With any advertising approach that involves a mailing strategy, campaign testing is a vital component in getting the best return results with the resources you have available. Direct mailing has been the foundation of companies’ marketing strategies for generations, and still remains a dependable and reliable source of getting your message sent straight to the mailboxes of your customers. However with the expansion of the ever popular social media methods, DM is often the first thing to be eliminated. Because of this, it is important to adapt and expand your methods and focus on email marketing and the right type of campaign testing to prove that the physical piece alongside online mailing is still bringing in returns.
Email marketers often see their results slipping–fewer opens, a lower click-through rate and a dropping conversion rate–and panic. That’s understandable when the bottom line is at stake, but panicking won’t help you figure out what’s wrong with your email marketing strategy or how you can fix it. The only thing that can help is to test, test, test … and then test some more!
Remember that all 10 things to test below are meant to be tested over time. Don’t try to test too many things at once or too quickly, as you’re results likely won’t be accurate. Here are the main parts of your email marketing to focus on when you decide something needs to change:
As the countdown begins for the 2012 Presidential Election, both candidates Romney and Obama have plenty to think about while they plan out their election campaign strategy. A sluggish U.S economy where job growth has stalled, troubles looming in Europe that threaten to produce another sovereign debt crisis, and subtle hints that emerging markets might not be able to sustain global growth are some of the main concerns that the presidential candidates will have to convince the American public they can solve.
I am a consumer. During the summer, I work with the marketing team at Net Atlantic, an email marketing provider. But nine months of the year I’m just an average student. I’m the person that reads those emails you send out and, if they’re interesting enough, I click through to your site. If you’re lucky, I just might buy something.
So today you get a little “outside perspective.” I may not analyze CTRs or market segmentation patterns, but I spend a few minutes every day looking through the dozens of emails I get from all sorts of companies and I know what makes them appealing.
In my former role as an email marketing manager, I was in charge of publishing a daily email newsletter to more than 200,000 readers. When I started in the job, we were publishing about three times per week, but over the years increased that to mailing nearly every day. Most of our readers were happy to have more content from us, but some felt overwhelmed by the amount of and frequency of the information coming in our email newsletter.
After noticing a drop in retention rates, we decided to create a special weekend edition of the newsletter with a special format and its own opt-in. I authored the issue, writing a topical, timely column each week In addition to the section that I wrote, the newsletter included several special features that only occurred in that issue on the weekend. Over time, readers realized the value of the weekend edition and it eventually became the issue with the highest number of subscribers, highest open rate and highest conversion rate of any that we sent all week.
I recently wrote in this space about five simple steps to improve the look of your email newsletter and today, I want to follow up on that with a post about how to improve the content of your email newsletter in five more simple steps. Implementing these suggestions will keep your email newsletter content fresh and get readers’ attention so they’re more engaged for longer.
1) Inject personality.
No matter how serious your business is, there’s always room to make things personal. People respond to people (which is why photos are so effective, as I discussed in my last post). So don’t be afraid to let people get to know you. Provide real-world anecdotes that relate to your larger point, discuss a problem you had and the solution you came up with, even talk about your family if it’s relevant. You’ll be far more memorable and better able to connect with readers if they think there’s a real person on the other end of your email.
“Audit” – not everybody loves to hear that word, but it can also be your best friend.
If you send regular email campaigns, it’s a good idea to check out the soundness of your strategy every once in awhile. A complete audit of your email sending tactics and practices will help identify problems with your lists, your content, your segmentation, your schedule, and your campaigns.
It’s also a good idea to run an email marketing audit if you notice your response rates dropping, such as opens and clicks, or if you see a rise in unsubscribes and bounces. The audit can reveal where the problems might be.