The Comprehensive Guide to Email Marketing – Part 4: How To Improve Your Program

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Email Marketing
Architect Marketing Solutions has summarized approximately 250 pages of e-books, pdf articles and blog posts from the authoritative companies* in the email marketing industry to provide a comprehensive yet manageable guide to help you understand the value of and the tactics to complete an email marketing campaign.

This Architect Marketing Solutions guide to email marketing is brought to you in five parts, on 21 topics. Unless you have a membership with these companies, as we do, and unless you have the time to read 250 pages, AMS is bringing this extensive report to you, as with all of the others, free.

The five parts are:

  • Part 1: The Foundation
    • Glossary
    • Why Use Email Marketing
    • Great ROI
    • Anatomy of an email
  • Part 2: The Creative Message
    • Creative Writing
    • Subject Lines
    • Lead magnet and offers
    • How to build a sign up form
  • Part 3: Marketing Plan
    • Marketing
    • Target audience segmentation
    • Strategy and Goals
    • Video
    • How to grow your email list

Best practices

Best Campaign Practices

  1. Scrub your email list: Cleaning your email list can improve three key metrics: deliverability, open rates and click rates. The better these metrics, the more successful your email marketing campaign will be.That’s because a smaller list of engaged subscribers — people who actively read and interact with your content and brand — are more valuable than a larger list of subscribers who never open your content. Lists with numerous inactive email addresses typically have higher rates of bounces, spam complaints and unsubscribes than ones that don’t. When you continue to send emails to people who don’t open them, internet service providers — like Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo — penalize you. Do this often enough, and your emails may end up in their spam folders, which decreases deliverability to people who actually want to read your content.
  2. Use ‘welcome emails’ to build strong relationships and deliverability. Welcome emails generate the highest open and click-through rates. Welcome emails also keep your lists clean and improve deliverability, and improves your relationship as the recipient knows that their requested material will arrive soon.
  3. Send emails at the right time to increase your conversion rate.Most subscribers will open the emails they see first, and don’t get to emails late in the day: 9 – 11 consistently have the highest open rates during the day.
  4. Get the frequency right to grow a healthy and engaged list.Based on frequency from several email automaters and service agencies, the purpose of the email makes the difference. When you provide appreciated value (topic e-books, PDF, and educational in nature), the frequency can be up to 4 times per week. Otherwise, once a week for several consecutive weeks with the same format is acceptable. However, twice a week with a transactional/buy now message, generates unsubscribes at the highest level. Your message determines the frequency.
  5. Watch your deliverability and avoid the spam filter.Your email content, subject line, frequency and list-building methods affect your deliverability and determine if you end up in their inbox or their spam folder.
  6. Use a memorable sender name.If your email sender name doesn’t stand out, it not only will not build trust or get opened, you may get unsubscribed, or reported. Think of your sender name as your brand name: can be your company, or a key contact at the company whom would talk to the subscriber. That’s personalization, which always delivers.
  7. Craft and test your email subject lines for higher opens.Studies prove that up to 50% of subscribers decide to open a message based on the subject line. 85% of all emails are opened from three pieces of information: sender name, subject line and pre-header. These three are more important than your copy content in providing an interest in opening your email.
  8. Use confirmed opt-in to build a better list.Email quality is superior to quantity; research studies continually prove companies who use confirmed opt-in outperform companies that just email them. Actually, double opt-in generates 200% more ‘read-most’ and click-thrus.
  9. Use lead magnets to grow your email list faster.It adds to your value identity, it motivates open rate, read-most, and opening your next email. Value is always the greatest motivator to read what you copy says.
  10. Create relevant content to drive more click-throughs. A message isn’t a great message if it isn’t relevant to the recipient. Does your content address and solve their problem? In an interesting story, offer a valuable magnet that makes the relevancy financially valuable.
  11. Test and preview before hitting send.As outlined in Part 5, A/B testing is a critical indicator of a successful open rate. Test, rewrite, re-send, rewrite, then send out to everyone on your list.
  12. Focus on the right metrics.What is your specific objective for the email: opens, downloads, purchase? That objective may or may not be the reason your email is opened. It’s back to knowing what your tribe wants. Not what you want. When your objective is to solve their problem, your metrics will be telling you the right messaging approach.
  13. Use a matching pre-header.Research studies confirm that once past the sender name and subject line, that a misleading, or no pre-header at all, increases bounce outs. An example: Subject line: It’s Now or Never! (this is a FOMO approach-Fear of Missing Out). The pre-header confirms the message: Only 8 hours left on these Cyber Monday deals!
  14. Inspire action with a relevant CTA.To be successful, your subscriber must take action. Your message needs to provide a call-to-action trigger or else it’s only an educational email. If your objective is to drive a result, you need to provide not only a relevant value, but triggered by a relevant call-to-action.
  15. Social proof confirms your Brand Image.Testimonials, tribe recommendations, facts and relevant sources improves open rates, conversion rates and your brand image.

