Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why E-mail Matters More Than Ever

March 23, 2009: summarized from ClickZ -- Times are tough. Companies are cutting marketing budgets and staff; organizations are looking to do more sales with less upfront investment and fewer people. Recent statistics show that developing an effective e-mail marketing program is more important than ever. There are ways to make your e-mail marketing efforts a key part of weathering this storm.

Be Strategic
Batch-and-blast isn't an effective e-mail marketing strategy. Creating a sound plan for the channel is what will deliver results. Sending relevant e-mail missives, which requires segmenting your list and targeting content, is a key to success. Create relevance and readers will engage with you and be more likely to buy from you.

Be Tactical
Once your strategy is in place, you need to focus on the tactical. This includes frequency and creative execution (copy, design, layout, etc.). Key elements are the sender address, subject line, and snippet copy, along with the preview pane view of the e-mail. I've had some great results with clients, including significant lifts in conversions (leads or sales) as well as opens and clicks, from optimizing the tactical aspects of an e-mail.

Be Smart
Don't delegate your e-mail marketing efforts to a junior person with no e-mail experience and expect great results. Developing an effective e-mail marketing program requires specialized knowledge and skills.

Make Sure Your E-mail Is Delivered to the Inbox
Deliverability is critical to success in e-mail marketing. If some or all of your e-mail fails to reach the inbox, there's little chance those recipients will act on it. Working with a legitimate e-mail service provider (ESP) is one of the best ways to get good deliverability. Assuming your e-mail is making it to the inbox is a mistake. Being proactive will require some budget outlay, but it's well worth the cost.

Test, Test, Test
Designate between 10 and 20 percent of your overall marketing budget to testing. E-mail marketing lends itself to testing, because you can get good results in 24 to 72 hours. If your list is large enough, you can even do a pre-rollout send of test and control versions of your e-mail to a small portion of your list, then rollout to the entire list a few days later with the winner. Not every test will result in a lift in response. But even if you can improve performance only 1 or 2 percent with each test, you'll see your results gradually increase over time. Continually testing increases your odds of hitting the jackpot with a lift of 20 percent, 50 percent, or more.

E-mail is cost-effective and can return great results, but it takes some investment in time, money, and resources to get there. It's your best bet right now.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/c72sh4

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