Sometimes we all get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the daily grind that we forget to take a step back. Yet, every marketing program needs to be re-evaluated from time to time. So, today we are going to go back to basics. Let’s take a look at five “do’s and don’ts” for your email program!
To start with, ask yourself: Are you fully leveraging your online customer file? It is best practice to stay in constant touch with your buyers although this strategy demands a strong cautionary note: Do everything you can to avoid instant banishment (yes, the “unsubscribe” link, followed by the dreaded “delete” key) and long-term resentment towards your good brand name.
So, how DO you effectively use this great sales and marketing tool while avoiding email exile? Listed below are five major rules of email engagement:
1. Don’t abuse the privilege.
You have been entrusted with your customer’s email address and, more than likely, a whole host of demographic information (i.e., company name, physical address, phone number, etc.) as well as the product(s) purchased. The goal is to evolve this level of trust into a more personal relationship and, ultimately, additional sales. Quickly learn the frequency your customers are willing to accept your emails before you fall into the nuisance category. The best approach is to A/B test your audience and see if more/less frequencies negatively impact sales. In the end, it’s all about relevancy: timely newsletters, new product announcements, VIP offers, company messages—anything that justifies the contact. Each email must have a purpose, not just a reason to keep your name in front of the customer. An honest self-assessment of your content will point you in the right direction.
2. Constant testing = Long-term success.
You know your online customers better than anyone else. Are your emails more likely to be opened and viewed before working hours, during lunchtime, or in the evening? Many email marketers want to be the first one in the inbox while others prefer mid-morning when the targeted audience has extinguished all of the daily “fires” in their inbox. And don’t forget to sign up for all of your competitor’s mailings. Study their tactics as far as drop times and day(s) of the week. It’s then up to you whether you want to potentially show up in the inbox with your competitors—and face them head-on with your offer—or avoid them completely and carve out your own unique space.
And then there’s the testing phase: Never get too comfortable with your email deployment strategy. It’s too easy to get lulled into a sense that Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9am are working and so you can move onto other challenges within the business. Most of your competitors are constantly testing these same factors and making the necessary adjustments to improve sales and customer satisfaction. Never get too comfortable. It’s back to test, test, test. It’s a never-ending discipline that will pay off.
3. Develop compelling subject lines.
The subject line determines your fate. It must be short, succinct, and attention-getting. You need to pique their interest and ensure the email content thoroughly supports the subject line. If the content does match the “teaser,” the mismatch becomes apparent within seconds and the recipient will hit the “delete” button. There are many sources on the web for suggestions but you’re essentially back to testing again. Be sure you have the tools to accurately evaluate bounces, opens, click-through rates and unsubscribes. To learn more about how to get the most out of your subject lines, read this great blog article.
4. One size does not fit all.
No matter how relevant the email content, your ultimate goal is to keep it short and sweet. Avoid excessive scrolling unless you have no choice. Try to keep every email a blend of eye-catching images and text. Be sure there is at least one call to action in every email to generate a visit to your website. And don’t get locked into one format—occasionally change your visuals to ensure your emails stay fresh and appealing and not too formulaic.
5. Promote your social media presence.
Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to promote Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to your customer base. It’s all about making your customers feel like they are part of your family. Check out this article for tips on how to incorporate social media into your email program.
Well, there you go. Five back-to-basic ideas that you should always keep in mind when it comes to email marketing. What “Do” or “Don’t” did we leave off? Leave us a comment and let us know!