As with any form of marketing, you should first set yourself a budget and an achievable goal. If this is your first campaign it will be difficult to predict what kind of response rates can be achieved but you should be able to research an average response rate for your industry. For example, The Direct Marketing Agency publishes statistics on average email response rates that you could use as a first rule of thumb.
Now run through the following steps,
Source your list. If we were going to give statistics on what proportion of a campaigns success is dependent on list then it would be very high – over 60%! But unfortunately it is sometimes the last consideration. There is no point spending hours on copywriting and design if you are not sending the email to the best possible recipients ie the ones most likely to convert. Whether you have an in-house list of past customers and enquirers, or you are renting a ‘cold’ list from a list broker, you need to give some careful thought on who to target, how to source their details and what they will most likely respond to. Then you can go on to the next steps.
Write your copy. Always remember to write with your recipient in mind. You need to write persuasive copy for the subject line and main body text of your email.
Create an effective offer. Try and create an offer that will hook your customers in. The offer should then be featured right up front in the subject line and first words of your email.
Design. You need to carefully consider your use of images and where they should feature in the email. A lot of people admit that they can’t be bothered to click the ‘display images’ button, even if they are interested in the email content. So make sure your email is a mix of both text and images. You also need to give some thought to how your email will be displayed on different email browsers and other devices like iPads and mobiles. This will effect what you choose to display above the fold.
Personalisation. You should always try and write your emails on a one-to-one basis as much as possible. And that includes what you put in the ‘To’ and ‘From’ lines and your ‘Dear…’ message.
Call to action. Always include at least one very visible message that will induce your recipient to click through there and then. This can be in the form of an offer deadline or even a simple ‘Order today’ button.
Timing. There has been a lot of research done on when to send out email campaigns to maximise response. But the best idea to start with is to check your own website statistics. Then gauge when your current customers prefer to look at your site and use that as a starting point.
Landing page. It is best practise to have a dedicated landing page for each campaign. The page should mirror your email design, copy, offer and call to action. Even if you don’t set up a dedicated page make sure that the pages you link to are relevant to your campaign. Your response rates will fall drastically if all those people you have worked hard to entice are just taken to your homepage on click through.
And last but definitely not least – Testing. You will find that combinations of the above will have different success rates depending on your industry, subject matter, customer segmentation, time of year etc. So to build up an accurate idea of what constitutes successful email marketing for your business you will need to eventually test all elements.
On a final note, it is always worth bearing in mind the ‘KISS’ principle, or ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’. Start with one main proposition, for one customer group, with one featured offer and one call to action. There can be other sub-features of your email but always make sure your design and main message is clear and straight forward.
And lastly never forget to include your contact details. And an ‘opt-out’ or ‘unsubscribe’ option – not only is this a legal necessity but it will stop you sending unwanted emails and keep negative feedback to a minimum. For any more email marketing advice contact the experts at Varn.