for an event, or download an article. Linking the action requested to the number of people that completed gives the marketer a tangible result to measure.  

The best place to start when evaluating a campaign is to look at a summary of metrics provided by the email service provider (ESP).  These often include the metrics listed above. But, don’t rely only on these to give you a clear picture of the results because they can be misleading.  Open rates, for example, don’t always translate into transactions.  If the reader uses a preview pane, it will count as an “open” even though they may just delete the message.  

One suggestion to analyze what readers respond to is to use the split campaigns feature available in eLoop. This feature allows marketers to split their audience and create different messages with unique subject lines, images, and content, but the same call to action.  The results can help guide the development of future messages based on which message created the most significant results. 

Another tip is to be wary of industry averages for metrics.  The data may not come from a representative sample of industries and may only be a snapshot of one ESP’s client base.  With that being said, here are some different statistics on email metrics from The EmailStatCenter (www.emailstatecenter.com).  Please keep in mind that these stats are assuming a clean opt-in list.

Email marketing consultants consider an open rate of about 20% and a click-through rate of 4% to 5% to be a highly effective email campaign according to Internet Retailer (2006).

Nearly one-fifth of respondents reported that they do not know how their email marketing performs. (Internet Retailer, 2006)

18.7% don't know their open rates. (Internet Retailer, 2006)

16.7% don't know their click-through rates. (Internet Retailer, 2006)

23.3% don't know their conversion rates. (Internet Retailer, 2006)

29.6% don't know if their conversion rate has changed in the past year. (Internet Retailer, 2006)

Utilizing a professional company and/or their tools to test your image rendering across multiple email clients often helps to increase response up to as much as 87%. (Email Experience Council - Email Rendering Report, 2007)

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eLoop Launches a New Feature - A/B/Z Split Campaigns

Gold Lasso has enhanced your eLoop account with a new feature, the A/B/Z split campaign. A/B/Z split campaigns allow you to randomly split your list between two or more messages. The benefit of this new feature is that you can test the success of different elements of the campaign, such as subject lines, from lines, or other content, to find out which work best.

eLoop reports on each message and its respective portion of the list as a separate campaign.  For example if you name your campaign Summer Vacation Specials and split your list between two messages; Warm Spots and Cool Spots, eLoop will report two separate campaigns.

Some other campaign elements that you might consider testing are:

  • Layout, colors, or format - if your messages are usually text heavy, a message that is image heavy might inspire more click-throughs.  If they are image heavy, you can test to see if a text message works better with recipients. 
  • The offer - if your email campaigns typically include a discount offer, A/B?Z split campaigns will allow you to change the offer to determine which draws the most response. 
  • Call to action - do your recipients respond better to a "buy now" link or a link that says, ?click here to learn more.?  This new feature will allow you to find out. 
  • Landing page - landing pages are a key element to a campaign.  Make the messages identical, but change the landing page for each recipient group to find out what content and design works best. 
  • Scheduling - Send the same message on different days and different times to determine which draws the best response. 

To use A/B...Z Campaigns in eLoop mouse over Outbound Messaging, select Campaigns, and then select the tab titled, A/B/Z Campaigns.

 

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Unique Clicks and Open Stats to Determine Message Formats

If your email marketing system transmits email in MIME format how do you know what format (HTML or Text) your recipients are reading?  Most systems will calculate open rates however this is only regulated for HTML formats.  In addition most systems will calculate clicks however they do not distinguish between a text click or HTML click.

If you're fortunate enough to have an email service provider like Gold Lasso that calculates unique opens and unique clicks that distinguishes between HTML and text formats you can easily calculate a rough distribution between the two.

Here are the formulas:

HTML format = Number of recipients who requested HTML formats + (Unique Opens - Number of recipients who requested HTML formats)

Text format = Number of recipients who requested text formats + (Unique Text Clicks - Number of recipients who requested text formats)

MIME Format = Number of transmissions - (HTML format + Text format)

The reason why you need to subtract the number of recipients who requested a specific format from the Unique stat is because you do not want to count them twice.

Hint:  Over time if you see your text versions start to increase it is probably because your recipients are reading your email from a mobile device.  Many of our B2B clients are observing the text stat increase.

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Email Marketing: Facing the Challenges, Embracing the Power

E-mail marketing is an effective way to market your products and services to targeted audiences with personalized messages at a low cost. Similar to marketing trends of the past (direct mail, blast fax, etc), e-mail marketers are faced with new challenges to overcome as the popularity of this convenient communication and marketing vehicle increases.

During a one-year period from 2001 – 2002, DoubleClick reported that the volume of e-mail consumers received increased 60 percent. That number is expected to triple by the end of 2005. In addition to the sheer volume of e-mail messages, marketers also encounter two other main problems: (1) Spam blockers that can prevent legitimate e-mails from getting through to the consumer and an overall drop in the readership of messages (even for services the consumer has voluntarily opted-in to receive).

Marketers have a limited opportunity to catch the recipient’s attention as they peruse through an already saturated inbox. Remembering the following basic tips when crafting your message will help you more effectively market your product or service.

1. Provide value. Spam technology often includes a “trusted sources” option that allows consumers to create a list of sources whose messages can pass through the blocker. Therefore, marketers are tasked with distributing messages that provide valuable information about their product/service.

