Friday, May 06, 2011

5 Tips to Improve Email Response

long-email-thumb-180x180Are your recipients not responding to your emails? This is a topic that I’m sure hits home with many of you. You work hard on getting an email campaign together, you send it out and then you find that the results were not what you were hoping they would be. I originally responded to a discussion on Focus called What strategies can you recommend for enhancing performance of email marketing campaigns? that covered this topic. The first few answers included suggestions such as good subject lines and ensuring that the emails are relevant to the recipient. I want to expand on this and provide five tips of my own that can help you improve your email response.
  • Content: The better and more relevant the content in your emails, the better the response. This may seem obvious but you would be surprised how often this gets overlooked. A recent customer of mine found that video and case studies outperformed white papers. Have you reviewed what content is working and what isn't? This should be done regularly. The type of content should also be tied to the stage of the buyer's journey that the recipient is currently in.
  • The Message: Does the message in your email provide an educational, thought leadership type approach or is it simply all about your company? Always put yourself in the shoes of the email recipient and think about what would convince them to open and respond to your email. It's the "what's in it for me" factor. Focus on your recipient's pain points and how to solve those and less on the benefits of your product or service. In addition, don't bore the reader with too much content. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. The point of email is to get someone to take the next step - focus on that.
  • Personalization: I'm not talking about "Dear so and so". Real personalization has the email coming from the Account Manager, Support representative or sales rep that has or will interact with the email recipient. By automating this process and having the email come from a real person, you can increase your email response 4X. There are some tricks here as well as to when to use this type of personalization and it may not be appropriate in some situations. As a standard rule, if a relationship has been established or you’re looking at a way of establishing a relationship, use this approach. This is a feature that you would typically find with a marketing automation tool.
  • Email Deliverability: This is an area that is difficult to consume as it's not tangible but it can make or break the success of your email campaigns. Ask yourself: Is your email list clean? Having a messy list can lead to spam complaints, hard bouncebacks, "unknowns" (non-responders), and spam traps. All of these factors can reduce your email reputation and prevent your emails from landing in the inboxes of the people that are keen to get your emails. You need to ensure that you know what your Sender Score is, if the emails you send have authentication, if you are receiving spam complaints, and the if you are hitting spam traps. Your email/marketing automation provider should be able to assist here. As a first step, I recommend checking out this guide on Email Deliverability and Privacy.
  • Test: - I hate this one as everyone always says “test, test. test” but I can't stress how important it is. If you don't believe me, have a look at a few examples over at You'll see that you never know what will work better unless you test it. Here is a great one that Sonic Foundry did on testing their subject line: Long vs. Short Email Subject Line Test.
I hope these short and sweet tips were helpful. I know it;s hard sometimes to look in the rear view mirror and examine the success of your campaigns but you need to do it. Look at a few of your low performing emails with the tips above in mind and think about questions you may have and what you can do to make improvements. Small changes to your emails can generate higher conversions and result in a higher impact further down the sales/marketing funnel. What you decide to do is in your hands.

Chad H
PS: If you have examples of your emails, I would be happy to have a look at them.


Shane Lexus said...

With an email response management system, everyone at your business can quickly respond to the emails that just seem to keep pouring in and will be communicated rapidly,efficiently and accurately.Effective email response management system is important because customers get attention they deserve.No one likes to wait.

Col said...

We really need to provide the end user high quality content and stop over promoting. Even if we have a large database compared to small you still have to keep your integrity as word travels fast...



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