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According to recent research (more than 600 companies) from Clash-Media, e-mail marketing is now the most favored method of online lead generation in the United States. It’s also estimated that more than 80 percent of businesses will spend more money on e-mail marketing by the end of this year.
Before you take the time to invest in e-mail marketing and choose a company to work with, there are a few things you should consider:
1. Determine your ROI. One quick way is to estimate the time it takes you to produce the email, include design and content time, and multiply it by how much that time is worth. Add the cost of your email marketing provider (typically based on the size of your list). If you are not receiving as much or more revenue from the email blast, it’s time to rethink your approach.
2. Rethink your approach.
a. Target lists. Like direct mail, lists are about quality, not quantity. If you think of email marketing like you think of inbound marketing, you’ll need to hyper target. Separate your lists into different user segments. Sites like beauty.com will send customers relevant offers based on their last purchase. If someone purchases a skin care product, more offers are sent about skin care products. If you own a retail store, separate your buyers based on what brand they purchase and send targeted emails to those customers. Be careful not to spend too much time on this if you have a small list. It has to produce a strong enough ROI to keep going.
b. Create one design. Customize the design to your brand instead of just using one of the templates provided. Why? It’s worthwhile to show your brand each time a piece of communication is sent out.
c. Use clear language. This should be a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how many emails I get with grammar and spelling errors, incomplete sentences, and copy that just doesn’t make sense. If the email is well written and error free, your recipients will think you took the time to care.
d. Personalize the e-mail. You’ll fail in your email communication if your emails are primarily about you or your company instead of about how you can help the recipient. Think “what’s in it for them” if you want them to read after the first paragraph.
e. Create a special offer. Sometimes considered a “call to action,” this is where someone will take an action. Be smart about it and use a tracking code to an ecommerce web design page you specifically created just for that email.
3. Work with your email marketing provider. Most of these providers have a customer support team that offer tricks and tips to improve open rates – use them. Some companies even provide one-on-one phone advice.
4. Consider mobile devices. Yes, it’s true that most people aren’t going to buy something from their mobile device, but they do take notice and put a reminder to purchase later on. That said, make sure the company you outsource has applications allowing recipients to see text and images on their devices. You can help by keeping copy simple and to a minimum amount of characters and sending out a text version instead of HTML.
5. Analyze results. Going back to the tracking code, your e-mail provider should have an easy-to-use system where you can go in and look at each piece of communication sent out and analyze how many people opened, where people clicked, etc. The landing page is an additional page you can create that if set up with analytics can provide more data.