As 2007 comes to an end, we at Blue Sky Factory have come up with a quick list of 10 email marketing resolutions for 2008. Marketers should reassess their approach for the new year and consider the following 10 smart resolutions for better email marketing:
1. Build Trust
Like all relationships, building loyalty starts with trust. With recipientâ€™s inbox’s being flooded, and the continued challenge of spam, trust in email today prevents many potential end users from opting in. Itâ€™s essential that online marketers treat email as a one to one conversation with their recipients, taking into account that todayâ€™s consumers pick and choose the emails they want to open largely based on the â€œwhatâ€™s in it for meâ€ relevance factor. Be relevant, and build that trust.
2. Hold Yourself Accountable
Those marketers who donâ€™t consider email to be an effective medium need to step back for a moment and evaluate whether their existing technologies offer them the â€œbells and whistlesâ€ they need to accurately measure and show results. Donâ€™t be afraid to examine each campaign with a microscope, and arm yourself with the tools you need to show accurate deliverability, open rates, click through and forward rates, conversion data and more. Email is highly measurable, and is a medium that works for so many different marketing purposes. See this post for more info.
3. Subject Yourself
You have about 50 characters to make magic happen. Consider what you yourself would open when writing subject lines, as they could serve as the defining â€œlive or dieâ€ moment in the life of your email campaign. Subject lines determine whether your email will get opened or deleted. Make them compelling, unique and engaging. Be sure to test, test, test!
4. Walk the Line
More than one third of organizations today lack email as a budget line item, according to Marketing Sherpa, despite it being the most widely used online marketing tactic with the highest return on investment. Marketers must fight for their cause and insist that email marketing have its own line item. If youâ€™re going to be held accountable for results, insist that you get the defined budget you need to produce results, and do the job right.
5. Know Your Frequency
A staggering 70% of consumers consider emails that arrive too frequently to be spam. To that end, they are opting out or hitting their delete key faster than you can push send. Examine your frequency, keep a close eye on complaint rates, opt out rates, and be sure to take a good look at your hard and soft bounce thresholds, they should be set low to keep your lists clean. Most importantly, don’t saturate your lists, a steady healthy frequency is what you are looking to achieve. This is very industry specific, so you should test and experiment to see what works for your audience.
6. Get Integrated
With new Web 2.0 applications proliferating the online space, email is in the â€œdrivers seatâ€ when it comes to promoting content, and cross selling services and/or products. Online marketing professionals should brainstorm the most effective ways to integrate email with other mediums like blogging, podcasting / new media and RSS. Email is still the dominant online application for more than 77% of the population (Pew Internet and American Life Project), so make it part of every aspect of your online universe.
7. Get Transactional
Often overlooked, but paramount to building customer loyalty, is the transactional email. Delivered to recipients post purchase, or once a particular action has been taken, transactional emails not only serve as confirmation or acknowledgment of a recipientâ€™s action, they offer an immediate platform to dialog with new or current customers and bolster retention and cross-sell rates. Seize the moment and get transactional in the new year.
8. Get Authenticated
Deliverability remains at the top of list of critical metrics for all email marketers. If you haven’t already, you should make an effort to ensure that some of the basic authentication protocols are in place for your organization. We highly suggest implementing SPF records, Sender ID and Domain Keys to your domain. We have seen deliverability rates jump as high as 10% for some of our clients, just by putting these in place. Your ESP should be able to help you get this in place rather quickly.
9. Capture, Convert, Retain
Developing your list is the first step to email marketing success. Take some time to evaluate how you allow customers to opt in â€“ are you allowing sign ups only on the home page of your website, or have you created multiple opt-in locations across your site? How about landing pages for other online marketing initiatives like search? Sometimes people are willing to provide an email address versus filling out a form with 5-10 fields on it. Finally, are you allowing those who have signed up the opportunity to update their information and preferences? The preference center is a key aspect to effective email marketing, give the recipient control over what content they receive from you and how they receive it.
10. Get Green
If your company isnâ€™t doing something green these days, itâ€™s time to get with the program. You donâ€™t have to install solar panels above your desk to be considered a green-minded company. Email marketing in and of itself is eco-friendly, it requires no paper/trees unlike direct mail, and it also costs a lot less. Is your company still sending out a pricey monthly or quarterly print newsletter? Think about what communications you are sending via snail mail this year, and what could be sent out via email.
As mentioned in a previous post, in 2008, email will remain the common denominator, the one medium that keeps us all connected, and will also continue to drive incredible ROI for marketers. Itâ€™s important for everyone in the online space to be thinking about other mediums like mobile, social networks / social media, RSS, search, and more, etc but at the end of the day, it all keeps circling back to one place – the inbox. Happy emailing in 2008!
Special thanks to Jeanne and Jarrod for the assistance in putting this list together.