3 Areas to Focus on to Make Your Emails More Solid
I’m going to switch gears again here at The Milwaukee SEO, and talk about email marketing. In our last post, we talked about how to build a solid email marketing database. Great. Now you have one. What’s the next step? To send your emails out to the wanting public who offered up their emails to you and start creating conversions.
3 Areas To Test:
Before you send you’re emails, look at these three areas to make sure you get the maximum opens and the maximum amount of consumers into the purchase funnel.
1) The Subject Line:
Seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how often we see subjects like, and chances are you’ve seen them too:
The Awful Subject Line:
“XYZ Company wants you to come to their 4th of July Sale for 50% Selected Items”. That’s a mouthful and an eyestrain.
The OK Subject Line:
“Free Gift with Purchase of XYZ’s Products on the 4th of July”.
Right. Instantly to the trash folder. You want your subject lines to as clear as possible, as short as possible to get your message across, and as concise as possible. And, whatever you do, avoid “spammy” language in the subject; words like, “Free”, “Win”, or “You’ve Won”. With stronger and smarter spam filters on inboxes, it’s hard enough to get a legitimate communication through; language like this pretty much guarantees that no one will see this email.
The Better Subject Line:
“XYZ Company’s 4th of July Sale”
It’s short. It’s sweet. And it tells me everything I need to know
2) The From Line:
This is really crucial for your communications. It’s the first thing a consumer sees; who it’s from. If it feels spammy or fraudulent to the user, it’s gone without a second thought. Too many consumers have been burned opening emails only to get viruses and other malicious goodies.
Don’t use your Yahoo!, Gmail, or Hotmail account to send out the communication. Invest in a company-branded address purchased through a reliable email provider.
Please, whatever you do, don’t send your email from “Bobby@xyzcompany.com”. It’s just bad people, and it’s a certainty that I’m going to trash the email, even if I recognize the company name. “Bobby” gives off bad juju and it feels like I’m going to be sorry if I open this email.
Content is the most important part of the email because it carries the message (and the links to have folks click-through to your site). You don’t want your email to take forever to load because you have 10mb worth of images, and yet it has to be appealing to the user, so that rules out the “all-text” email.
You’ve got to know your audience and what spins their wheels. But, without hesitating I will tell you that an all image email is “all bad”. I see this occur quite a bit with retail stores. Yeah, people need to see your products, but you don’t have to layer design over design until it takes me five minutes just to see what you’re offering. Not to mention that it detracts the user from the thing you want them to see the most: your products. You’ve got to have copy in the email.
All-copy isn’t “all bad” but it’s certainly not good; it does nothing to engage the consumer. Think of the Mac/PC ads. You don’t want to be PC, the ultra-business-orientated stick in the mud. You’ve got to have some visual hook too.
The trick is to find the perfect balance based on what your consumers like best (A/B testing).
Make sure you see what your email looks like when it’s rendered through different email providers, namely the big three (Yahoo, MSN, and Google). It might be perfect in Yahoo, but Gmail might break some of your tables or tweak the formatting. If your email looks sloppy, then your brand looks sloppy too.
Email Marketing Database: Quality over Quantity
I thought we’d switch gears today, take a break from the SEO blogs, and talk about something vital to everyone’s business: reaching consumers with targeted communications. Yes, that’s right, I’m discussing email marketing today (as you may have guessed from the title).
This is key component to any business, reaching out to consumers and building solid brand recognition. And, hopefully, brand loyalty. The first thing that needs to be done, is build a QUALITY database with WILLING participants. For a small and medium businesses this is the real challenge, so I’ve comprised 5 easy tips to building a solid email database:
List Brokers = IF’Y RESULTS
Buying giant data lists from list brokers is something you DON’T want to start with. Sure, you can instantly supplement your database with hundreds, possibly thousands, of email addresses and fire your communique out. But there’s two reasons to hold off on this route:
- Quality of email address is not guaranteed. Who knows how many hard bounces and spam filters you’ll be trapped in.
- The people you are sending to did not opt to receive your email. While I’m convinced the folks selling this list have a found a loophole in the FCC’s SPAM regulations, the last thing you want to do is start building resentment toward your brand by pushing unwanted communications on them.
2. Clean Your List Up
If you have already purchased a list, that’s ok. Once your emails go out, look at the data and clean up your list.
3. Bigger Doesn’t = Better
5,000 email addresses are great, 10,000 is better. Wrong, especially if they came from a list broker. The object of your database should be QUALITY. I’d rather have 500 quality people to send out to that are going to open my email, click-through to my site, and get in the purchase funnel.
4. Low Open Rates=Higher Spam Marks=Blacklisted
This is almost self-explanatory. Our data shows, and common sense prevails, purchased lists have very low open rates, receive higher spam marks from email providers, and continually pushes you closer to getting blacklisted.
5. A/B Testing, Co-Branded Communications, and Contests
take the money you were going to use to buy a list, and do some usability testing on your emails and your website. Send out variants of your email with long/short copy and layout rearrangements. Check out your site and make sure that people can FIND AND SIGN easily. Ask a couple of friends, pay some strangers, to test it out for you and give you feedback.
hook-up with another company in your area and petition them to send a co-branded email with your company. This could earn you plenty of “trust” points with consumers and they’ll be willing to sign up for emails in the future.
Contests and Campaigns:
start a contest or a campaign. It’s a great way to get people to give you their email address in the off-chance they’ll win something.
So the idea is to get quality people on quality lists by staying away from database brokers. You should clean up your lists periodically, probably once a month, to make sure you’ve got the highest quality opens when your email goes out. And, to build bigger lists of your own, co-brand your email or start a contest.