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10 Tips to Improve your Email Marketing Program

by Miguel Molina Cosculluela

Sometimes we get ask for the best tips and practices for an email marketing program. Of course throughout the web and according to the different agencies these practices may vary, however there are at least 10 tips where all of us coincide. We are including these 10 ingredients recipe for your reference: 1.       Mobile Future:

Clearly this is one of the most significant trends for the years to come. And for certain groups and audiences it is already a rule. We need to think how our installed base is behaving, are they already part of the blackberry, iPhone or other smartphones world? If they are, please give them an option to read your email without trouble. Two suggestions here: First, don’t make your email all images, mix images and text, creating an option for those who have problems downloading the images. This is even a good practice for all emails, remember that plenty of Email Service Providers (ESPs) block images by default. As a Second suggestion, you could include a link on top of your email for an all text version (check  our Quaxar News as an example).

2.       Subject line = Readership:

When your email arrives in your subscribers inbox, you generally have about half a second to catch their attention with the subject line of your email. After this, they will either delete your email or ignore it. In your subject line, try and specify a benefit that the subscriber can expect by reading your email. Try to be catchy and interesting. You can put all the effort of the world on creating the best content for your email, but if you miss your half a second opportunity to make them open it, that’s it, next stop, the trash bin.

3.       Blocked Images:

You need to be ready for your images NOT to appear in the preview our customer is showing. A Best practice would be to mix text and images, so at least most of the text will appear regardless of the Email Service Provider, this applies also as a good tip for Mobiles as mentioned earlier.

4.       Less is more:

It is a fact, we don’t read (much) anymore. It is proven, according to the NN group, users spend an average of 51 seconds on each of the newsletters they read. So it is important to be brief, be clear and go to the point.

5.       Link and embrace your other digital channels:

Email is not alone anymore, and traffic to your site should be multidirectional, in other words, play with some social vehicles where you’ve created a community. Include in your emails the links to your facebook or twitter or YouTube, and also do it the other way around, generating traffic to your subscribers site. Your audience might be keen to some of these social vehicles and you need to be wherever they are.

6.       It is not about quantity but quality:

·         Unless your marketing strategy demands it, don’t send emails to your customer base too often. We’ve seen as a good practice no more than one email per week, and a good balance would be 3 per month at the most. Depending on the type of communications you send, if you have a publication such as a newsletter, be consistent with the dates. We are creatures of habit, and so are your prospects, if your newsletter is supposed to go out the first Wednesday of every month, try to stick to that, too often we set the dates according to our email creation capabilities instead of keeping our audience expectations.

7.       It is about Reputation:

The latest headache in email marketing is deliverability, ESPs are strengthening their anti-spam policies. There are many tips and practices to be considered in this area, however I would say the ones with the most impact would be the ones stated below:

Your list should be ALL permission based, if the recipients are not expecting your email, and they don’t know about you, they will flag you as spam, and you will pay the consequences.

Try to use an assigned IP, only for your program. Yes, it is a bit more expensive, but you won’t have to pay in terms of deliverability what other companies are doing.

Be CAN-SPAM compliant, always (check the link).

Get On White Lists: Achieving white list status with the major ISPs is no small feat. If you’re not up for the challenge, consider using an email deliverability consulting firm that specializes in this area.

8.       If it is not measureable it is not manageable:

The beauty of digital… ? Yes, you can measure it all! So do it, and take actions accordingly, don’t be afraid to experiment new segmentations, AB Subject testing, new layouts, etc. I won’t deny it, it is hard work, but if properly planned it will pay off. The classic metrics: Open Rate, Click through rate and Bounce Rate along with clicks on links if used correctly will give you plenty of guidance on what works and what doesn’t.

9.       An easy way out:

Being in this sector, I sign up for many newsletters and email marketing programs. It is amazing how many companies make it hard for people to unsubscribe. Make it simple, you should not brag about how big your database is, but rather how responsive it is.

10.   Two way street:

Unless your email states super clearly a company contact link (and even then), people will reply to some of your emails with questions, comments, etc. Be prepared to have a process in place to address these questions. And if there is no way you can have this in place, please set up an auto-reply stating how they can contact you, nothing worse than sending an email to a company and never hearing back.

Hopefully these tips will help you improve your email marketing program. Share with us any other tip and best practice you think should be considered a top 10. Got questions? It’s simple, just ask. How to Improve your Email Marketing Program.