6 Reasons Your Email Marketing Could Be Better….and what to do about it

Email marketing is still one of the most popular and effective marketing methods, but the success of your campaigns depends on how well you execute. Forrester estimated that over 838 billion marketing messages are sent in one year. That’s a LOT of emails…and a lot of noise to cut through. However, successful email marketers see an average return of $44.25 for every dollar spent [Source]. Worth it!

If your emails aren’t inspiring your prospects and customers to engage with your business, here’s what you might be doing wrong.

6 Reasons Your Email Marketing Could Be Better….and what to do about it

1. Your email list is cluttered.
Poor list hygiene is at the top of our list because it’s both common and destructive. If your emails aren’t targeted, you might as well be emailing in a foreign language—you’re certainly not sending what your recipients want to see. A bad list turns destructive when people who no longer want to receive your emails mark you as spam. That’s why it’s vital to use email marketing best practices and always include an opt-out option. It’s much better to have a short but interested list than a long list of people who are regularly annoyed by your emails.

2. Your pipeline is clogged.
To keep the sales flowing freely, you need to nurture your old customers while also courting the new. If you’re not paying attention at every stage of the customer life cycle, you risk clogging up your pipeline with prospects and customers who’ve lost interest because your emails no longer speak to them. Instead of sending general emails to all customers, segment your lists and send highly targeted emails to small groups.

3. You’re sending the wrong message.
If you promised a newsletter and you’re delivering only advertisements, that’s a no-no…and a surprisingly common one. If you want to direct recipients to a specific landing page, try a teaser with a “read more” link.

4. Your subject line is weak.
If this were a romance novel, your subject line would be the come-hither look. It’s your invitation to open; your promise of juicy content within. Be flirtatious (not literally), but also straightforward and professional, and be sure your customer knows that email is coming from you.

5. Your design is not responsive.
People using PCs are far more likely to click links than people using mobile devices and tablets, but you can increase your mobile click-through rate by 15% by redesigning your emails to fit properly on any kind of device. Contemplating how your emails perform on mobile devices is critical, especially considering there are more mobile devices in use than there are people on the planet as of last year. (Really! It was predicted that by 2014, 7.7 billion mobile devices would be in use, serving a global population of 7.1 billion.)

6. Your call-to-action is lost.
The purpose of your email is to spur your clients to action, right? So why would you bury your call to action (CTA) in a mountain of text? Keep it short and put your CTA near the top of the email. Front and center. Not over on the side, buried in a text link, or linked to a gigantic graphic that might not show up. Make your message clear and isolate your CTA in the body of the message so it’s easy to see and click.

These email marketing tips should help you improve your email response rates, but before you send that first email, make sure you have a rock-solid content strategy to back it up. If you send enticing emails and don’t deliver the content you promised, you’ll just alienate your recipients…and they will never become your customers.


We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

kansas-smMore repeat customers? Yes, please. Better brand reach and recognition? Oh yeah! Through–the–roof marketing ROI? You bet your boots. Email marketing is incredibly effective, but you have to do it right and follow the rules.


You’ll learn:
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  • The best tools of the trade
  • New trends in email marketing
  • 4 killer components to an irresistible email
  • How to avoid paying $1000s in fines
  • How 3 companies reached more customers with rockin’ email marketing

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Opt-in lists, are they really better?

This is a question that we always discuss with our clients before embarking on an email marketing program.  The short answer is yes, but opt-in can mean different things to different people, so let’s start by quickly reviewing how the various permission methods work.

Opt-out: These types of lists may contain old, harvested, scraped or purchased email records.  Some we’ve seen were built using bait and switch methods like pre-checking a box on a form to download something like a whitepaper. While technically legal by providing a means to opt-out, this loose compliance to CAN SPAM laws is very risky to the technology infrastructure required for email marketing.

Single Opt-in: This method requires someone to actually fill out and submit a form to join your email list. While better than opt-out, it’s still open to risk for things like SPAM complaints because anyone can sign anyone else up with out their explicit permission.

Confirmed Opt-in: This method adds a layer to single opt-in by sending a triggered thank you / confirmation email as soon as someone joins your list. This follow up email contains a link to unsubscribe from the list.

Double Opt-in: The best practice method for list growth in our opinion. With double opt-in, when someone joins your list a triggered confirmation email is sent that they must click before they are added to your list. When a member confirms this list subscription, their IP address is stored along with the time and date they joined.

Now that we have a better understanding of the various permission methods for email marketing, the question still stands – Does getting permission really make a list perform better? There are very solid arguments on both sides; opponents argue it makes things more difficult to join a list while proponents argue list quality vs. quantity. It’s times like this when I’m reminded of a sign that hangs in an old client’s conference room; “In God We Trust, All Others Bring Data”.

Until recently, data on this subject was hard to dig up unless you had it yourself. I can certainly confirm that double opt-in lists we manage for clients always perform much better, but let’s look at some other cases that people have crunched the numbers on.

This first example comes from MailChimp, an email service provider. They took a random sample of 30,000 users who have sent at least 10 email campaigns with lists that ranged from 500 to 1.5 million. Once the stats were aggregated together they found double opt-in garnered a 72.2% increase in unique opens, and a 114% increase in clicks as compared to single opt-in lists. They also found that double opt-in reduced the hard bounce rate by 48.3%, and have a 7% lower unsubscribe rate.

The second example comes from ClickZ, a resource for interactive marketing information. They analyzed a large house-hold name organization that practices different permission methods in different business units. They analyzed 8 business units that are strictly opt-in and 7 that are strictly opt-out. You can view more in-depth stats here, but again the findings show that the opt-in business units, on average, garnered 82 % higher open rates than those of the opt-out business units.  Click through rates were also greater; on average the opt-in business units saw more than double the click-through rate (3.1%) garnered by the opt-out business units (1.7%).

This last example comes from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society who had rampant deliverability issues due to too many SPAM complaints.  They found that 30% of their list wasn’t getting email because of IP Blocking. On the good advice of their email service provider, they executed a campaign to re-confirm permission.  They saw their list slashed from 33,636 members to only 4,510. Sounds drastic right? By trimming over 29K unengaged list members, they saw SPAM complaints drop from 27 (or 0.51%) per campaign to zero.  Their list’s average open rate also rose from 25.2% to 53.1% and the average click-through rate rose from 6.6% to 21.5%

In today’s changing email landscape, many Email Service Providers require double opt-in to protect their infrastructure and the best interests of the rest of their customers who share IP addresses.  The fact is that successful email marketing today is largely based on maintaining a good sender reputation and clean IP address by keeping your list members engaged, minimizing SPAM complaints and keeping your list free of hard bounces.

So, are you still questioning the need for a permission based email strategy? Let me know about it in the comments section below, on our Google+ page, or on Facebook or Twitter.