There are some good habits and bad habits to be aware of when planning any email campaign; here’s a top 6 checklist which might help you with your next campaign.
So there are two things to think about concerning data. 1. Quality; 2. Segmentation.
The quality of the data is paramount to the success of the campaign. If your message is reaching the wrong person, then you’ve just wasted a whole bunch of time and effort as no sooner does your email pop up in an inbox, than it is promptly transferred to ‘Trash’.
It is therefore extremely important to spend time on making sure your database is accurate – which includes ensuring you are targeting the right person (by demographics, interests/hobbies, are they the decision maker, and so on), the address is spelt correctly (so often we see data with ‘.co.u’ instead of ‘.co.uk’ etc), and that it is valid. Consumers may change their personal email address and staff move on within businesses. So make sure your data is clean before you do anything.
Segmenting your data is equally as important. How embarrassing would it be to send an ‘introductory’ email message to an existing customer? Or thanking a customer for their loyalty if they’ve never actually bought anything from you?
Get your data in order and increase the success of your campaign.
It’s very tempting to ask your graphic designer to create something that will look amazing. But it’s also very easy to over-design an email. That’s not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t make an effort in producing an eye-catching and memorable email, but keep things simple. An email should comprise a clear headline/s, images and links. That’s it. Don’t try and over-complicate the layout by introducing icons, background graphics, and certainly don’t use lots of different point sizes and fonts.
Just a point on fonts actually, Arial may be boring, but it’s the safest option when building an email.
Remember, the more images used, the less a recipient on a windows computer will see before having to ‘download images’.
Email build is fiddly enough and each email client has a mind of its own, so be careful with your design and layout to avoid wasting your hard work, time and effort on them just being binned on arrival!
3 Remain single-minded
It’s easy to get carried away with including lots of information in one email – about you, about the industry, recent trends, staff profiles, case studies and so on. But it’s always best to be concise and not to complicate matters with lots of information for the recipient to read. Because they just won’t.
Keep the content of your email short but descriptive enough to leave the recipient wanting to know more. Remember to include links!
4 Subject line
Another very important consideration. This your opportunity to ‘sell’ the contents of your email. You must provide a compelling reason for your recipient to spend their valuable time on opening your email.
Subject lines are also the first barrier for spam filters to ascertain whether your email is worthy of landing in an inbox, or being relegated to the Junk folder. Avoid lots of exclamation marks and the ALL CAPS key. Your subject line should be short, descriptive, relevant to your audience and relevant to the content of the email.
5 Trust the experts
There are several online email marketing platforms with tried and tested technologies to help produce successful email campaigns. They have been developed for the sole purpose of sending emails and getting through many spam filters.
Many also provide a selection of pre-built templates with a drag-and-drop type of format for a very user-friendly interface. Some offer a free package, some charge a small fortune, but most are good value depending on your own requirements.
My point here is there is no need to reinvent the wheel with bespoke systems, when there are perfectly good tools available online, produced by experts who know what they’re doing.
6 Measure – and learn!
By setting a clear objective of the email communication, you can measure more effectively and gauge your ROI.
A common mistake is to only take the open rate into consideration to monitor success. The problem with this is that you can’t tell from that figure whether the content has been read. If a recipient has a preview pane on their inbox, then the email is marked as ‘opened’ anyway.
Click throughs are really the only way to measure success of the actual email itself – because it means the content was compelling enough to require an action.
And remember remember to learn from each email send. What worked, what didn’t and incorporate that into your next send. If you received too many unsubscribes, then your data is wrong or your subject line needs work. If you are getting a good open rate but no click throughs, then that would imply the content or tone of voice needs addressing. If you got the click throughs but lots of subsequent bounces, then look at your landing page.
Email marketing is not a fine art, but there are, like most things, good practices and bad practices. Done well, it can be a cost effective method of communication and a valuable marketing channel; done badly, and it’s a waste of time, effort and resource.
If you would like to find out more about our email marketing services, then drop us a line, firstname.lastname@example.org.