Tuesday, January 26, 2010

5 Marketing Automation Email Tips

I have the pleasure of welcoming a new bunch of Eloqua team members who we start off with a boot camp here in Toronto so they get to know each other and the rest of the company. I’m going to outline some of the cool things our customers do but I’ll also sherpa walking carrying loadprovide a short intro on what I do in my day to day. To make it easy for everybody, I like to describe my role as a sherpa for our customers. Not a marketing sherpa (that name is already taken) but a marketing automation sherpa as my job is to guide marketers on a journey to help them reach their goals. Like any sherpa that is climbing a mountain, I need to have a number of tools handy that I can recommend depending on the situation (yeah, I got a big bag of tools).

In this post, I’m going to outline some tips you can use to engage or reengage your email subscribers. While you don’t need a marketing automation tool, these tactics can take a long time to create and execute manually. Because the process is automated, with marketing automation, you just need to define your list criteria and business rules once and the program manages the rest for you.

Tips To Engage and Reengage Email Subscribers

Good for you! You’ve started to build your marketing database through your different marketing channels. What are some of the ways to ensure that your messages are breaking through the inbox? Here are a few ideas:

  • Send out the same email with a different subject line. In a recent case study on B2B Online, NIIT, a global learning solutions company, created an automated email program that engaged subscribers based on their “Digital Body Language”. The program would automatically detect if the email recipient didn’t respond to the first email and send a subsequent email that was the same as the first email but with a slightly different subject line. Response rates for this campaign were greater that 20% which is very good for B2B campaigns.

  • Send out the same email with a different a “From” address and subject line. You can send the same email or a slightly different email with a different “From” address. For example, if you’re sending a newsletter, you may have a corporate email address such as newsletter@company.com as the address the newsletter is coming from. The follow up email to those that didn’t respond to the first email may be from the CEO or an account manager. You would be surprised how experimenting with slightly different “From” addresses can improve response rates. An IDG Research has demonstrated that the name of sender affects open rates twice as much as the subject line. The trick is to automate the follow up emails to non-responders so the technology does the work for you and you can move on to other initiatives while maximizing every drop from your campaigns.

    In a post that I wrote over two years ago I outlined how we pushed this even further by sending a follow up email to non-responders that looked like a forwarded email. The original email was sent from a VP and received decent response. The follow up email looked like the Account Manager forwarded the VP email to the subscriber and said “Hey, you may have missed this great email below”. The response rates tripled with the different “From” address.

  • Personalize the Email Heading. Ok, we covered the “From” address and the subject line – what’s the next thing you typically see when you open the email? The heading or title. While your first campaign may have had a generic heading that was geared to a specific vertical or focused on your offering, think of an email heading that is targeted at the specific job role of the email recipient. Here is an example and you tell me which heading works better if you’re a CIO:
    A. Does your IT Infrastructure keep you up at night?
    B. As a CIO, we know your IT Infrastructure can keep you up at night.

    The second example is more personable and seems like you truly understand and want to solve the problems of that poor head of IT. You may be saying – how can I personalize the heading for each of my email subscribers? marketing automation systems allow you to add dynamic content sections (not just a personalized field) and rules. I recommend creating a few personalized sections based on the largest and most important segments that are part of your campaigns. Think of the time that you’ll save by only having to send one email yet knowing that the extra hour you spent adding in some personalization will improve engagement and campaign success.
  • Stop with the Email. You may be saying, what a minute, what are you trying to pull here as this is a post on marketing automation email tips. Well, sometimes, as a sherpa, I have to reach further into my bag as we have some email subscribers that are just not responding anymore to email. What do we do? Delete all of these contacts that you spent good marketing dollars on? I would say that you may need to take a closer look at the contacts that didn’t respond. If these people are in the right industry and have the right title, it may make sense to have your inside sales team call some of these contacts to see if they still exist or outsource this task to companies like ReachForce or MarketOne. Perhaps send a post card to an unresponsive executive with an incentive to respond as Trinet did with with amazing success. Don’t forget about the other options that are out there and rely on email as your all in one magic bullet. You can also try some unconventional methods like confirming that these contacts are still valid by using LinkedIn.

I hope that you found these tips useful and I wish you well on your marketing journey.

Chad H.

PS: BONUS: Another email tactic you can use is send an HTML email and then send a follow up text email to non-responders. MarketingSherpa has reported that almost two thirds of business executives are viewing emails on mobile devices and text based emails may get more traction.



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