Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Email Marketing 101: Tips and Best Practices

If you're new to the world of email marketing then I have a few good resources for you!

Are you moving from a B2C company to B2B? For a basic overview of some of the differences between B2B and B2C email marketing, check out check out Tricia Robinson's article called "B2B vs. B2C Email Marketing".

Email Marketing Best Practices

Looking for some up to date best practices? DM News has published their "Essential Guide to Email Marketing". This is definitely worth a read as there are some great articles from industry experts regarding email design, copy, best practices and strategies. There's also a lot of fluff and advertising BS but its worth having a look at.

There were a few articles that stuck out for me:
  • Key Elements of a Winning Opt-in Offer: Provides some good copy tips to entice prospects from providing you their email address. For example, if you're providing a free white paper, show the implied value "This Special Free Report is $19 value" and let them know how easy it is to just fill out a form and how fast they'll receive the information once they sign up.
  • Writing Subject Lines that get Your Email Opened: Here are some great ideas for the copy of your subject line. For example - Make an announcement, make the intended receiver curious, create a sense of urgency or emphasize how the reader will benefit from your email.
  • Reputation not Content Affects Whether Consumers Receive Your Email: This article explains how reputation (your IP address that you send emails from) affects your deliverability rates.
UPDATE: Here's another good article on BtoBOnline that provides some additional design and copy tips for B2B email marketing:
  • Open rates increase when you have your corporate name in the subject line (on a side note it would be interesting to know if the "from address" contained the company name as well).
  • Post card style (one large image and single offer) and varied-cell (uses different boxes of text area images) emails had higher clickthrough rates. From my own experience I've seen a fantastic postcard email that just had two words as a call to action. Open and clickthroughs were some of the best I've ever seen.
  • 3 links in an email is optimal number of a high clickthrough rate and text links fared better then image links (makes sense with more images being blocked these days)
  • The top offers were a price discount or a free gift (hey, free Ipods still seem to work!)
Update Nov 19, 2006: I've included some additional tips from the Silverpop study called "Email Creative that Works". Here are the key findings as they relate to B2B email marketing:
  • Placing the call to action above the fold is crucial
  • Text style links averaged 3% more clicks then images
  • A person's name rather then a company or product produced better open rates
Update Nov 21, 2006: I found a great white paper by MailerMailer called "Email Marketing Metrics Report". It has email marketing benchmarks that include open and clickthrough rates across industries, advantages of personalization, HTML vs. Text emails and much more.
Hope you enjoy these!

Chad H.

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