- Focus your message on what the end user will receive and how they benefit from the service. Do not write copy that highlights what the organization has done (i.e. “you” vs. “we”) but on how it helps the consumer.

- Build a profile page that allows the consumer to more directly target their preferences. Saving the consumer even one unwanted message builds trust.

- Educate consumers on the best way to use your product/service. Offer specific information on how to solve a problem for the consumer with your message.

2. Do not include hyperlinks, do include URLs. If hyperlinks do not work consumers are left without options for responding to the action item included in the message. Consider creating an online version of your message or typing out the URL in full so consumers can cut and paste it into their browser.

3. Design for the preview pane. The preview pane is approximately 374 pixels (about five inches) in an Outlook window. Employing a “postcard” design helps organize the message so action items are easily identifiable and strategically located within the text. Eliminating the extra step of opening the e-mail to read its contents may gain another reader.

4. Don’t use rich media. E-mail, though widely used, is still a generally low-tech medium. More than 65 percent of personal e-mail accounts do not display rich media (including Java script, Flash, streaming video, etc) correctly. Consider creating an online version of your message or using HTML only to increase readership.

5. Carefully craft your sender and subject line. Subject lines should be short and direct and should not exceed five words or 45 characters. Your subject line should provide specific, detailed information that avoids use of Spam tip-off words such as, “free,” “new” or “special offer.”

During the span of a day, consumers are bombarded with marketing messages not only through e-mail but also through radio, television, magazines and newspapers. Like the modern broadcasters, marketers should plan messages in terms of a sound byte—a short period to catch the attention of the audience and give them the information they need to contact you and learn more.

Danielle Ashery is VP, Client Services at Gold Lasso, Inc. She can be reached by telephone at 301-990-9857 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Email Marketing Best Practices

Did you know that 93 percent of U.S. Internet users count email as their top online activity? *At a time when many people seem concerned about the volume of email reaching their inboxes, legitimate marketers are relying more and more on email communications to reach their target audience.

Does this make sense? The answer is a resounding YES. Email is a fast, inexpensive and extremely effective way to target and address disparate audiences. Does this mean you should just go ahead and email to your hearts delight? The answer is a resounding NO. We have compiled a list of some email marketing best practices both from our own experiences, and those of other industry experts to help you make the most of your in-house email marketing strategy.

Grow your opt in list
When it comes to lists, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Targeted, permission-based lists will serve you best in the long run. There are many ways to build a permission-based list. You can gather email addresses from your website, trade show booths, customer service departments, sales representatives, event registrations, and sweepstakes. Show your customers and prospects the value of what they are signing up for by offering them samples of your newsletter, white papers and other communications. Offer targeted subscriptions by tailoring your opt-outs by category of communication. By doing this, you offer your subscribers a choice of communications that most interests them.

Test, test, test
You don’t want to display a ‘less-than-professional’ image by sending email messages that display with broken code or missing graphics. You can avoid this by testing. Remember, your layout may look great displayed on your computer, but not so perfect on another email client. You may choose to set up several free email accounts to view your message on various readers.

Smart marketers understand that everything from delivery date, time, call to action, pricing and content may effect response rates. So, don’t stop your testing at format. Test all aspects of your message from your offer, subject line, and content to the delivery dates/times. Email campaigns (unlike their snail mail counterparts), with their automatic reporting capabilities, provide the perfect vehicle for trying different offers, in order to best optimize response rates.

HTML/Text
HTML emails are more interesting to read. The graphics, images, colors and format, when done correctly, increase the reader’s ability to process the content of the message, and make a better brand impression. However, if not executed properly, too much visual stimulation can backfire, and obscure the reader’s ability to process the content of the message. In addition, some corporate email servers withhold graphics, and many people on their home computers still have dial up connections which could make the load times on large HTML messages frustrating. The answer is to keep your messages simple and relevant. And, when creating your messages, create a text only and HTML version, and give your audience the choice of which they would rather receive.

Relevancy
Getting rid of ‘unwanted’ postal mail requires you to expend some energy – a trip to the mailbox, opening the communication, walking to the trash can, and finally, discarding the envelope and it’s contents. Discarding unwanted email, on the other hand, requires almost no effort. At the click of a button, someone can unsubscribe from your communications. The trick is to make your communications so valuable, that they won’t want to. Try to personalize your communication, whenever possible. Use your Web site’s registration page, or include a subscription management link in your email communications to ask subscribers what they want to see. Also, track which links are clicked to determine what interests your readers, and target your future communications accordingly.

Frequency
Sometimes too much is enough to make someone unsubscribe. How often have you signed up for a newsletter or special store promotion by email, only to be inundated by offers from that vendor on a daily basis. It’s difficult to answer the question, ‘how often should I communicate with my customers and prospects’. It varies by industry and type of offer. A newsletter should come on a regular basis. But, keep in mind that a special offer is no longer ‘special’ if you’re offering it constantly. As you build your email communications program, ask your subscribers how often they would like to hear from you, and then listen to what they have to say.

Technology and the Internet have opened new doors for direct marketers, allowing for cost effective communication, targeting and information gathering on customers and prospects. By following some simple, commonsense rules, you can reap the benefits that email marketing technology has to offer.

* Source: Jupiter Research, a division of Jupitermedia Corporation.

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The Email Monetization Playbook
Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!

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Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!