Best practices for Email Marketing

Written by Stefanos Cunning


Best practices for e-mail marketing

Business use of email has increased dramaticallyrepparttar past 2 years, with many workers checking their email constantly throughoutrepparttar 109555 day. A study fromrepparttar 109556 Gartner Group showed that 42% of users check their business e-mail even while on vacation, and 23% check it on weekends. Duringrepparttar 109557 workweek, 32% check their e-mail constantly throughoutrepparttar 109558 day, and 53% check their e-mail six or more times a day. This isrepparttar 109559 good news.

The bad news is estimates that by 2005repparttar 109560 average e-mail recipient will receive 1,600 commercial e-mail messages, as well as 4,000 other e-mails in their inbox. How do marketers cut throughrepparttar 109561 clutter?

Success factors:

Obtain permission

Permission boosts response rates. Giverepparttar 109562 clientrepparttar 109563 perception that they are in control ofrepparttar 109564 messages they are receiving.

Target your messages

Not only do you generate better response forrepparttar 109565 initial mailing, it builds credibility with clients so that they will read future e-mail. The main point is to avoid e-mail fatigue.

Deliver value

Whether sending content or promotional info, donít send fluff. Make sure your copy is well written.

Use personalization

Where possible segment your list and personalize according to your clientís profile, to add personalization beyond simply addressing them by name. For example, if you have five types of clients, use "dynamic personalization" to customize your feature/benefit points torepparttar 109566 client (e.g. Law Librarians vs. Legal Secretaries).

Monitor and limit quantity and frequency of mailings

General guide for frequency is one email message a month to stay inrepparttar 109567 clientís mind, and max once every two weeks. This guideline is only for marketing email, and doesnít include other customer service or confirmation emails you might be sending. Other factors impact your clientís tolerance, such asrepparttar 109568 level of relationship they have with you, how many other marketing communications they receive through mail, advertising, etc. If you canít control other messages, at least be aware ofrepparttar 109569 risk of email fatigue, and keep those messages targeted!

Fitting E-Mail into your Marketing Mix

Speed, ease of response, and cheap production costs make e-mail ideal for:

customer relationship communications (e.g. a newsletter) testing offers relationship-building customer service e-mails product/service updates It can also really boost response when used in conjunction with your other communication vehicles, such as PR, advertising, postal mail, or telemarketing. Email excels in offering levels of personalization and segmentation that can be cost-prohibitive with print.

Comparison of E-Mail vs. Postal Direct Mail

Strengths of e-mail:

Speed of response - find out how your campaign is doing within hours instead of weeks Reduced production time Increased testing capabilities Personalization opportunities Potentially more cost-effective than print Ability to track every single action and tie it back to a single user Ability to increase campaign reach through forwarded email (tell-a-friend or viral marketing) Can create dialogue with your customer Easiest and quickest way to get customers to come to your site to fill in your database (vs. collecting paper forms and business reply cards).

Weaknesses or Differences:

Up to 50-80% of response is generated within 48 hours and up to 90% within a week. Compare to postal campaigns where it can take two months to receive 85% of response, with peak response typically in week three and four. However, some marketers are finding customers hanging on to their emails, especially newsletters, and generating up to 20% of their responses two to four months later.

Like postal mail, a targeted, opt-in list isrepparttar 109570 key to response, but seems even more important with email. Whereas postal campaigns one can arguerepparttar 109571 importance of list, offer and creativity is balanced, with email it is still weighted to your list and offer. Withrepparttar 109572 increase of spam, expect your customers and subscribers to demand better creativity to cut throughrepparttar 109573 clutter. Bad creativity can kill response. Read on for details.

Planning your email campaign

Just as important asrepparttar 109574 actual email and offer itself, you need to planrepparttar 109575 following:

Landing Page

Where do you want recipients to go when they get your email? Do you need to design a landing page?