31 Biggest Email Marketing Campaign Mistakes

Definition: A mistake comes in many forms, but reaches the same problem: low return on investment: A mistake is considered one if you did not have a marketing purpose; your communication style and format is not tailored to your customer tribe; you haven’t even identified a specific target you are trying to reach; your approach or functionality is flawed; or you do not have, or do not look at your analytics in order to improve.
Specifically, in five key areas:

Marketing: goal and strategy

  1. Too many emails/too frequently: #1 reason for being unsubscribed.
  2. Buying email lists: Few lists are accurate, with a high probability they aren’t your targeted tribe.
  3. Ignoring mobile and tablet readers: design sizes/layouts reflect the device aspect ratio; and, 75% of all
    research on your company is through mobile.
  4. Not sending a thank-you after their purchase: re-engage with them to show you care about them, not their
    money.
  5. Considering SEO and social media has the same productive ROI: it doesn’t.
  6. If you do not provide a value: you wasted their time, and they will unsubscribe.
  7. Did not have a goal: translate your time, budget and effort into accomplishing a set marketing goal.

Communication and messaging

  1. Poor subject lines: not exciting or valuable, too long, irrelevant to the body copy topic, in ALL CAPS.
  2. Poor content copy: way too brief, or too long. Provide substance to decide, but not overly written.
  3. Improper or misleading claims: no bait-and-switch, or different copy from headline = spam.
  4. No clear call-to-action: be clear on your purpose ( goal ) and their action ( download, contact, etc ).
  5. Too many opt-in forms on your website: looks ‘ salesy ‘, and is a poor user experience.
  6. Spelling mistakes: unprofessional; it creates a negative Brand image.
  7. Overlapping messages in a multi-stage campaign: make each email stand out with a topic purpose.
  8. Announcing but not informing: they will read relevant, concise messaging, and ‘bounce out’ the rest.
  9. Do not sound like everyone else: create your Brand Image with your approach ( your Brand Voice ).
  10. Being impersonal: your ‘ to ‘ should be their name; the ‘ from ‘ should be your name/company.
  11. Do not mass email: a generic content will be relevant to a small percent; others will unsubscribe you.

Tribe (your target audience)

  1. Sending emails without segmenting receivers: send only to target Tribe members for relevancy.
  2. Over-Targeting: don’t overly sift out names; you might be eliminating potential customers.
  3. Targeting your product and not the reader’s needs: it’s about them, not you.

Functionality/policy/procedure

  1. Sending emails without permission: email is permission-based/they approved your communication.
  2. Sending emails without ‘ unsubscribe option ‘: this is reported as spam, which blocks or black-lists you.
  3. Sending email from your personal address: must be from your business address.
  4. Ignoring timing: geographic errors, too early/too late, not consistent when you send it out.
  5. Poor text approach: use bullets to list, not long paragraphs; make it easy to read.
  6. Too many images: takes time to load; #2 reason why you are deleted.
  7. Sloppy/’broken’ links: if they are interested, make the link go directly to your web page.

