Sunday, January 27, 2008

Email Tips for the New Year Part I

Greetings! I've finally had the chance to go through a number of email newsletters and reports and I wanted to highlight some interesting email tips.

Email Subject Line Tips: Use Personalization and Search Engine Optimization

I can blog about keeping your subject lines short but you already know that and I just reminded you. :) Here are some additional interesting tips:
  • MailerMailer's latest Email Marketing Metrics Report (pdf) indicates that personalized subject lines (eg: "Chad, open this amazing email") dramatically increased open and click rates. The average open and click-through rates for non personalized emails were 15.86% and 2.09% respectively while the averages for personalized emails were 18% and 5.02%. This is very easy to do and worth testing

  • Use the search engine optimization terms that drive the most traffic to your site within your subject lines. This is also easy to do by examining the search terms from your analytics program. Thanks Stefan Pollard over at ClickZ for mentioning that tip

    If your marketing database and your CRM data are synched, you may even be able to find out which words are used by customers vs. prospects and further segmenting the search terms to use for various campaigns.

How to Target the "Inactives" in Your Database

Wendy Roth explains in her article 6 tips to win back inactive subscribers suggests targeting those people that have not responded to your emails in the last 6 months. One suggestion is to send on an email to these "inactives" with an incentive to update their profile by entering them in a contest. This does a few things. It lets you know if these "inactive" contacts are still alive if you get a response and you can use the opportunity to ask these people additional lead qualification questions to round out their profiles. With this additional information, you can target these people accordingly. You may find out that there are some diamonds in the rough (as well as some bad apples). Overall, it's most likely cheaper to give away some IJunk (I use that word to summarize IPods, IPhones, ITouches etc...) then the cost to re-build your database.

This process can be automated by creating a program that sends 2-3 emails over a 3 week period with the offer described above. Other strategies may include further segmenting these inactives by the lead source and other qualification data and creating customized messages for the different segments and using different marketing channels (call campaign, direct mail). I would recommend that the first step is to determine the number of inactives in your database. This should give you an indication as to how active or inactive your database really is.

Various E-mail Tips from MarketingSherpa' Marketing Wisdom Report

I've read through MarketingSherpa's "Marketing Wisdom for 2008" which includes 101 real life marketing stories and lessons learned. Here are a few items I liked:
  • Send a text follow up email to those that didn't open or click on your initial newsletter/event (my tip: automate this process if possible using email automation tools). However, text based newsletters may not be received too well if they are used instead of graphical based HTML versions. The best bet is to conduct tests to see if this boosts response.
  • Have emails sent from Account Executives if possible. The more personalized the email, the better the response. Consider adding a personal touch above the email header image. For example "Chad - check out this great newsletter below. I think that there are some interesting articles that may be interested in."
  • Slightly change a headline or subject line in emails sent to different contacts using standardized information in your database. For example, for a newsletter change the subject line slightly for your different database segments by highlighting an article in the subject line that appeals most to that specific segment.
  • Consider using social media sites like Facebook and MySpace to grow your lists. Does your company have a Facebook group? Create one and use it to advertise events, product releases etc... Have a look at MarketingSherpa's facebook group. There are videos, pics, job postings, discussions - it's awesome!! PS - you will need to join Facebook to see it so stop saying "Facebook is for my 14 year old and I have enough 'friends' and have no intention with reconnecting with people from high school that I didn't really know in the first place". Seriously - join already. There is no such thing as private information in the 21st century.

I just realized that I waited too long to blog as I have a bunch of tips saved up. I will post a part II soon - I need to go see if any of my Facebook friends is celebrating a birthday this week and finish up that game of Scrabulous with my mother in law.

Hope the tips helped!

Chad H.

PS - feel free to look for me on Facebook.
PPS - Thanks Bulldog Solutions for mentioning my blog and quoting me for my post on using video in email.

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Anonymous said...


I really liked your blog (interesting, useful and relevant to my site).

Was wondering whether you would like to exchange links? (Creative Thinking, Communications, Brands / Branding and Media).

My background is in Advertising Account Planning (for some leading London ad agencies), TV Research and IT.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great tips!

In my experience, personalized subject lines do improve open rates....One thing I'd like to add: personalizing email subject lines can be as easy as including the company's name in the subject line.

Chad said...

Thanks for the tip John!



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