If you are designing a specific campaign, then, yes, you want to create a landing page for them that reinforcerepparttar 109576 offer and encourage them to close an appointment. Coordinate your landing page with your email, i.e. userepparttar 109577 same design, wording, etc. Continuerepparttar 109578 copy started in your email. Repeatrepparttar 109579 promotion and your call to action.

Replies

Where will replies be sent? Who will respond to them? What questions could be answered inrepparttar 109580 email instead of making clients ask for information?

Forwarding messages

Is there any information inrepparttar 109581 email that could not be forwarded to a recipient - e.g. a special offer only for that group of clients? If so, be sure any specifics are covered inrepparttar 109582 email.

Bouncebacks and Undeliverables

Every email campaign generates undeliverable mail. A soft bounce is whenrepparttar 109583 address is good, but is getting bounced back byrepparttar 109584 recipientís mail server because it is too busy orrepparttar 109585 mailbox is full. If you are using a service provider to sendrepparttar 109586 email campaign, they usually allow for four tries over 48 hours and then considerrepparttar 109587 email undeliverable.

A hard bounce is whenrepparttar 109588 recipientís mail server responds thatrepparttar 109589 user is no longer at that address or is unknown at that domain.

A service provider will flag these addresses as undeliverable and not mail them (so you do not incur mailing fees). A download of these addresses should be taken to updaterepparttar 109590 internal database. Ifrepparttar 109591 client warrantsrepparttar 109592 cost, a call out or postcard requesting an updated email address can be sent.

Testing

Do not miss an opportunity to test an element of your campaign in order to understand how your customers respond to email. Donít base results only on clickthroughs (unless itís just an awareness campaign). Base your results on final actions, which are usually sales.

These are just some ofrepparttar 109593 things you can test:

List Offer Subject line Creative: tone, content, copy length, layout HTML vs. Text Landing pages - layout, copy Time of day/week - for B2B generally this has proven to be Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 10am-11am. For consumers you may find a spike inrepparttar 109594 evenings and if you email Fridays or on weekends. Test email vs. print, email in conjunction with print. Email as part of initial sales cycle instead of phone or print. Find out when a customer needs to talk to a human being.

Break The Habit - Just Say 'No' To eMail

Written by Lois M. Jeary


Inrepparttar beginning, email was an effective tool for getting our ezines out and our marketing messages to our readers. The truth is, email is no longer a viable alternative. In all likelihood it may not recover unless some serious changes are made torepparttar 109554 technical protocol of how email can be created.

Inrepparttar 109555 meantime, your business has been suffering in a big way. And if you continue to rely on email, you may find yourself out of business.

Publishers today have become extremely frustrated with email as their method of delivery and for good reason. Do any of these sound familiar to you?

- ISPs cancelling your service without explanation - risk of being placed on a ban list - creating a special issue for email to avoid tripping filters - re-creatingrepparttar 109556 issue for your website archives - mundane and mind-numbing list maintenance tasks - processing unsubscribes - processing bouncebacks - dealing with unwarranted spam complaints - should you use opt-in or double opt-in - trying to find email addresses that don't exist

If that's not bad enough, how many of you send out a note a day or two after you've sent your ezine to say 'If you didn't receiverepparttar 109557 latest issue, it was probably caught inrepparttar 109558 filters'?

What a colossal waste of valuable time. You should be taking advantage of some ofrepparttar 109559 emerging technologies that are available today. A large number of publishers have gone to a weblog format for presenting their information and while a step inrepparttar 109560 right direction, there is still a big gap in their use. They still use email to notify you about new content.

Quikonnex isrepparttar 109561 best one I've come across so far simply because it offers so much to bothrepparttar 109562 publisher andrepparttar 109563 subscriber. And you don't require a 'techie degree' to use it.

It's a complete direct-to-desktop publishing service that offers media-rich content management in your choice of text, html, audio and/or video as well as two way communication with your readers and fellow members. It'srepparttar 109564 most user-friendly content management and communication system you'll find today. It's easier to use than email and more interactive than a website. Best of all, no programming is required.

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