Analytics

  1. Sending to entire list without testing: A/B testing improves your ROI response.
  2. Neglecting email campaign analytics: their purpose is to learn and improve.
  3. Not understanding what ‘ scanning ‘ looks for: 80% opt-in due to your subject line, header, pre-header. Evaluate your results to improve that specific section.

Email Marketing Metrics: 15 ways to improve your productivity

5 ways to improve your email open rates:

  1. Start with your ideal customer persona: Every time you sit down to write your email, picture your ideal customer. Think about who they are, their interests, and their needs.
  2. Evaluate you as a customer would: The signup page, thank you page, confirmation message, welcome email…. are they still as relevant as when you made them?
  3. Don’t write Re/subject lines: Treat it like a movie trailer that will make them pause what they’re doing and pay attention. (50% of all bounce outs are due to an irrelevant subject line).
  4. Don’t forget the pre-header: the text line next to your subject line. The pre-header often is added value to make them open the email.
  5. Time is subjective: use tools that adjust the ‘send time’ to suit each customer – not you. test it/know it/send it.

5 ways to improve your click-through rate

  1. Have fewer calls to action: Less is more. If you use everything to try to catch attention, nothing will succeed. Choose one or two key actions you want customers to take after opening your email (download, visit website, contact you).
  2. Your CTAs must stand out: Don’t bury your calls to action in your email. Make your CTAs visible and part of the relevancy (they gain something). And make sure they can be easily clicked on any device.
  3. Spice up your copy: To compel someone to look at your subject line, convince them to open your message and go below the header image, and ask them to buy now, needs value and personalization. Use power words (now, save, urgent type messaging), or more descriptive words on their value to spark subscribers’ interest.
  4. Overcome resistance: If your customer doesn’t execute your request, try to build trust through:
    • customer quotes and testimonials as social proof
    • partner or customer logos to build credibility
    • Your contact details and team photos, to show you’re real and easy to reach.
  5. Segment and be specific: you can’t expect your entire list to respond the same way to your content. Even if they use the same product or service, their reasons for doing so might be vastly different. And so, you’ll want segment your list.

5 ways to lower the unsubscribe rate

  1. Improve your signup process: Manage your expectations and make sure people know what, when, and how often they’ll hear from you. Review your signup form, thank you page, welcome email, and onboarding sequence. And make sure you can keep the promises you make.\
  2. Nurture new contact: contacts turn into customers. Welcome all new viewers.
  3. Understand unsubscribes: be aware not all people opt out at the same time, for the same reason. Look at who unsubscribes? Are they from a specific traffic source, landing page, or location? You might only need to fix one page.
  4. Analyze the reasons why people unsubscribe: Offer an opt-down: Why do people typically unsubscribe from mailing lists? Because they either receive too many messages – or irrelevant ones. Let your recipients choose when to hear from you – using either a preference center or automation workflows. Offering an opt-down (instead of an opt-out) can help lower your unsubscribe rates and keep your customers.
  5. Wake up sleepy subscribers: Often it’s not one email that makes recipients opt out. Typically, recipients tire and disengage with emails before finally cutting the cord. To prevent this, you can run re-engagement campaigns to pinpoint signs of inactivity. And wake them up before it’s too late. You may need to offer an extra discount or free sample to lure them back.

Summary

When your email marketing campaign centers on best practices, reduces or eliminates the mistakes that cause many campaigns to fail, and concentrate on approaches to improve your productivity, then your email marketing ROI will mirror what many successful email marketers create: a high open rate, click-thru rate and conversion rate. Compared to all marketing formats, according to the Direct Marketing Association which monitors all marketing formats, email marketing is #1 in ROI.

Architect Marketing Solutions can be your partner to help you better understand and use email marketing to improve your business. Give us a call at 331-303-0959, or email us at info@architectmarketingsolution.com to learn how we can make you more successful.

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