Email Best Practices
For Better Performance & Profits – Part II
Hooked on Email
Email marketing works wonderfully as long as people get it, open it and read it. Simple isn’t it? Maybe… but simple isn’t always easy. If you’ve done any email campaigns already then you’re probably painfully aware that there’s more to it then hitting the ‘Send’ button.
The good news is that consistent and proven Email Best Practices increase almost every single one of your marketing metrics. In the August issue of ShopTalk, just seven of these Email Best Practices were presented and, obviously, there are more.
If you want greater response rates, increased inquiries, and a lot more sales and profits then a quick look at these additional suggestions.
a) Comfort In Consistency
People (and subscribers) don’t like change. When sending out an email publication, like a regular newsletter, make sure the look and feel is consistent every time. By keeping the design and branding the same, you reinforce your brand and relationship with your list.
Use a standardized template for your ezine and for each current issue, use it as a “cut and paste” tool.
b) “Same Time, Same Channel”
For regular email subscriptions, it's critical that it’s sent on the same day, at the same time. You might choose Tuesday at 2 p.m. Your readers "expect" their newsletter in their Inbox. Some will even phone you if it doesn’t come on the usual day and time every week. Your best fans come to anticipate it and are ‘trained’ to view your special offers or promotions.
c) The Half-Second Hook
The Subject line of every email is listed in everyone’s inbox. The challenge is that your email message is most likely only one of hundreds. It’s generally accepted that you have about half of one, single second to hook a recipient’s attention. Your email is either deleted immediately or ignored. Apply your best headline copywriting strategies for the most effective Subject lines. Use benefits, curiosity, their name (using merge codes), your company name and other instantly recognizable words encouraging them to open your email each time, e.g.:
MyACMEBusiness: [first name] Your 7 Insider Tips to Save Money At Tax Time.
d) Hints of Things To Come
Most email client software used today, like Outlook, lets people see a ‘Preview’ of each email’s content. Knowing this, you should make sure that your content that is most compelling is included in the material that appears in the preview pane. An alternative is to take advantage of a human’s natural curiosity to see what comes next after only showing a partial view of your content. Enticing offers, catchy headlines and current events are also effective for getting your subscribers to actually open your email communications.
e) Continuous Learning
Today things change so fast, especially online, that your customers and prospects appreciate being updated with the most current information to either seize immediate opportunities or protect themselves from unforeseen dangers. This is a huge way to add value to your relationships and build trust using education-based email series. The fastest and easiest method is using your 1ShoppingCart autoresponder series tools. Schedule them in sequence, usually one per day over a week’s time, as 7-part series are very popular.
f) Test or Tank?
Testing and tracking results is the leading indicator of successful entrepreneurs on the Internet. You must try different approaches for all of your content and for links too. Even the graphic elements like color, buttons and pictures, in addition to positioning, can cause dramatically different results. Use link tracking software to check your click-through stats or at least basic web metrics from your hosting company or part of your own server software helps. As you move forward, you develop the hybrid of text, content and design that yields maximum results.
g) Free Lunch With Email
One of the primary ways to grow your email marketing lists continues to be offering a free product, like an ebook or an Executive Summary of an industry survey, when prospects optin. You can write content yourself or outsource it to a content service provider. Each optin gets access, usually via a unique download link, once they subscribe to your newsletter. To avoid invalid and fake email entries, the unique link is only sent to them inside of an autoresponder follow-up email that’s sent to the email address that they provided as part of their subscription.
h) Signed, Sealed and Delivered!
Consistency remains the theme here. How you close your email is the last opportunity to leave an impression and to encourage repeat visits to your web site. Your signature at the bottom of your email is one of the easiest ways to drive more traffic, especially to specific landing pages or timely offers. Your signature should include your personal details, your company details, and an unsubscribe link. The signature can be useful to educate your list about a new service, introduce an affiliate product your recommend (and profit from) or remind them of deadlines or even renewal requirements. A standard email signature looks similar to this:
Customer Service Mgr. – My ACME Business
Visit our website at http://www.MyACMEBusiness.com
Unsubscribe from this newsletter at http:// MyACMEBusiness.com/unsubscribe
Better Your Email Best Today
When you implement these Email Best Practices, you enhance and monetize your email marketing dramatically. Time after time, any organization that has implemented just a few of the above tactics experiences increased subscriber and customer activity. If you commit to these Best Practices too, you’ll consistently see larger response rates, more sales inquiries, more registrations, and more profit!
Rob Bell is the Executive Vice President of 1ShoppingCart.com Corporation. He has 20+ years in direct sales, marketing and management. Under his leadership, the company has grown over 400% in the past six years. Rob credits this success to his personal commitment to the company providing the best Support and Customer Service possible.