EMAIL Content Best Practices (Part 2/2)

How To Avoid Critical Email Marketing Mistakes

Me-Mail Marketing
Sending e-mail newsletters and messages that are all about you or your organization (rather than serving your audience) is not email marketing. This egotistical use of e-mail is called me-mail marketing, and it doesn't work.

Me-mail marketing is selfish and alienates subscribers. They will get annoyed, see no value, unsubscribe, and have a negative reaction to the brand. if an e-mail is more about you than it is about your customers, it is not helpful to anyone.

It is okay to talk about your mission or organization, as long as it is helpful, relevant, and educational, and serves and supports the readers. Just he mindful of the intention. Being less egotistical with an e-mail makes a big difference in the results.

Lack of Strategy
Think critically about your use of email as a marketing medium. Define whom you are targeting. What information can be included in the message that would be of value? Where is the call to action? The goal here is to create an e-mail marketing campaign that will:

  • Serve the customers
  • Support the sales and marketing messages
  • Sell from a place of education and value

Neglecting the Core Foundation of Your EMail Marketing
Loren McDonald, Vice President of Industry Relations at Silverpop, has boiled down the core foundation of a successful e-mail program to three Ps:

  • Proposition. What value do customers/subscribers get from the e-mail program?
  • Positioning. How does your offer differ from the competitors?
  • Personality. What tone and image do your e-mails convey?

Be Authentic and Relate to Your Audience
Whether you're 3 famous defense attorney, a respected marketing expert, or a shop owner, you have something valuable to offer your audience. Show that you can relate to your audience's problems by understanding their perspective. Empathy + Personality = Great email!

Think Beyond the Box
Don't stick to any prescribed box of marketing. Have fun with e-mails make them interesting and engaging. The result could be more subscribers forward-ing them to their contacts.

Make Sharing Easy
Insert social media, forward, and share widgets so that recipients can easily share your e-mails with friends. Online marketing multitasks when e-mail has connections to social media, giving your audience choices about how they can interact with your organization. See if your e-mail newsletter service can insert sharing widgets for social media like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, and Linkedin directly into your templates. Have a call to action that is clear and easy. Having one social sharing link increases click-through rate (CTR) 30 percent, while having three or more sharing links increases CTR 55 percent, according to a study by GetResponse.

List Segmsentation

Segementation will save your lists. too many organizations email to the same list over and over rather than segmenting it into secific groups to serve relevant content. Why work to build an email list if it is abused with irrelevant mesasge overuse, causing the recipients to opt out? When a single list is slammed with nontargeted messages, unsubwribe rates increase. Do your email marketing a favor and customize messages to different groups. Lists can be segmented by location, demographics, psychographics, buying behavior, sales funnel buckets, and more. Online marketing success comes from listening to and understand-ing the audience. The more you can define lists based on interest, behavior, and patterns, the more relevant your message will be.

When it comes to email lists, quality is more important than quantity. Target the people most interested in the service or product, and track their behavior. Find out not just who opened the e-mail, but how many clicked through to the website, how many converted, and which products or services they looked at.

Ways to Segment Your List
You can segment with information provided when users opt in or, if you have a robust CRM software package, using the information they provide when they interact with your site. Here are a few basics:

  • Preferences stated at opt-in (See the earlier section about customer questioning.)
  • Information self-selected (date of upcoming birth, cars liked, etc.)
  • Actions taken in e-mail
  • User behavior on the website
  • Previous buying history
  • Geographic location
  • Personal demographics (gender, age, income, etc.)
  • Collecting information from online surveys

Segment with Landing Pages
The best way to track user behavior is to link the e-mail to a specific landing page that mirrors the language and the offer in the e-mail. Landing pages are defined as pages that communicate a specific product or service or funnel a particular purpose. Landing pages can be part of a website, or can be specifi-cally designed to support a campaign. Landing pages can be used for:

  • Keeping track of results from a specific online ad or special offer code for off-line ads
  • Buildling search visibility using a key phrase-rich URL and great content for search engine optimization
  • Supporting a new product/service as a comminication tool that sales reps send (It lives on a website, and has ads directed to it.)

The landing page can be as simple or as complex as you desire. Those who click on a link to a landing page are already telling you something about themselves. Because the landing page has a narrower focus than the rest of your site, users may self-select to give you more information to narrow their search even more. For example, suppose your client sells men's sportswear. In your email marketing you have a link for a big-and-tall sale. Clicking on that link tells you that the user is or shops for someone who is big and/or tall. The landing page for that sale then displays content choices for different sizes and different kinds of sportswear (jogging versus basketball). Based on that user's behavior you can then target him or her with more information about tall basketball sportswear.

If you are doing any split testing, where you are trying out different copy, offers, layotus, and so forth in your emails, then each variable should have separate landing pages (they may look identical visually to the casual user, but are coded with wbe analytics to track the result of each variable tested).

This sounds like a lot of work, but the process gets easier and pays off once you decide which variables and goals yo uwan to test.

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